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Britain's Konta defeats Parmentier in Indian Wells

  • Posted: Mar 06, 2019

British number one Johanna Konta progressed to the second round in Indian Wells with a straight-sets win over France’s Pauline Parmentier.

Konta, the only British female to make the main draw, won 6-2 6-3 in one hour 30 minutes in California.

The world number 45 broke the 33-year-old twice in each set and saved 10 of the 11 break points she faced.

Konta, 27, will face Su-Wei Hsieh in the second round, after the 33-year-old from Taiwan received a bye.

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'Pain-free' Murray still targeting return

  • Posted: Mar 06, 2019

Andy Murray says he is “pain free” after hip surgery but that his chances of playing singles at Wimbledon this year are “less than 50%”.

Murray had hip resurfacing surgery in January, which he said meant it was possible he would not be able to play professionally again.

But the three-time Grand Slam champion said it was the only option if he wanted to return to competitive action.

“The rehab is slow but going well,” the 31-year-old Briton said.

“I want to continue playing, I said that in Australia. The issue is I don’t know whether it’s possible.”

In an interview with BBC sports editor Dan Roan at Queen’s Club, the former world number one added: “The operation went well. I’m feeling good and walking around pain free – which hasn’t been the case for pretty much 18 months, two years.

“The reason for having the surgery was to improve all the day-to-day things and my quality of life.

“I wasn’t enjoying tennis, I wasn’t enjoying going out for walks and doing basic things – it was painful tying my laces. I wanted to get rid of that.”

Murray added he was under “no pressure” to resume a career which has also seen him win two Olympic gold medals among 45 singles titles.

“I have to wait and see. I’m not allowed to start doing any high-impact movement for the first four months after the surgery and it is only then when I can see if I can compete at any level,” he said.

“Whether that is competing in the top 10 in the world, that is probably unlikely, but could I get to top 50, top 100 level? That may be possible.

“I don’t feel any pressure to come back; I don’t feel pressure to play. If it allows me to play that’s brilliant.”

Murray broke down in tears at the Australian Open in January, saying in his pre-tournament news conference that he planned to retire after this year’s Wimbledon because of the pain in his hip.

However, he added that the first Grand Slam of 2019 could prove to be the last tournament of his career.

After a gutsy first-round five-set defeat by Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut, Murray appeared to soften his stance by telling the Melbourne crowd he hoped to see them again next year.

I have no regrets about deciding to have the operation. Even if I was told I couldn’t hit a tennis ball again, I would have had the operation

Andy Murray

In his post-match news conference he said he was considering the resurfacing operation primarily to improve his quality of life.

Murray had the operation – which keeps more of the damaged bone than a hip replacement, smoothing the ball down and covering it with a metal cap – in London on 28 January.

American doubles player Bob Bryan had the same surgery last year and was back playing again, alongside twin brother Mike, five months later.

No tennis player has competed in singles after having the operation.

“To play singles at Wimbledon I’d say it would be less than 50% chance, doubles maybe possibly,” Murray added.

“Bob Bryan had the same operation and was competing after five and a half months. But there is a vast difference between singles and doubles, in terms of the physicality and the loads you put through the body.

“I think it is possible to return to singles, but I don’t want to say it is highly likely because it hasn’t been done before. I can’t look at another tennis player and say that guy has done it.

“The surgeons said I can try but couldn’t give me any guarantees.

“The thing that gives me hope is that in Australia and in the past 18 months, my hip was in a really bad way and I was still able to compete and win matches against very good players.”

“If my hip is better now and with less pain there is a chance I could do it again.”

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Bryan Bros Seek Third Title, Djokovic Playing Doubles At Indian Wells

  • Posted: Mar 06, 2019

Bryan Bros Seek Third Title, Djokovic Playing Doubles At Indian Wells

Djokovic teaming up with Fognini

It may be just seven months since Bob Bryan underwent a right hip replacement. But the left-hander and twin Mike Bryan are ready to pursue an ATP Masters 1000 trophy at the BNP Paribas Open, which features a star-studded field that includes Novak Djokovic, who is playing with Fabio Fognini.

