Top Seeds Lucas Pouille and Ugo Humbert, Talented American Field Highlight Indian Wells Men’s Draw

Oracle Challenger Series
Mar 1, 2020

After three incredible tournaments in New Haven, Houston and Newport Beach, the final stop on the 2019-2020 Road to Indian Wells has finally arrived. A power-packed lineup of talented international standouts and rising American contenders has made its way to Indian Wells, each with a myriad of players hoping to put together a week to remember in the desert. For the American contingent, the final stop will determine who earns the coveted main draw wild cards into the 2020 BNP Paribas Open.

First Quarter

The top seed, Ugo Humbert, is hot off the heels of his first career ATP Tour level title in Auckland in January and will look to ride that momentum into another early 2020 title in his Oracle Challenger Series debut. After his opening round bye, the Frenchman has a tricky potential second round matchup against former World No. 8 and three-time Grand Slam doubles champion Jack Sock.

Anchoring the first quarter is World No. 79 and 2019 ATP Tour Newcomer of the Year Jannik Sinner, who is likely headed towards an exciting seed vs. seed third round matchup against World No. 106 American Dennis Kudla.

Other names to watch in this section are 2018 Oracle Challenger Series Houston champion Bradley Klahn and tournament No. 13 seed Evgeny Donskoy.

Second Quarter

The second quarter features both players who occupy the top spots on the Road to Indian Wells Leaderboard entering the final leg of the competition – Marcos Giron, who won the Houston event and made the finals in New Haven, and Thai-Son Kwiatkowski, who won January’s tournament in Newport Beach.

Giron, the No. 14 seed, has established himself as a consistent force across the Oracle Challenger Series whenever he steps on court, but will face a dangerous test in Britain’s Cameron Norrie if he can reach the third round. Norrie is the current World No. 58 and is certainly one of the favorites to make a deep run in Indian Wells.

Kwiatkowski is unseeded and will face a tough road in the desert, including matchups against seeded international competitors Yuichi Sugita and Salvatore Caruso. If the American can once again put together a performance to remember, he may very well find himself with a main draw wild card into the 2020 BNP Paribas Open.

Third Quarter

The third quarter features a fascinating mix of American and international competitors, with a host of exciting potential matchups set to unfold in Indian Wells. First, career-high World No. 29 Frances Tiafoe will look to improve upon his third-round exit in Newport Beach as his tournament gets underway against either fellow American Michael Mmoh or Australia’s Akira Santillan.

At the bottom of the quarter, tournament No. 4 seed Radu Albot will look to make a big first impression at his Oracle Challenger Series debut. After his opening round bye, the Moldovan has an intriguing potential second round matchup against unseeded American Mitchell Krueger. Currently sitting in fourth on the Road to Indian Wells Leaderboard, Krueger needs to make a deep run in Indian Wells if he hopes to leapfrog a few of his fellow countrymen.

Other Americans to keep an eye on include wild card recipient Brandon Holt and Sebastian Korda, who have drawn each other in the first round, and Oracle Challenger Series veteran JC Aragone.

Fourth Quarter

Anchoring the bottom quarter of the draw is tournament No. 2 seed and five-time ATP Tour title winner Lucas Pouille. The French former World No. 10 is an Oracle Challenger Series newcomer, but undoubtedly a pre-tournament favorite. Although anything can happen, he’s likely to face his first tough test in a potential third-round matchup against seeded German Peter Gojowczyk.

The fourth quarter is also loaded with talented American standouts, highlighted by Southern California native and World No. 75 Steve Johnson. Returning to the Oracle Challenger Series for his second consecutive event, Johnson will take to the Indian Wells Tennis Garden courts for the first time against either American wild card recipient Govind Nanda or Australian Marc Polmans.

In addition, No. 12 seed Japanese Taro Daniel will look to make a deep run of his own, as he returns to the site where he shockingly upset World No. 1 Novak Djokovic at the 2018 BNP Paribas Open.