Federer, Nadal, Roddick Lead All Top 45 Players at Indian Wells

Posted on March 13, 2008

The Pacific Life Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in California open the 2008 Tennis Masters Series season. The nine ATP Masters Series tournaments bring together the best fields in tennis at the most prestigious venues. This year’s field consists of 47 of the Top 50 players in the latest South African Airways ATP Rankings, including every player in the Top 45. The only players missing are in the Top 50 are: No. 46 Steve Darcis, No. 47 Fabrice Santoro and No. 50 Agustin Calleri. In addition, six of the seven active players (except Gustavo Kuerten) to rank No. 1 are in the tournament.

This is one of four outdoor hard court tournaments in the ATP Masters Series (Miami, Toronto and Cincinnati are the others), while three are on clay (Monte Carlo, Rome, Hamburg) and two are indoors late in the year (Madrid, Paris). The 2008 ATP circuit ends with the prestigious Tennis Masters Cup, the official year-end tournament held this year in Shanghai, China, andwhich is co-owned by the ATP, Grand Slams and ITF.

World No. 1 Roger Federer comes in as the top seed for the fifth consecutive year and the former three-time champion (2004-06) will be looking to capture his first title in 2008. Federer will take on the winner of Sergio Roitman and Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in his opening round match. The first seed he could play is No. 25 Nicolas Almagro in the third round.

Federer's top half of the draw includes possible fourth round opponents No. 15 Tommy Robredo or No. 23 Ivan Ljubicic along with quarterfinal opponents No. 6 Andy Roddick or No. 11 Andy Murray, both two-time ATP winners this season.

Roddick and Murray have tricky opening round matches. The American plays the winner of Tommy Haas and Julien Benneteau while the British No. 1 takes on the Jurgen Melzer and Marat Safin survivor. The first seed Murray could face is No. 20 Ivo Karlovic in the third round.

In the second quarter of the draw, the highest seeds are No. 4 Nikolay Davydenko, No. 7 David Nalbandian, No. 12 Fernando Gonzalez and No. 13 Mikhail Youzhny. No. 24 and two-time winner Lleyton Hewitt also is in that section. Hewitt opens against the winner of Luis Horna-Las Vegas champion Sam Querrey.

In the bottom half of the draw (third quarter), No. 3 and last year's finalist Novak Djokovic, No. 5 David Ferrer, No. 10 Tomas Berdych and No. 16 Guillermo Canas, who upset Roger Federer last year, are the highest seeds. Six of the 12 qualifiers in the tournament are also in this section of the draw. Djokovic's first seeded opponent is No. 27 Philipp Kohlschreiber and he could meet Canas or No. 21 Juan Monaco in the fourth round.

In the final quarter of the draw, No. 2 and defending champion Rafael Nadal opens against qualifier Santiago Giraldo or Austrian Werner Eschauer. Nadal could meet countryman and close friend Feliciano Lopez, the No. 32 seed, in the third round. Possible fourth round opponents include either Frenchmen No. 14 Paul-Henri Mathieu or No. 17/Australian Open runner-up Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Nadal lost to Tsonga in the semifinals in Melbourne.

No. 8 Richard Gasquet and No. 9 James Blake are the highest seeds in Nadal's section. He could meet one of them in the quarterfinals. Gasquet opens with the winner of countryman Sebastien Grosjean and Robin Soderling while Blake takes on the winner of Potito Starace and Marc Gicquel.

The wild cards in the tournament are Mario Ancic (vs. Monfils) and Americans Robby Ginepri (vs. Vincent Spadea), John Isner (vs. Simone Bolelli), Jesse Levine (vs. Stanislas Wawrinka), and Donald Young (vs.qualifier Bobby Reynolds). (ATP Digital Services)