The Bryan brothers have triumphed in the desert twice, lifting the trophy in 2013-2014. And while they’re competing in just their seventh tournament back together since Bob’s surgery last August, they have already shown good form by winning the Delray Beach Open by (d. Skupski/Skupski). They face Russian singles stars Karen Khachanov and Daniil Medvedev in the first round.

“We don’t want to stop here,” Mike said. “We want to keep rolling and hold up bigger ones, hopefully an [ATP Masters 1000] in the near future and then a [Grand Slam].”

The top seeds are Australian Open champions Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut. The Frenchmen have won six Masters 1000 titles together, including a victory at Indian Wells in 2016.

The defending champions are John Isner and Jack Sock. While Sock will not be playing the tournament, Isner will try to retain the crown with partner Sam Querrey. The Americans have captured two doubles trophies together, including a Masters 1000 victory in Rome in 2011 (also 2010 Memphis). They will try to upset top-seeded Herbert/Mahut in the first round.

Another team to watch will be Oliver Marach and Mate Pavic. While they are just 5-6 so far this season, they won four tour-level titles last year en route to qualifying for the Nitto ATP Finals. Other qualifiers for last year’s season finale at The O2 that will be playing the BNP Paribas Open include Jamie Murray/Bruno Soares, Juan Sebastian Cabal/Robert Farah, Lukasz Kubot/Marcelo Melo and Raven Klaasen/Michael Venus.

Second seeds Murray and Soares face a tough test in the first round against #NextGenATP Canadian Denis Shapovalov and Rohan Bopanna, who have never played with or against one another. Colombians Cabal and Farah also have a difficult opener against Acapulco champions Alexander Zverev and Mischa Zverev.

Two-time Nitto ATP Finals champions Henri Kontinen and John Peers reached the final of the Australian Open this year, and Kontinen has showed more impressive tennis by lifting the Rotterdam trophy with Jeremy Chardy. Additionally, look out for Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury, who extended their strong start to 2019 to 11-4 by winning their first team title at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships. Ram triumphed at Indian Wells in 2017 with Klaasen.

Djokovic, Kyrgios & More Singles Stars Playing Doubles
As is typically the case at Indian Wells, some of the world’s best singles players are joining the action on the doubles court. Topping that list is World No. 1 Novak Djokovic, who is partnering Italian Fabio Fognini for the first time. Djokovic and Fognini face Milos Raonic and Chardy in the first round, and they could clash with second-seeded Murray/Soares in the second round.

Wild cards Nick Kyrgios and Taylor Fritz will face Steve Johnson and Dominic Thiem in the first round. Kyrgios is fresh off a title run in singles at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel presentado por HSBC, where he defeated Rafael Nadal and Alexander Zverev en route to the trophy. Johnson and Thiem are playing together for the third time, after also competing alongside one another last year in Rome and Halle. In Rome, Marach and Pavic beat the American-Austrian duo 16-14 in a Match Tie-break.

Other pairs that will compete in the desert include Stan Wawrinka/Lucas Pouille, Kei Nishikori/Maximo Gonzalez and Stefanos Tsitsipas/Wesley Koolhof.

Matches To Watch
– Herbert/Mahut vs. Isner/Querrey
– Cabal/Farah vs. Zverev/Zverev
– Bryan/Bryan vs. Khachanov/Medvedev
– Djokovic/Fognini vs. Chardy/Raonic
– Murray/Soares vs. Bopanna/Shapovalov

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Five Unseeded And Dangerous Players In Indian Wells

  • Posted: Mar 06, 2019

Five Unseeded And Dangerous Players In Indian Wells looks at five dangerous floaters in the BNP Paribas Open draw

With first-round matches beginning on Thursday at the BNP Paribas Open, looks at five unseeded players who could make plenty of noise in the draw.

