Qualifier, old foes lurk in Indian Wells
An opening round clash against a qualifier is on the cards for Ernests as the BNP Paribas Open draw was unveiled today.
Should Ernests make it through, he will encounter a familiar face in Russia’s Igor Andreev, the No. 22 seed.
Andreev holds a 1:0 head-to-head advantage over Ernests, courtesy of his victory in their marathon 5-set slugfest in the second round of the Australian Open earlier this year.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France is seeded to be their potential opponent in the third round, unless Argentina’s Jose Acasuso or Russia’s Teimuraz Gabashvili – best known in Gulbis fandom as the player who holds a 4:0 career head-to-head record over Ernests – manages to orchestrate an upset.
Gilles Simon and Mario Ancic round up the seeds in Ernests’s section of the draw as they look set to clash for the third time this year. Simon defeated Ancic in Melbourne before the tall Croat exacted revenge in Rotterdam three weeks later.
Elsewhere in the draw, the top-seeded Rafael Nadal, fresh off a home win over Serbia in the Davis Cup, will face either Kevin Anderson of South Africa or a qualifier in the second round.
The world No. 2, Roger Federer, who is currently under the tutelage of Australia’s Darren Cahill, awaits the winner of the match between Italy’s Simone Bolelli or Frenchman Marc Gicquel.
The Swiss has not participated in any Tour events since his crushing loss to Nadal in this year’s Australian Open finals, citing a back injury.
Ernests is defending 40 points in this event, where he reached the second round last year before falling to David Nalbandian. Due to quirks in the newly introduced ranking system, he will need to reach at least the third round, which carries 45 points, to avoid a net loss of points.
The men’s main draw action will begin on Thursday, 12th March, with live streaming to go on air starting from Saturday.
Photo by Ivan Goroun