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By Erik Gudris | Wednesday, March 11, 2015

 
Roger Federer Practicing

Roger Federer faces a tough draw at Indian Wells that could see him face friend Stan Wawrinka in the quarterfinals.

Photo Credit: Mark Peterson/Corleve

Defending champion Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer just might repeat their Indian Wells finals clash from last year. But to do so, each man will face very different draws to get there. Here's a look at who won and lost after their names were drawn out of the hat in the Southern California desert.

See: Indian Wells Men's Draw Brackets

Top seed Djokovic certainly has to like what he sees on his draw sheet. He'll first play the winner of either Marcos Baghdatis or Jiri Vesely. Fellow Serb Viktor Troicki also looms early too.

Djokovic might also face one of a trio of big servers in John Isner, Kevin Anderson, or Marin Cilic who is making his season debut here. Still, Djokovic with his potent return must like his chances against any of them. Finally, while No. 8 seed David Ferrer is a potentially testing quarterfinal foe, this section really is all about Djokovic.

Winners: Andy Murray and Kei Nishikori

While not an ideal draw, both No. 4 seed Murray and No. 5 seed Nishikori have to be happy that their section isn't littered with too many floating dangerous seeds. Murray certainly could have his hands full should he meet Germany's Philipp Kohlschreiber early. Murray's often had trouble in the desert and that match could be his first test. Still, many expect him to take on Japan's No. 1 in what would be a must-see quarterfinal.

Losers: Grigor Dimitrov and Milos Raonic

The bottom half of the draw is decidedly tougher and filled with potential upsets. While No. 6 Raonic and No. 11 seed Dimitrov could meet, it's not a given. Raonic will likely first meet fast-rising Simone Bolelli of Italy who beat him last month in Marseille. Dimitrov could get young Australian wonder Nick Kyrgios who always likes the spotlight and could rise to the occasion again.

Winner: Rafael Nadal

After losing early last year in a surprise upset to Alexandr Dolgopolov, the Spanish star will hope for a better start at Indian Wells this time around. Though he enters still with some question marks about his overall game, Nadal should navigate his way past several Frenchmen here including Jeremy Chardy and Richard Gasquet. Gilles Simon is one to watch though.

Loser: Roger Federer

Though not an impossible draw, Dubai champion Roger Federer may have to work some overtime to get through his section unscathed. Italy's Andreas Seppi, who beat him in Melbourne, lurks early as a potential rematch. While big serving Ivo Karlovic is always a dangerous foe, Federer will likely either meet No. 9 seed Tomas Berdych or No. 7 seed Stan Wawrinka in the quarters. Not exactly a given for Federer to get through especially if Federer is off that day and either man is playing inspired tennis as they certainly can.

Quarterfinals (If seeds hold):

Top Half: [1] Novak Djokovic vs. [8] David Ferrer [4] Andy Murray vs. [5] Kei Nishikori

Bottom Half: [6] Milos Raonic vs. [3] Rafael Nadal [7] Stan Wawrinka vs. [2] Roger Federer

 

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