Preview: Tuesday at Indian Wells
The round-of-16 in the men’s draw begins Tuesday at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.
Roger Federer will face his countryman Stan Wawrinka in their 27th career meeting. Federer has won 23 of their previous encounters, most recently in the 2018 Cincinnati quarterfinal. The last time Wawrinka beat Federer, was in the 2015 French Open quarterfinal. Currently ranked 40, a significant drop from his career high number 3, Wawrinka is on the move up playing 9 and 5 this season. He made the quarterfinals in Acapulco and the finals in Rotterdam. Having beaten Kei Nishikori already this season, he entered the tournament with renewed confidence that has served him well.
Federer expects to be challenged. He told press: “I think, from what I'm gathering, if he’s in no pain or injury-free, I think we will see a great Stan here, down the road, without a doubt, because I know what he can do. I think a lot of Stan. He's got all the different options how to win points. He's a fighter and a winner. Yeah, I hope he's going to be in the top 20, top 10 very soon again.”
Wawrinka knows exactly what he is up against though: “It's going to be tough match, for sure. He's the best player to ever play the sport. Stats against each other are really, really not in my favor. Yeah, I think it's great for me. Most important is to win two matches here, to win the way I won tonight. It was tough battle, fighting, staying there physically, tennis-wise, mentally, also. Those match I know that can help me to get some big result.”
Another big men’s match to watch will be Diego Schwartzman taking on Rafael Nadal. Nadal has won every one of their previous six encounters that date back to 2013, but Schwartzman has improved significantly in the interim.
The women will begin to compete for a spot in the quarterfinal already. One of the big matches to watch there is Kiki Bertens taking on Garbiñe Muguruza. Bertens leads their head to head 3-1, and both are in the best form they have been in yet. With the depth of the WTA tour this season, trying to predict any outcome of a tournament even in this stage is a loser’s game, but the winner of this match is well positioned to advance to the final if she can maintain the energy and excellent form that got her through tough matches already.