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By Akshay Kohli
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As more and more top singles players start playing the doubles events, it not only makes the draw more fascinating, but more competitive too. It will be interesting to see if its the singles or the doubles teams that reign supreme.
Defending Indian Wells champion and World No.1 Novak Djokovic partners fellow countryman Viktor Troicki. The pair reached the quarterfinals last year and would be hoping to go at least one step further. World No. 2 Rafael Nadal will pair with Marc Lopez again and are former champions here as they together captured the BNP Paribas Open doubles title in 2010, but fell last year in the last 4. World No. 4 Andy Murray and his brother Jamie will team up as well again, and seek to improve upon their quarter-final stint in 2011.
Other Top-10 singles players who will compete in the doubles draw include No. 6 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, partnering with countryman Julien Benneteau, and No. 8 Mardy Fish, partnering with fellow American and Andy Roddick. Fish and Roddick are also former champions here.
Competing alongside these singles gladiators will be perennial doubles forces such as World No. 1 ranked Bob and Mike Bryan, Max Mirnyi and Daniel Nestor and Michael Llodra and Nenad Zimonjic. The Bryan Brothers are the most successful doubles team of all time and have been the No.1 team of the world seven of the last nine years. However, the BNP Paribas Open title is 1 silverware that has eluded the American duo, but they hope to change that as the tournament’s top-seeded team.
Mirnyi and Nestor are the reigning 2011 French Open champions. Mirnyi and Nestor teamed up to win four titles in 2011 including the French Open. Within those top three teams, however, Nestor is the only one to have won the doubles title at the BNP Paribas Open. Defending champions Alexandr Dolgopolov and Xavier Malisse will seek to defend their 2011 BNP Paribas Open title and will no doubt produce some fascinating tennis.
Also featuring in this year’s draw will be 2012 Australian Open champions Leander Paes and Radek Stepanek, Gael Monfils and Philipp Kohlschreiber and Dubai Open champions Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna.
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