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Galvanised Garin Stuns Ruud In Indian Wells

  • Posted: Mar 12, 2023

Galvanised Garin Stuns Ruud In Indian Wells

Chilean secures first Top 10 win on hard courts

Cristian Garin made it 10 sets played, 10 sets won at the 2023 BNP Paribas Open on Sunday afternoon. It is the Chilean’s latest straight-sets victory that may make the rest of the field sit up and take notice at the ATP Masters 1000 event in Indian Wells.

The former World No. 17 Garin, who came through two qualifying matches to book a spot in the main draw in Indian Wells, sealed a 6-4, 7-6(2) victory against third seed Casper Ruud to reach the fourth round for the first time at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.

“With a full stadium, and to play like this today against Casper, who is one of the players that I really admire on Tour, I am so, so happy to keep playing like that,” said Garin. “Aggressive, going to the net, I think that’s the way that I like to play and the only way that I have to beat these kinds of players. I’m just so happy and I want to keep improving and keep enjoying this tournament.”

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After qualifying without losing a set and then dropping just 10 games across his opening two main-draw matches, the Chilean showed few nerves when presented with his toughest test yet in California. He outhit Ruud by 39 winners to 17 to notch his third win against a Top 10 opponent, his first since 2021, and his first on a hard court.

Garin will look to keep his run going in Indian Wells when he takes on 13th seed Karen Khachanov or 23rd seed Alejandro Davidovich Fokina next. Should he triumph, he would advance to his fourth ATP Masters 1000 quarter-final after also reaching that stage at the 2019 Rolex Paris Masters, the 2021 Mutua Madrid Open, and the 2022 Internazionali BNL d’Italia.

More to follow…

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Alcaraz Feeling The Love In Indian Wells

  • Posted: Mar 12, 2023

Alcaraz Feeling The Love In Indian Wells

Spaniard received vocal support during win against Kokkinakis

Since making his tour-level debut in 2020, Carlos Alcaraz has consistently entertained with his all-court game. During his second-round win against Thanasi Kokkinakis at the BNP Paribas Open on Saturday, the 19-year-old Spaniard once again brought the fans to their feet, hitting a series of stunning winners to advance.

“I try to make the people enjoy watching tennis, and I think the way that I play, they love it or it seems like that,” said Alcaraz, who received raucous support throughout his 76-minute win. “I felt the love from the people. I think the US Open helped me a lot, to have a lot of people behind me, supporting me. I would say the way that I play, they love to watch.”

The Spaniard reached the semi-finals in Indian Wells last year and knows that a run to his third ATP Masters 1000 title this fortnight in California will lift him back to No. 1 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings. The 19-year-old rose to top spot in September after winning the US Open, remaining there for 20 weeks before Novak Djokovic replaced him after capturing the Australian Open crown.

Alcaraz is refusing to look too far ahead, though, with full focus on his upcoming match against Tallon Griekspoor.

“I think that’s the most important part of my game, to stay relaxed and go for it and not to think about the mistakes, the points, the rounds,” Alcaraz said. “Just, let’s say, live [in] the moment, play the match, and go for it. That’s the goal in this tournament for me.”

Last month, the top seed clinched his seventh tour-level title in Buenos Aires before he advanced to the final in Rio de Janeiro, where he picked up a right hamstring injury. Any injury doubts were put to bed against Kokkinakis, with Alcaraz moving freely throughout.

“Yeah, I recovered really well. It seems today that I move really well. I felt really comfortable playing here. More movement here,” Alcaraz said. “So I think I’m ready and totally recovered from the injury.”

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Preview: Medvedev, Ruud, Rublev In Indian Wells Action

  • Posted: Mar 12, 2023

Preview: Medvedev, Ruud, Rublev In Indian Wells Action

Norrie, Zverev chase fourth-round spots

Third-round action commences on Sunday at the BNP Paribas Open, where Daniil Medvedev, Casper Ruud and Andrey Rublev continue their title quests at the first ATP Masters 1000 of the season.

The 2021 Indian Wells champion Cameron Norrie, 12th-seeded German Alexander Zverev and 14th-seeded American Frances Tiafoe will also take to court in a packed schedule. runs through some of the key third-round matchups on show in California.

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[5] Daniil Medvedev vs. Ilya Ivashka

Chasing his fourth title in a row, Medvedev made the perfect start in Indian Wells on Friday when he brushed aside 2022 Next Gen ATP Finals champion Brandon Nakashima 6-4, 6-3. The fifth seed has now won his past 15 matches, having captured hard-court titles in Rotterdam, Doha and Dubai in the past month.

