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Indian Wells 2024: Rafael Nadal set to face Milos Raonic in opening round


22-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal is set to face former Wimbledon finalist Milos Raonic in a highly anticipated first round match at the BNP Paribas Open.

Nadal, who is a three-time champion at Indian Wells will be playing his first competitive tournament since sustaining an injury at the Brisbane International earlier this year. He recently played an exhibition match against world number 2 Carlos Alcaraz, which he lost after a 10-point tiebreaker.

Nadal endured a tough 2023, plagued by a debilitating hip injury which led to an early end of his season. After undergoing arthroscopic surgery that sidelined him for five months, he had to skip many significant tournaments, including the French Open, where he holds the record with 14 victories.

With the advent of 2024, Nadal rebounded in the Brisbane International tournament, hinting at his return to normal play. Sadly, he soon experienced pain in his surgically-treated hip, which scans later confirmed to be a minor muscle tear. This consequently forced him to withdraw from the 2024 Australian Open.

Nadal has an 8-2 lead in his head-to-head against Raonic but the Canadian has won their sole encounter at Indian Wells in 2015.

Raonic has displayed excellent competitiveness in his two matches this year. However, the 33-year old’s career has been hampered lately by injuries. Despite enduring physical setbacks, Raonic has showcased his best tennis at Indian Wells, with the conditions favouring his strong serve. He will be making his first return to the desert since 2019.

The winner of this exciting first round clash is set to face seventh seeded Holger Rune in the second round.

OTHER MATCHUPS

In other draws, top seed Novak Djokovic will make his first appearance in the tournament since 2019 and will face World No. 69 Aleksandar Vukic or a qualifier. Defending champion and second seed Carlos Alcaraz is scheduled to face either Frenchman Luca Van Assche or 23-year-old Italian Matteo Arnaldi.

Australian Open champion Jannik Sinner, who is enjoying a 15-match winning streak, is set to play against Australian Thanasi Kokkinakis or American Marcos Giron. Finally, last year’s finalist Daniil Medvedev will take on the winner of 21-year-old Italian Flavio Cobolli and World No. 64 Spaniard Roberto Carballes Baena.

Published By:

Rounaq Sehrawat

Published On:

Mar 5, 2024





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