INDIAN WELLS, Calif -- The day has come that we've all been waiting for, where the "Quarter of Death" will kick off their campaign to battle for the spot on the quarterfinals. It's an unprecedented draw but for some of us hard-core tennis fans, it's a perfect setting.
Defending champion Novak Djokovic, 2012 winner Roger Federer, 2013 champ Rafael Nadal, 2009 U.S. Open winner Juan Martin Del Potro, rising star Alexander Zverev, and talented Nick Kyrgios will start their campaigns today. Only one of these big guns will make it out of this fighting ring alive. Who will prevail? The answer will start to shape up after these second round matches.
1. Novak Djokovic v Kyle Edmund. Djokovic is the three-time defending champion. On paper, he shouldn't have any problem getting through this match pretty quickly but as we learned at the Australian Open in January, small guys are eager to dish out upsets left and right. Djokovic leads their head-to-head 2-0; however, given the fact that Djokovic is no longer invisible, Edmund might take a page from Vasek Pospisil's book and pull an upset.
2.Roger Federer v Stephane Robert. Federer won his 18th Grand Slam in January after a very long drought. He played his first tournament in Dubai earlier this month since winning in Australia, but was shocked by 116th-ranked Evgeny Donskoy in the second round. This will be Federer and 86th-ranked Robert's first meeting.
3. Rafael Nadal v Guido Pella. Nadal showed strong signs of resurgence at the Australian Open in January, where he lost to good friend and long-time rival Roger Federer in the final. Last week in Acapulco he lost to American Sam Querrey in the Final. Nadal and Pella will be meeting for the first time.
4. Juan Martin Del Potro v Federico Delbonis. Most of us know how lethal Del Potro's forehand can be as we witnessed him take out Djokovic at the Rio Olympics. He can take out anyone on any given day, so his chances of advancing are pretty strong. This will be Del Potro and Delbonis first meet.
5. Alexander Zverev v Facundo Bagnis. Zverev is the only teenager in the Top 20, so that should say something. He serves and hits big and is not afraid of the big guns. Zverev and Bagnis have never played each other.
6. Nick Kyrgios v Horacio Zeballos. Kyrgios owns these bragging rights: he has beaten Djokovic, Nadal, and Federer the first time he has faced them. Just less than two weeks ago, he beat Djokovic in Acapulco so the idea of him reaching the quarterfinals is not far-fetched. Besides, it doesn't hurt that his mentor Lleyton Hewitt has one this title twice. Kyrgios leads Zeballos 1-0 in their head-to-head.
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