Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Juan Martin Del Potro, Nick Kyrgios, and Alexander Zverev all won their opening matches at the BNP Paribas Open on Sunday and they did so without losing a single set.
The result is what should be an incredibly entertaining week in a brutally tough bottom quarter of the draw. A showdown between Djokovic and Del Potro is already guaranteed, as is an intriguing contest between Kyrgios and Zverev. Nadal and Federer, meanwhile, are one round away from a collision in the last 16–which would be a rematch of the recent Australian Open final won by Federer in five sets.
Djokovic and Del Potro did not have too much trouble setting up their upcoming tilt. The second-seeded Serb beat Kyle Edmund 6-4, 7-6(5) on Sunday afternoon after the underdog Brit served for the second set at 5-3. Del Potro took care of fellow Argentine Federico Delbonis 7-6(5), 6-3.
Del Potro tweener lob winner:
“I think I played very well in the first set,” Djokovic commented. “(The) second set was obviously up and down. But credit to Kyle for playing some really aggressive tennis. He made a lot of winners in the beginning and midway through the second. There was not much wrong I did. I did miss some forehands, but other than that it was a very solid match–good, quality tennis; a good test. I’m just pleased with the overall performance.
“I’m playing Del Potro now. I have to give it all; that’s what it takes to beat this guy, who is–even though he is not ranked as high and he hasn’t played that many tournaments–definitely one of the best players in the world last year. He’s tough player to beat. (This is) definitely not the draw that you like early in the tournament and that you wish for, but it is what it is.”
Federer’s draw may become difficult in the not-too-distant future, but it was nothing of the sort on Sunday night. The 35-year-old rolled over 36-year-old Stephane Robert 6-2, 6-1 in only 51 minutes.
“I thought the match went really well,” Federer assured. “I’m very pleased how it went.”
Federer will go up against Steve Johnson on Tuesday, while Nadal has a date with countryman Fernando Verdasco. The sixth-ranked Spaniard defeated another lefty, Guido Pella, 6-3, 6-2 in his opener.