Stan Wawrinka
After a relatively slow start to his comeback last year, Wawrinka is quickly rising back up the ATP Rankings in 2019. The Swiss star defeated Milos Raonic and Kei Nishikori en route to a runner-up finish at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament (l. to Monfils), in addition to quarter-final showings at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open and Abierto Mexicano Telcel presentado por HSBC.

Wawrinka’s challenging draw could see him potentially face fourth seed Roger Federer in the third round, a rematch of the 2017 Indian Wells final. Although he is 3-21 in his FedEx ATP Head2Head with Federer, all of those wins have come in Masters 1000 events or Grand Slams.

Tomas Berdych
Berdych’s current form defies his current ATP Ranking of No. 81. He returned to action this season after missing seven months with a back injury, but didn’t need any time to shake off the match rust. The 33-year-old is 12-5 in 2019 after highlights including a runner-up finish in Doha (l. to Bautista Agut) and fourth-round showing at the Australian Open.

Berdych finds himself in a relatively favourable section of the draw that sees him avoiding any of the top four seeds until at least the quarter-finals. Should he and eighth seed John Isner progress to the fourth round, the Czech player leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry 7-2. The Czech player has reached at least the quarter-finals in Indian Wells on three occasions (2010, 2013, 2015) and is playing well enough to do it again

Frances Tiafoe
The #NextGenATP American created one of the biggest storylines this year by reaching the quarter-finals at the Australian Open, but he has gone 1-3 in ATP Tour events since then. However, Tiafoe always plays well on home soil and thrives on battling the world’s top players in big stadiums.

If the American can get through his section that includes No. 22 seed Kyle Edmund of Great Britain and No. 16 seed Fabio Fognini of Italy, he could face Federer in the fourth round. Although Tiafoe is winless against Federer in their three previous FedEx ATP Head2Head meetings, he pushed the Swiss star to five sets at the 2017 US Open and would relish the challenge.

Ivo Karlovic
At age 40, Karlovic is living proof that age truly is just a number. The Croatian pondered retirement at the end of last season, but is back in business after starting the year with a runner-up showing at the Tata Open Maharashtra (l. To Anderson).

Should he get through Aussie Matthew Ebden in the opening round, an intriguing all-Croatian second-round clash awaits with No. 11 seed Borna Coric.

You May Also Like: My Point: ‘There Were Moments When I Didn’t See The Way Out’

Reilly Opelka
The 21-year-old American has jumped 40 spots in the ATP Rankings this year on the back of his first ATP Tour title at the New York Open (d. Schnur) and first Grand Slam main draw win at the Australian Open against Isner. At 6’11”, his big serve and booming forehand will be a daunting prospect for anyone he faces in the draw.

Opelka opens against Leonardo Mayer of Argentina and could have a entertaining second-round clash against No. 18 seed Gael Monfils.

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Five Early Clashes To Watch For At Indian Wells

  • Posted: Mar 06, 2019

Five Early Clashes To Watch For At Indian Wells looks ahead to five potential blockbuster second-round matches at the BNP Paribas Open

With the Top 32 seeds all receiving byes, several unseeded players in first-round action have the potential to set up intriguing second-round clashes at the BNP Paribas Open.

(3) Alexander Zverev vs. Mischa Zverev 
Provided that Mischa moves past Martin Klizan of Slovakia in the first round, another Zverev battle will take place in the desert. Alexander won their only previous FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting last year at the Citi Open, but the contrast in playing styles and personalities would make this another entertaining encounter.

Alexander is in fine form having reached his first final of 2019 this past week at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel presentado por HSBC) (l. To Kyrgios), but Mischa is still looking for his first win of the season (0-2).