Medvedev has never been beyond the fourth round in five previous appearances in California, but was pleased with his opening performance against American Nakashima.

Medvedev will look to build on that victory against Ilya Ivashka and grind down the 29-year-old with his brick wall defence. The World No. 6 Medvedev leads the 29-year-old 3-1 in their ATP Head2Head series, having won their past three meetings. Ivashka arrived in Indian Wells 0-5 on the season, but has not dropped a set in his opening two matches this week.

[3] Casper Ruud (NOR) vs. [Q] Cristian Garin (CHI)

Ruud enters his third-round match against Cristian Garin off the back of a confidence-boosting win against Diego Schwartzman. The Norwegian arrived in Indian Wells holding a 3-4 record on the season, but looked sharp against the Argentine to reach the third round for the third consecutive season.

Ruud opted to undertake a training block in February following the Australian Open and believes the effects of that are now starting to kick in.

“I feel like you do a training block for four or five weeks and you might not get the exact result you want right away. It might take a week, it might take a month, before you feel physically fresh and ready. I think I’m starting to get there,” Ruud said.

The World No. 4, who reached the final at the hard-court Masters 1000 in Miami last season, has not enjoyed much success against his next opponent Garin. The Chilean, who did not drop a set in his opening two matches, leads Ruud 2-1 in their ATP Head2Head series. However, the Norwegian did beat Garin in their only hard-court meeting last year.

[6] Andrey Rublev vs. Ugo Humbert (FRA)

Sixth seed Andrey Rublev is a 12-time tour-level champion but he is still chasing his first ATP Masters 1000 title. Eager to change that record, he produced a dominant display against Jiri Lehecka in the second round, downing the Czech 6-4, 6-2.

Next up for the 2022 semi-finalist is French lefty Ugo Humbert, who earned victory against Denis Shapovalov to reach the third round in Indian Wells for the first time. Humbert struggled to find his best form in 2022, but has started this year strongly, advancing to the final at an ATP Challenger Tour event earlier this month.

Rublev arrived in Indian Wells off the back of a run to the final in Dubai and leads Humbert 2-1 in their ATP Head2Head series. The Frenchman, currently No. 89 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings, did earn victory in their previous meeting, defeating Rublev in the Halle final in 2021. Just as he did on that occasion, Humbert will seek to blunt Rublev’s powerful baseline game on Sunday as he chases his third appearance in the fourth round at an ATP Masters 1000 event.

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The 2021 champion Norrie has won his past six matches after triumphing in Rio de Janeiro last month. The 10th-seeded Briton will aim to extend that run when he takes on Taro Daniel. The Japanese star won their only previous tour-level meeting five years ago in Indian Wells.

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How Daniel Has Turned Tragedy To Triumph

Zverev defeated Pedro Cachin in his opening match as he continues to build back to his best level after returning from last year’s ankle injury. The German will meet Emil Ruusuvuori, who defeated Zverev in Miami 2021.

Home favourite Frances Tiafoe takes on Australian Jason Kubler, while Stefanos Tsitsipas’ conqueror Jordan Thompson plays Alejandro Tabilo. In doubles, John Isner and Jack Sock will continue the quest for their third Indian Wells title together against Kevin Krawietz and Fabrice Martin.

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Exclusive Q&A: Wawrinka On His Love For Tennis, Most Emotional Match & More

  • Posted: Mar 12, 2023

Exclusive Q&A: Wawrinka On His Love For Tennis, Most Emotional Match & More

Swiss opens up about his mindset

Stan Wawrinka knows he is much closer to the end of his career than the beginning, but the Swiss is enjoying life as a professional tennis player as much as ever.

The 37-year-old, who turns 38 later this month, is the oldest player in the Top 100 of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings. Last August the Swiss was outside the Top 300, but he showed great resilience to battle back.

After the 16-time tour-level titlist defeated 26th seed Miomir Kecmanovic on Saturday to reach the third round of the BNP Paribas Open, caught up with ‘Stan the Man’ about his love for tennis, why he still enjoys the process aged 37, the one match that sticks out from his career and more.

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You can see how much fun you still have with the fans on court and everyone shows how much they love watching you play. How cool is that for you to experience?
Of course it’s always special. That’s one of the main reasons why I keep playing tennis. I enjoy what I’m doing. I’m passionate about it. The emotion that I get from the fans, from the people in each tournament, from the support that I can get in matches, is always going to be special. I want to enjoy that as much as I can because the day that I will stop there will be no return.

