Sport

Federer chasing another record at Indian Wells, Djokovic making comeback

Federer chasing another record at Indian Wells, Djokovic making comeback”

The 13th-ranked Djokovic returned to the tennis court mid last week for the first time since his exit from the Australian Open earlier this year.

Djokovic too is recovering from an elbow injury for which he underwent surgery as well.

It would ultimately be surprising if Federer pick up his sixth Indian Wells title, but it should still be a fun ride to get there. And, on worldwide women's day, as keenly as we acknowledge the significance of two players' highly-awaited return, it's also needed to highlight the other aspects in the women's game that continue to remain shrouded, despite their obviousness.

In the fourth round, Acapulco champion Del Potro will likely lie in wait and the 2013 runner-up is always a unsafe competitor. The victor will play American John Isner, who has a first-round bye. The 36-year-old Swiss' nearest seed a possible third-round adversary is Filip Krajinovic, who returned from a January injury to make a run last week to the Dubai semifinals.

Cameron Norrie reached the final round of qualifying with a 6-2 6-3 victory over American Christian Harrison on Tuesday.

Of those players listed, Goffin is injured while Nishikori is easing his way back into tour action following a long-term injury.

In the women's draw, Sam Stosur plays Lauren Davis in the first round, while Ash Barty has a bye and will take on either Donna Vekic or Maria Sakkari in the second round.

Novak Djokovic is set to return to competitive action at Indian Wells fresh from taking another period away from the sport after his fourth-round exit to Hyeon Chung at the Australian Open, though doubts will remain if he can challenge defending champion Roger Federer in California. Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships victor Roberto Bautista is a possible fourth-round opponent for Dimitrov, while Nick Kyrgios and New York Open champ Kevin Anderson are also part of the draw's second quarter.

Nadal was forced out of the Australian Open in January with a hip problem.

Lucas Pouille has reached three finals in the last four weeks and has risen to a career-high world No 12. He will rightly come into the tournament he won for the fifth-time previous year as an overwhelming favourite. Khachanov possesses one of the most powerful games on Tour and is exceptionally hard to handle when he is at his best.

"But I think the sport is changing a little bit".

While Dimitrov will be a tough opponent, his outdoor hard data is not particularly impressive, with just a 103.2% combined service/return points won percentage - below top 15 level - and Bautista-Agut is very capable of getting past the Bulgarian on a slow outdoor court.

The tournament is led by Roger Federer, playing in his first tournament since he reclaimed the #1 ranking from Nadal last month. Time will tell whether it is good enough to win a major.



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