(9) Stefanos Tsitsipas vs. (WC) Felix Auger-Aliassime
An all-#NextGenATP matchup will take place if Auger-Aliassime can defeat Cameron Norrie of Great Britain in the opening round. The Brit reached his first ATP 500 semi-final this past week in Acapulco (l. to A. Zverev).

Auger-Aliassime earned his wild card off a stellar February in Brazil, reaching the final of the Rio Open presented by Claro and quarter-finals at the Brasil Open (l. to Djere in both events). Those two weeks have led to a career-high ATP Ranking of No. 58. Meanwhile, Tsitsipas became the first Greek player to crack the Top 10 of the ATP Rankings on the back of outstanding results this season that include winning the Open 13 Provence (d. Kukushkin), finishing runner-up at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships (l. to Federer) and advancing to his first Grand Slam semi-final at the Australian Open (l. to Nadal).

The BNP Paribas Open is already Tsitsipas’ seventh ATP Tour event of 2019 and he’s played 20 matches this season (15-5), so the only concern for the 20-year-old Greek is whether the backlog of matches will finally catch up with him.

(12) Karen Khachanov vs. Tomas Berdych
Berydch returned to the tour this season after sitting out seven months with a back injury, but he has picked up where he left off. The Czech player is 12-5 after finishing runner-up in Doha (l. to Bautista Agut) and reaching the semi-finals in Montpellier (l. to Herbert).

If Berdych can get through an all-veteran battle in the opening round against Feliciano Lopez of Spain, his clash against Khachanov has the potential for an upset. The Russian is 4-5 this year and has yet to defeat a player inside the Top 60 of the ATP Rankings, but his dominant end to last season by defeating Novak Djokovic to win the Rolex Paris Masters shows he’s capable of beating anyone when he’s on.

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(22) Kyle Edmund vs. Frances Tiafoe 
The Brit started 2019 off slowly after suffering a knee injury at the end of last season, but is riding high after winning last week’s ATP Challenger Tour event in Indian Wells. Meanwhile, Tiafoe seeks to reclaim the form that took him to the quarter-finals of the Australian Open. Since his outstanding run Down Under, he has gone 1-3 in ATP Tour events.

The #NextGenATP American will first need to defeat Nicolas Jarry of Chile in order to set up the showdown with Edmund. Tiafoe and Edmund’s lone FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting saw the American prevail in a third-set tie-break last year at the Miami Open, and a battle between them in the desert should see another competitive scoreline.

(25) Denis Shapovalov vs. Taylor Fritz
Should Fritz come through an all-American opening-round clash against Steve Johnson, a battle between two of the most entertaining young stars in tennis will take place in the second round. Shapovalov has produced consistent results to start the year, with two ATP Tour quarter-finals and a third-round finish at the Australian Open, while Fritz recorded a Top 10 win over John Isner at the ASB Classic.

The #NextGenATP Canadian won their only previous FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting last year in Delray Beach, but both men are equally capable of picking up a victory if they meet again.

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Kyrgios & Djokovic Could Meet In Third-Round Blockbuster At Indian Wells

  • Posted: Mar 06, 2019

Kyrgios & Djokovic Could Meet In Third-Round Blockbuster At Indian Wells

Federer and Wawrinka could play in the third round in 2017 Indian Wells final rematch

The BNP Paribas Open may take place in the California desert, but the draw is flooded with potential early-round blockbusters.

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic could play Abierto Mexicano Telcel presentado por HSBC winner Nick Kyrgios in the third round, while five-time champion Roger Federer could face compatriot and former World No. 3 Stan Wawrinka at the same stage of this ATP Masters 1000 event.

The potential third-round Djokovic-Kyrgios clash pits two of the most in-form players on the ATP Tour. Djokovic is firmly the No. 1 player in the ATP Rankings, competing for the first time since winning his seventh Australian Open crown in January. But last week, Kyrgios showed his ability to compete with anyone on the ATP Tour, defeating a slew of stars, including World No. 2 Rafael Nadal and reigning Nitto ATP Finals champion Alexander Zverev, to triumph in Acapulco.

