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The women got the 2022 BNP Paribas Open started with main-draw matches on Wednesday in Palm Springs, Calif., and now it's time for the men. Rafael Nadal (UTR Rating 16.28) has yet to lose a match in 2022, and while he says he's not chasing records, the records keep piling up around him.
Universal Tennis INSIGHTS is assisting us with diving deeper into the draw to uncover favorites, dark horses, and any possible surprises. Remember, all of the Top 32 seeds have a bye.
It should come as little surprise that Nadal is the biggest INSIGHTS favorite in the desert. The 35-year-old Spaniard is 15-0 this season with his 21st Grand Slam title captured in Melbourne, and two other titles won. He has yet to drop a set in a best-of-three encounter.
With the draw shifted around due to Novak Djokovic's absence, Nadal is the No. 4 seed and in the same quarter as No. 13 Denis Shapovalov and No. 8 Casper Ruud. He'll be seeking his first Indian Wells title in nine years.
The INSIGHTS Tournament Odds Favorites
Rafael Nadal — 12%
Daniil Medvedev — 14%
Alexander Zverev — 13%
Carlos Alcaraz — 5%
Stefanos Tsitsipas — 6%
Jannik Sinner — 5%
Matteo Berrettini — 5%
Cameron Norrie — 2%
Daniil Medvedev (16.22) has a good chance of going all the way in Southern California. The 26-year-old has lost three matches this year, and two of those losses have been to Nadal (Melbourne final and Acapulco semifinals). His over-five-hour loss in Melbourne may still sting the most, but getting some wins this week will help bolster his confidence back up. It should also help that he recently became the world No. 1 for the first time.
While Medvedev has never been beyond the round of 16 at the BNP Paribas Open, Alexander Zverev (16.11) has been to the quarterfinals once. He's trying to recover from a rough ending to his Acapulco bid. Then there's Carlos Alcaraz (16.00), who will be attempting to challenge top seed Medvedev if things go smoothly for both of them through to the quarterfinals. The 18-year-old Spaniard is seeking his first win in the desert after losing to Andy Murray (15.53) in his debut last year.
The Dark Horses
As far as lower-seeded players go, Aslan Karatsev (15.56) should not be overlooked. The No. 22 seed is in the section of the draw most affected by the post-Djokovic shake-up and could be most obstructed by No. 7 seed Andrey Rublev on his way through the draw.
Tommy Paul (15.54) was meant to face Grigor Dimitrov in the first edition of the draw, but will instead open against qualifier Mikhail Kukushkin. The 24-year-old American is playing the best tennis of his career, up to an ATP high of No. 39 and having ended 2021 with his first ATP title (in Stockholm).
In last year's edition of the BNP Paribas Open, Cameron Norrie (15.84) stunned the field for his biggest title ever. The 26-year-old Brit didn't suffer a letdown and won his third carer title in Delray Beach last month and just reached the final in Acapulco (losing to Nadal). The first seed he could face is No. 18 Nikoloz Basilashvili, followed by No. 5 Stefanos Tsitsipas.
In terms of surprises, there's going to be a lot of eyes on American Jenson Brooksby (15.67), another player with UTR Pro Tennis Tour experience alongside Katie Volynets. Volynets won her first-round match over Arantxa Rus and faces No. 23 seed Daria Kasatkina next.
No one is going to overlook three-time Grand Slam champion Murray either. The Scot needed a wild card to enter and has gone 4-4 since reaching the final in Sydney. He will try to take out Taro Daniel after Daniel took him out in the second round of the Australian Open, followed by No. 31 seed Alexander Bublik.
•UTR Ratings and INSIGHTS probabilities as of 9 a.m. EST, March. 10, 2022.