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ATP Draw Preview: Five Key Takeaways From The Men’s Indian Wells Bracket
3 Min Read · March 6, 2023

With qualifying action kicking into high gear in Indian Wells on Monday, the men’s draw was held in front of an enthusiastic gathering of tennis die-hards, all of them eager to discover where their favorite players had been placed for the 2023 BNP Paribas Open.

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2017 BNP Paribas Open runner-up Stan Wawrinka joined ceremony hosts Andrew Krasny and Blair Henley to share in the revelry, as fans kicked back and watched the names appear on the giant video screen outside of Stadium 1.

Now that the draws are out, here are five key takeaways as the players begin to chart their path forward in Tennis Paradise.

Top Teens Occupy the Top Half

The top half of the men’s singles draw is a veritable young gun proving ground, with the tour’s two highest-ranked teenagers, No.1-seeded Carlos Alcaraz and No.7-seeded Holger Rune leading the way. 

Alcaraz, who powered to the semifinals at Indian Wells last year before being knocked out by Rafael Nadal in an epic battle, rides into the California desert with an 8-1 record on the season, including a title on the red clay Buenos Aires. 

Rune, fresh off a semifinal in Acapulco, is 11-5 on the year, and up to a career-high ranking of No.8.

Keeping the young gun theme intact, 20-year-old Lorenzo Musetti and 21-year-old Jannik Sinner also occupy the top half, with the rising Italians headed for a potential third-round clash. 

Americans Abound

2022 was a banner year for American men’s tennis at Indian Wells, as Taylor Fritz took out Rafael Nadal to become the first American men’s singles champion at the BNP Paribas Open since Andre Agassi in 2001. 

Hopes are high for a repeat performance, with three Americans entering the draw inside the Top-20 and a total of ten American men in the Top-50. 

The Fourth-seeded Fritz is in the top half and looking at a potential clash with American Ben Shelton in the second round; Tommy Paul, seeded 17, is also in the top half and will face either American Michael Mmoh or France’s Quentin Halys after his bye in round two. 

Frances Tiafoe, seeded 14, is slated to face either former UCLA standout Marcos Giron or former Illinois standout Aleks Kovacevic in the second round. 

In total, 14 Americans have already taken their place in the men’s singles draw, with more sure to come through qualifying.

Legends To Take The Court In Round 1

Four absolute legends of the sport will feature as unseeded crowd favorites when opening-round action gets underway on Wednesday in Indian Wells: 2009 runner-up Andy Murray, 2017 runner-up Stan Wawrinka, 2019 champion Dominic Thiem and two-time quarter-finalist Gael Monfils. 

55th-ranked Murray has drawn Argentina’s Tomas Martin Etcheverry in the opening round and would face 15th-seeded Pablo Carreno Busta in the second round; Wawrinka, ranked 100, will face a qualifier in round one, and potentially 26th-seeded Miomir Kecmanovic in the second round; Monfils, who has not played since last August due to injury, opens with Australia’s Jordan Thompson, and potentially third-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas in the second round; Thiem, making his first appearance since winning the title in 2019, faces Adrian Mannarino in the first round. 

Carlitos’ Way Forward Will Face Tough Tests

Is the No. 1 seed Alcaraz ready to follow through on his semifinal run from 2023 and become the fifth successive first-time men’s singles champion in the California desert? If so, this would be the 19-year-old Spaniard’s projected path to the title, if the seeds hold. 

  • Round 1 – Bye 

  • Round 2 – Brandon Holt or Qualifier 

  • Round 3 – [31] Tallon Griekspoor 

  • Round of 16 – [15] Pablo Carreno Busta 

  • Quarterfinal – [8] Felix Auger-Aliassime or [9] Hubert Hurkacz 

  • Semifinal – [4] Taylor Fritz or [7] Holger Rune

  • Final – [2] Stefanos Tsitsipas / [3] Casper Ruud / [5] Daniil Medvedev 

Medvedev’s 14-Match Winning Streak on the Line 

Fifth-seeded Daniil Medvedev has never been beyond the Round of 16 at Indian Wells (career record: 6-5), but his current form – and the confidence that comes with it – makes him a safe bet for a career-best performance at Indian Wells. 

Here’s the projected path for the ATP’s win (19) and title (3) leader in 2023: 

  • Round 1 – Bye 

  • Round 2 – John Isner or Brandon Nakashima 

  • Round 3 – [28] Botic Van de Zandschulp 

  • Round of 16 – [12] Alexander Zverev or [22] Pablo Carreno Busta 

  • Quarterfinal – [3] Casper Ruud or [13] Karen Khachanov 

  • Semifinal – [6] Andrey Rublev or [2] Stefanos Tsitsipas 

  • Final – [1] Carlos Alcaraz or [4] Taylor Fritz

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