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Tuesday, 11 December, 2018

Novak Djokovic is hard to trust when he returns to action against Taro Daniel

Auger-Aliassime can nick a set against Raonic

Novak Djokovic has struggled with injury problems
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Novak Djokovic has not been seen in a competitive tennis match since exiting the Australian Open at the quarter-final stage but the 12-time Grand Slam champion is a short price to beat Japan's Taro Daniel when he makes his comeback at the BNP Paribas Open.

Djokovic, who has been struggling with an elbow injury, underwent what he termed as a 'small medical intervention' after Melbourne and it's hard to trust the 30-year-old as he starts his bid for a sixth Indian Wells title.

Milos Raonic has spent his fair share of time on the sidelines over the last year and the giant Canadian is no certainty to brush aside his young compatriot Felix Auger-Aliassime when they meet in the second round at the Tennis Garden.

Raonic has been the main man for Canadian tennis for the last few years but his top-dog status is under serious threat following the emergence of Auger-Aliassime and his fellow teenager Denis Shapovalov.

Auger-Aliassime knocked out another Canadian, Vasek Pospisil, in the opening round on Friday as the 2016 US Open junior champion thrived on being in the spotlight for one of the first times in his fledgling career.

Raonic could swat him aside if he brings his A-game but he has not looked anywhere near his best this season in losing three of four matches against relatively lowly-ranked opposition in Steve Johnson, Lukas Lacko and talented young Australian Alex de Minaur.

Auger-Aliassime returned well against Pospisil and held his nerve to seal the match in a second-set tiebreak. He's a decent bet to win at least a set.

In the women's tournament, world number one Simona Halep is a hot favourite against Caroline Dolehide while Petra Kvitova, who overcame a serious test against Yulia Putintseva on Friday, faces 16-year-old American Amanda Anisimova.

F Auger-Aliassime to win at least a set
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Raonic has been the main man for Canadian tennis for the last few years but his top-dog status is under serious threat
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