When you’re first starting as a pro, players worry about results and sometimes forget to enjoy it and have fun. To what extent do you have more fun now than when you started?
I think I always enjoyed it. I think I’ve always been passionate about that. I never forgot why I started when I was young. It was to play a game. [Swinging] a tennis racquet with balls against someone, it’s the game, it’s the sport. Even if some days are not that easy, you always have to push yourself. You have to have great discipline.

I love the work, I love the process to get there too, so I’m lucky and happy that I enjoy what I have to do to be at my top level and also when I play matches, it doesn’t matter which court, which big stadium, small stadium. For me I always enjoy it and I always appreciate the sport.

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You mentioned the process. A lot of the time that’s the least fun part of your job. How are you able to continue to enjoy doing the hard work after all these years?
I think you need to see it as the big picture. The day you stop your sport there is no return. There is no way back, because it’s impossible to stop after 30 and then try to come back. It’s almost impossible, it’s so tough. And then you have to see [what is] also tough [is] I’m getting really old for my sport. [But] I’m still really young in my life.

After tennis, there are still so many years to do other stuff, so all together, I want to enjoy as much as possible. It’s a privilege to be a tennis player. It’s a privilege to be playing at that level, to be playing in the biggest tournaments in the world. As long as I’m feeling competitive with what I’m doing, that I feel like I can beat the top players, I’m enjoying that.

You mentioned you’re still young in life. But do you think there will ever be something again like the feeling of winning a close tennis match?
I think we all have different visions of what we’re doing. We all have a different way, that’s the beauty of tennis. There is not one rule. The only rule is about hard work and discipline, but the rest there are many ways of being at the top, many ways of winning tournaments and being at the top of your game. There are many ways of practising, many ways of having different technique and that’s the beauty of the sport.

You made a nice post when you returned to the Top 100. How special was that accomplishment to show you are still here?
As long as I feel competitive, I want to keep going. But it’s also to remind people not to forget where you come from and what was your dream when you were young. It doesn’t matter if I won three Grand Slams, if I achieved way more than I could dream of. It still has to be special. If you want to keep pushing yourself after 30 and you want to still be passionate about that, things have to be special.

What was your biggest dream when you were young?
My dream was to be a professional tennis player, so at that time [it] was to be Top 100 in the world.

All year you’ve shown a very good level against a lot of good players. Do you feel that you are right there with them?
I feel competitive. I know that when I enter the court, most of the time I can beat my opponent. I’m not young anymore. Things are a bit more difficult also to keep going back-to-back-to-back days, to push through a tournament. But I still believe that I can win tournaments. I don’t know which level of tournament, but of course I want to win a trophy before stopping.

You still have the shots that you can go and hit whatever shot you want. How does it feel to physically still have the ability to play the tennis you want?
It’s why I keep practising, why I keep pushing myself. I know what abilities I have. I know all the work that’s put in that I have to do to be at that level. Of course it’s great and I’m happy with it, but I want to keep pushing for more.

If you can pick one match in which you had the most beautiful emotions of any, which would it be and why?
It’s tough to say, but I would probably pick the French Open final against Novak Djokovic. It’s tough to pick one because I’ve had so many. I’m lucky I have many big memories, but the French Open has always been special. In France, winning the title after winning in juniors is something really special.

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Alcaraz Makes Sharp Start In Indian Wells To Boost No. 1 Hopes

  • Posted: Mar 12, 2023

Alcaraz Makes Sharp Start In Indian Wells To Boost No. 1 Hopes

Spaniard beats Kokkinakis, meets Griekspoor next

After nearly two full weeks out of action as he recovered from a right hamstring injury, Carlos Alcaraz returned to the court with the same elite level that has characterised his rise to superstardom over the course of the past year.

A semi-finalist last season at the BNP Paribas Open, Alcaraz received a hero’s welcome on the Indian Wells stadium court on Saturday night. He did not disappoint the expectant crowd, delivering with his all-action game in a 6-3, 6-3 victory against Thanasi Kokkinakis.

“I feel really comfortable playing here, staying here. I felt the love since I came onto the court” Alcaraz said in his post-match interview. “I have great memories, I made my first semi-finals at a Masters 1000 here, had that match against Rafa… It’s so special to come back here.”

