• Unbeaten Djokovic takes aim at Indian Wells Masters

    3/9/11 7:46 AM | Ricky Dimon
    Unbeaten Djokovic takes aim at Indian Wells Masters Novak Djokovic will look to maintain his perfect record in 2011 when he takes the court at the first Masters 1000 event of the season. Djokovic is in the same quarter of the Indian Wells draw as Memphis champion Andy Roddick.

    Novak Djokovic's perfect 2011 record will be put to the test when the BNP Paribas Open begins on Thursday. Djokovic, who is 12-0 on the season, won the Australian Open with straight-set wins during the final weekend over Roger Federer and Andy Murray and he went on to beat Federer in the Dubai title match.

    Having skipped Serbia's first-round Davis Cup victory over India last weekend, Djokovic should be well-rested for the first Masters event of the year. The world No. 3 will get even more rest since he has an opening-round bye in Indian Wells along with the other 31 seeded players.

    Djokovic, however, is not going to have the easiest of openers in the desert. He awaits either Florian Mayer or Andrey Golubev, both of whom have a ton of momentum at the moment. Mayer is 11-7 for his 2011 campaign and he has two ATP semifinal appearances in addition to a pair of quarterfinal performances. Golubev had been slumping until Davis Cup action, but what a turnaround he had for Kazakhstan. The world No. 39 beat Jan Hajek 7-6(4), 6-7(3), 1-6, 7-6(4), 6-3 and stunned Tomas Berdych 7-5, 5-7, 6-4, 6-2 as the visitors upset the Czech Republic.

    Next up for Djokovic would likely be either Lleyton Hewitt or No. 31 seed Ernests Gulbis. Potential fourth-round opponents for the No. 3 seed include Michael Llodra and fellow Serb Viktor Troicki. Llodra upset Djokovic at last fall's Paris Masters. The Frenchman, though, is a different player indoors and Djokovic is a different player than he was even at the end of 2010.

    Looming large in the other half of Djokovic's quarter is another in-form Top 10 player, Andy Roddick. The eighth-ranked American is on a seven-match winning streak and is 14-2 for the season. After beating an on-fire Milos Raonic in the Memphis final, Roddick won two singles rubbers on the clay courts of Chile to put the United States in the Davis Cup quarterfinals.

    Roddick will likely have to beat some of his past and present teammates if he wants to advance in Indian Wells. He could open with James Blake in the second round and is on course for a third-round encounter with No. 30 seed John Isner. Roddick is 2-1 against the 6'9'' American, but they have not faced each other since Isner won a 2009 third-round U.S. Open epic 7-6(3), 6-3, 3-6, 5-7, 7-6(5).

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his opener should be much of a problem, as well as a match against Llodra. Hewitt, Roddick and Federer obviously are the real dangers.

mriiidula , 3/9/11 1:54 PM

Djokovic, if he is not exhausted, will make mincemeat of all these guys.

holdserve , 3/9/11 6:30 PM

Yeah, I don't know. He likes to surprise.

stu , 3/9/11 6:44 PM

stu, it'll be tough no doubt, but you can still enjoy :)

rfzr , 3/9/11 8:45 PM

started my day with that today, rfzr. explains why i haven't gotten anything done.

yeah, make friends with the sun, Nole, you're gonna need it!

stu , 3/9/11 9:19 PM

sorry, my comment should read "..shouldnt be a problem"

rfzr :D read some of the comments though, not many know who he is!

mriiidula , 3/9/11 9:24 PM

I can hardly wait Nole Roddick match... if Roddick reach QF...
I am sure that will be real pleasure to watch... and celebrate after it:)))

zare , 3/11/11 7:19 PM

Current ATP-rankings

1. Djokovic 12 500 pts
2. Murray 8 750 pts
3. Federer 8 670 pts
4. Ferrer 6 970 pts
5. Nadal 6 385 pts

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