If Kyrgios gets by the winner between Philipp Kohlschreiber/Pierre-Hugues Herbert in the second round and Djokovic defeats a qualifier, the Aussie will also take confidence knowing he ousted Djokovic in Indian Wells two years ago. In fact, Kyrgios has won both of his FedEx ATP Head2Head meetings against Djokovic.

Watch Highlights Of Kyrgios’ First Meeting Against Djokovic:

The winner of that clash could potentially face in-form 18th seed Gael Monfils. The Frenchman has found his entertaining best of late, reentering the Top 20 this week for the first time since July 2017. Monfils won three three-setters en route to the Rotterdam title in February. Seventh seed Dominic Thiem is the second highest-ranked player in Djokovic’s quarter.

In the third quarter of the draw, Federer and Wawrinka could meet for the 25th time in their rivalry if they both advance to the third round. Fourth-seeded Federer may lead countryman Wawrinka 21-3, but all three of Wawrinka’s wins against the 100-time tour-level titlist have come at a Grand Slam or a Masters 1000 event.

The pair has met three times at Indian Wells (2011, 2013, 2017), with Federer dropping just one of seven sets. The Swiss beat Wawrinka to claim his fifth trophy here two years ago. Federer, who has a bye, will face Italian Andreas Seppi or German Peter Gojowczyk in the second round, while Wawrinka will clash with a qualifier for the right to play 29th seed Marton Fucsovics.

Watch Roger Beat Stan For the 2017 Indian Wells Title:

There is plenty of more talent in Federer’s quarter, with four Grand Slam semi-finalists in the section: sixth seed Kei Nishikori, No. 10 seed Marin Cilic, 22nd seed Kyle Edmund and No. 28 seed Lucas Pouille. #NextGenATP stars Denis Shapovalov and Frances Tiafoe also loom.

The first seeded opponent World No. 2 Nadal could face is 25th seed Diego Schwartzman, against whom he has never lost in six previous meetings. Nadal, who will battle American Jared Donaldson or a qualifier in his opener, could play in-form Russian Daniil Medvedev in the fourth round. Other seeded players in his quarter include 2018 Nitto ATP Finals qualifier John Isner and 12th seed Karen Khachanov.

One year ago, Zverev lost in his opening match at Indian Wells. But the third seed, who has never made the quarter-finals in the desert, will try to make a deep run in 2019. The German may face his older brother, Mischa Zverev — who opens against Martin Klizan — in the second round. The younger Zverev triumphed in their first FedEx ATP Head2Head match last year at the Citi Open.

Another third-round blockbuster could await, as Zverev may play 2017 Nitto ATP Finals champion Grigor Dimitrov, the 26th seed. Three years ago, Zverev needed two hours and 20 minutes to beat Dimitrov 7-5 in a final set at Indian Wells (Zverev leads their series 2-1).

Watch A Hot Shot From Dimitrov-Zverev At 2016 Indian Wells:

That’s not the only hurdle Zverev might have to leap over, though, as the entire section is loaded. Fifth seed and Pune winner Kevin Anderson is the next highest-ranked player in the quarter, which includes four additional 2019 ATP Tour champions: Stefanos Tsitsipas (Marseille), Roberto Bautista Agut (Doha), Alex de Minaur (Syndey) and Laslo Djere (Rio de Janeiro).

Tsitsipas, who triumphed at the Open 13 Provence, made the final of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships and advanced to his first Grand Slam semi-final at the Australian Open, could face Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime in a popcorn all-#NextGenATP second-round battle. Auger-Aliassime is fresh off reaching his first ATP Tour final in Rio de Janeiro, and after starting the year outside of the Top 100 of the ATP Rankings, he’s up to a career-high No. 58.

Did You Know?
Defending champion Juan Martin del Potro is not defending his title to further rehab his right knee.

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