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Five story-lines to follow at Indian Wells- Federer chasing more history, Djokovic's return and more

Leye Aduloju in ATP Tour 4 Mar 2019
  • BNP Paribas Open is live from Indian Wells from 7-17 March
  • Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic have each won five titles- more than anyone else
Can Roger Federer claim a record-breaking 6th title at Indian Wells? (Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images)

Ahead of the 2019 BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells, we look through the five major story lines to follow in the men’s draw.

After getting to 100 in Dubai, can Roger Federer make it 101 in California?

Roger Federer might have finally captured his 100th career title in Dubai last week, but the legendary Swiss isn't done breaking records, and he will definitely have his sights set on overhauling Jimmy Connors' Open Era record of 109 titles before calling time on his remarkable career. Can the great Swiss claim title No. 101 at Indian Wells? Federer is bidding to become the first man to win six Indian Wells titles, which would put him clear of Novak Djokovic, with whom he shares a record five titles at the tournament.

Can Nick Kyrgios build on Acapulco success?

Controversial Australian, Nick Kyrgios surged back to reckoning with a stunning week in Acapulco, where he defeated Rafael Nadal, Stan Wawrinka, John Isner and Alexander Zverev to claim his fifth ATP title, but can he back up that sensational run with a solid showing at Indian Wells? Kyrgios reached the quarter finals in his most recent trip to Indian Wells in 2017, beating Zverev and Novak Djokovic along the way. Interestingly, that performance came after a strong week in Acapulco, where he had made the last four. Like he showed last week, he is very capable of stringing together big wins, and he must surely be considered a genuine dark horse for a maiden Masters 1000 title.

How will Stefanos Tsitsipas fare as a top-ten player?

By virtue of his runner-up finish in Dubai last week, Greek young gun, Stefanos Tsitsipas will enter Indian Wells as a top-ten player- can he continue his remarkable rise with another strong showing in California? There are points to be gained at Indian Wells for Tsitsipas, who fell in the second round in his debut appearance last season. Following his stunning semi-final run at the Australian Open, Tsitsipas had a bit of a lull, and by his own admission, lost 'the spark', but he has been back to his best at recent tournaments, winning a second career title in Marseille, and reaching the Dubai final. Tsitsipas is yet to win a title above the ATP 250 level, and the only other time he has been passed the third round of a Masters 1000 tournament was during last year’s Toronto Masters, where he lost to Rafael Nadal in the final. He is due another big run at this level- will it happen for the Greek in the Indian Wells fortnight?

Can anyone stop Novak Djokovic at Indian Wells?

World No. 1, Novak Djokovic returns to action for the first time since the Australian Open, looking to regain the Indian Wells title he surrendered last season, and claim the crown for a record-breaking 6th time. The Serbian arrived Indian Wells in 2018 as the three-time defending champion, but it was also his first tournament since he underwent elbow surgery, and was taken out in the opening round by the unheralded Japanese, Taro Daniel. The string of bad results continued until the latter part of the clay-court season, but he launched a spectacular resurgence in the second half of the season, winning Slam titles at Wimbledon and the US Open, and Masters 1000 crowns in Cincinnati and Shanghai. He has begun 2019 in similarly dominant manner, winning the Australian Open following a crushing win over Nadal in the final. Can anyone stop the Serbian at Indian Wells?

Three-time champion, Nadal looking to end seven-month title drought

Rafael Nadal has not won a title since August- when he beat Stefanos Tsitsipas in the Rogers Cup final in Toronto. His quest for more titles has been hampered by injuries, as he missed the closing stages of last season due to knee, abdominal and ankle complaints, while he had a slightly delayed start to the new season, skipping Brisbane through a thigh injury. The Spaniard is 7-2 for 2019, having made the Australian Open final, and lost to Nick Kyrgios in the second round in Acapulco. His title drought will likely end within the next couple of months, with the clay-court season set to start in April, but can he slip in a hard court title at Indian Wells before heading for clay? 

The BNP Paribas Open is live from Indian Wells from 7-17 March.

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Five story-lines to follow at Indian Wells- Federer chasing more history, Djokovic's return and more

Ahead of this week's BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells, we look at the five major story-lines to follow in the men's draw.

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