Djokovic, Murray with plenty of practice


Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray head to the BNP Paribas Open on the back of gruelling Davis Cup rubbers.

A two-time defending champion at Indian Wells, Djokovic was pushed by Mikhail Kukushkin in five sets, while Kei Nishikori tested Murray - yet the big guns both won.

Djokovic played in Dubai - reaching the quarter-finals - after his Australian Open success, while Murray took time off following the birth of his first child.

Roger Federer is still out injured and misses the ATP 1000 event, but Rafael Nadal, Stan Wawrinka, Nishikori and Tomas Berdych are all present.

Wawrinka, Thiem in form

Swiss Wawrinka has been excellent early in 2016, adding the Dubai title to his Chennai crown that started his campaign. He has lost just twice this year. Also starring recently has been Dominic Thiem, the Austrian holding a 20-4 win-loss record that includes two titles. Meanwhile, Pablo Cuevas is on a nine-match winning streak that has included back-to-back trophies, but both were on clay.

Raonic with plenty on the line

The big-serving Canadian made the semi-finals last year and defending those points comes with plenty of pressure. Raonic's last match was a semi-final exit at Melbourne Park and the world number 14 needs a strong run. Australian Bernard Tomic reached the quarter-finals last year and also must deliver.

Kyrgios, Tomic in Murray quarter

The feud between Australians Nick Kyrgios and Tomic may hit a new level if the pair can make it to a quarter-final meeting. But Murray, Berdych and Raonic are among those standing in their way. Djokovic has been given a kind draw but Thiem and Roberto Bautista Agut may threaten, while Nadal faces a potential last-eight meeting with Nishikori.

Djokovic continues dominance

The Serbian extended his winning streak at Indian Wells to 12 with his title win last year. Djokovic rolled into the final without dropping a set, before overcoming Federer in a three-set decider. The last man to beat Djokovic at the tournament was Juan Martin del Potro, who returns this year, in 2013.

Djokovic barely stoppable

Djokovic is 16-1 this year, with his only loss coming to Feliciano Lopez in Dubai as he retired due to an eye infection. Thiem holds an incredible win-loss record of 20-4 in 2016.

Fatigue to play a part?

"This is probably the most psychologically and physically difficult match in my career," Djokovic said after taking almost five hours to beat Kukushkin.

Murray took just as long against Nishikori and said: "It was obviously a great one to get through."