Djokovic and Barty fancied to shine at Indian Wells
The eyes of the tennis world will be on California over the next couple of weeks as the sport’s top stars battle for glory at the Indian Wells Masters.
Dominic Thiem will be out to defend the men’s singles title, although he may find it difficult to fend off the likes of Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal.
Bianca Andreescu is the reigning women’s champion, but she hasn’t played since suffering a knee injury at WTA Finals back in October. Read on as we preview the tournament.
Djokovic the man to beat once again
Djokovic has been in imperious form this season and will once again be a popular tennis bet to win the Indian Wells Masters.
The Serbian has already claimed two singles titles this term and is strongly fancied to win for a record sixth time at Indian Wells.
The 32-year-old won his eighth Australian Open title earlier this year, beating Thiem in a five-set thriller in Melbourne.
He followed up with a straight sets victory over Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final of the Dubai Championships and will be tough to beat in California.
Nadal out to follow up recent success
Nadal was beaten by Thiem in the quarter-finals in Australia, but bounced back in style to win the Mexican Open without dropping a set.
He has won this tournament on three previous occasions, although he hasn’t lifted the trophy since defeating Juan Martín del Potro back in 2013.
The world number two appeared on good terms with himself in Acapulco, playing with plenty of passion and intensity throughout the tournament.
A fit and firing Nadal is good news for tennis and he represents the biggest threat to Djokovic’s hopes over the next two weeks.
Young guns still have plenty to prove
With Roger Federer currently on the sidelines, Djokovic and Nadal are very much the standout performers in the men’s game.
The likes of Thiem, Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alexander Zverev have shown plenty of promise, although the quartet are yet to make the breakthrough at Grand Slam level.
Thiem showed last year at Indian Wells that he can get the job done, although consistency remains an issue for the new world number three.
All four players have the talent to beat the big two, but they are yet to prove that they can do that on a regular basis.
Barty ready to bounce back
It has been a tough start to the season for Ashleigh Barty, but she looks a good bet to bounce back at Indian Wells.
The world number one won the Adelaide International earlier this year, before suffering semi-final losses at the Australian Open and Qatar Open.
However, she has generally been playing well and will undoubtedly be difficult to beat over the next two weeks.
Simona Halep is also worth considering following her recent success in Dubai, but Barty is a confident selection to win her second title this year.
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