• ATP Tour

Murray and Djokovic set for SF clash at Indian Wells

ESPN staff
March 6, 2013
Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray could clash for the ninth time over the last year and three months © PA Photos

The last two grand slam champions, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray are on course to meet in the semi-finals of the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells.

Djokovic, the reigning Australian Open champion, could face current US Open holder Murray in the last four of the opening ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event of the year after they were placed on the same side of the draw.

Were they to meet, it would be for the ninth time since the start of 2012, with the pair's most recent meeting coming at this year's Australian Open - which Djokovic won in four sets to triumph for a third consecutive time Down Under.

Britain's Murray is aiming to do better than his previous best of reaching the final in 2009, where he lost to Djokovic, and is taking part in his first event since losing in the Australian Open final. Murray also has the opportunity to climb to No. 2 in the world rankings and overtake Roger Federer provided he reaches the final. The Scot opens his campaign against either Evgeny Donskoy of Russia or Japan's Tatsuma Ito.

World No. 1 Djokovic meanwhile is gunning for a third victory at Indian Wells, and kicks off with an encounter against crowd-pleaser Fabio Fognini or Aljaz Bedene of Slovenia.

The defending champion at Indian Wells, Federer searches for a fifth win, and the record 17-time grand slam champion could come across Rafael Nadal in the quarter-finals.

Nadal is seeded fifth following his seven-month lay-off with injury, and made winning returns in Acapulco and Sao Paulo, and was a runner-up in Vina del Mar, all events played on his favoured surface of clay, but the Spaniard is taking to a hard court for the first time, despite reports suggesting he would pull out of the event in order to protect his knees.

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