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Red hot from the start, Alcaraz dropped just one point on serve in the opening set and broke in his first return game as he raced to a 3-0 lead. Set two was tighter, with Kokkinakis effective in fighting power with power for stretches, but Alcaraz’s speed, defence and consistency was too much to overcome after another early break.

“I would say I played my best, apart from everything: the points that I have to defend, the semi-finals that I have to defend,” the 19-year-old said. “I tried not to think about that, just to play my game, to enjoy playing here. Of course I tried to make people enjoy watching tennis here… That’s what I liked from tonight.”

The Spaniard could return to No. 1 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings on 20 March by winning the Indian Wells title, which would be his third at the ATP Masters 1000 level after his triumphs in Madrid and Miami last year. It will take four more wins to accomplish that feat — a goal that Alcaraz did not shy away from in the buildup to the tournament.

His next opponent will be 31st seed Tallon Griekspoor, who defeated Guido Pella 7-6(3), 7-6(4) earlier on Saturday. Beyond that, Andy Murray or Jack Draper would await in the fourth round.

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Rune Sets Wawrinka Matchup In Indian Wells Third Round

  • Posted: Mar 12, 2023

Rune Sets Wawrinka Matchup In Indian Wells Third Round

Dane downs McDonald in straight sets 

Back in action at an ATP Masters 1000 event for the first time since he beat five Top 5 opponents to win the Rolex Paris Masters last November, Holger Rune picked up where he left off with a convincing Saturday win against American Mackenzie McDonald in Indian Wells.

The Dane opened his BNP Paribas Open campaign with a 7-5, 6-3 win against McDonald, not surrendering a break point in the match. Rune broke at love in the final game of the opening set, converting on his first break chance to close out a difficult set, then cruised to the win behind an early break in set two as his game improved.

“It was very difficult. Super windy and actually the first time in my life that I even stepped out on this court,” Rune said after the win on Stadium 2. “Everything was tricky and Mackenzie is a tricky player as well, so I had to be there from the beginning. As I found my rhythm, I started feeling better, taking control of the points, which was part of the plan.

“In the second set I just felt like I was playing better and better, so I’m super happy.”

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The seventh-seeded Rune is making his third appearance at Indian Wells and his first as a seeded player. This time last year, he lost a three-setter to Matteo Berrettini as the World No. 86. He enters this year’s event at a career-high of No. 8 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, and is already up to No. 7 this week in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings.

While he enjoyed the benefit of a first-round bye this week, his mentality has not changed.

“Honestly I always put some pressure on myself when I play matches, whether I’m No. 86 or No. 8 in the world, or whatever,” he said. “I played Berrettini last year and even though I was No. 86, I put pressure on myself to win and I was very close. For sure a lot has changed throughout the year and I’m super happy with where I am. But there is a race to improve still.”

Next up for Rune is Stan Wawrinka, who beat 28th seed Miomir Kecmanovic 7-6(8), 6-4 earlier on Saturday. It will be the pair’s second ATP Head2Head meeting, with Rune scoring a comeback win in their first meeting last November Paris opening round.

“He’s a great player, has had a great career,” Rune said of his next opponent. “I’m just going to try to focus on myself and do everything I can to beat him.”

Rune used his Paris victory against Wawrinka spark a run of five straight Top 10 wins on his way to the biggest title of his career. He broke into the Top 10 of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings for the first time behind that triumph, and entered Indian Wells at a career high of World No. 8. Already up to No. 7 this week in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings, Rune could crack the Top 5 by winning his fourth tour-level title next Sunday.

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How Daniel Has Turned Tragedy To Triumph

  • Posted: Mar 12, 2023

How Daniel Has Turned Tragedy To Triumph

Japanese star to play 2021 champ Norrie in Indian Wells third round

The first sentence of Charles Dickens’ A Tale Of Two Cities begins, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” That has certainly been the case for Taro Daniel over the past four months.

The Japanese star is playing some of the best tennis of his life. In Acapulco, he qualified and reached the quarter-finals behind a win against World No. 4 Casper Ruud, the best victory of his career by Pepperstone ATP Ranking. At Indian Wells, Daniel is into the third round following an upset of former World No. 6 Matteo Berrettini.

“What’s really big with this week and last week is that I know what I did in order to have the biggest chance to win, especially with Casper and Matteo,” Daniel told “A few years ago when I beat Djokovic here, I didn’t really know why [or] how I beat him. It just felt like he wasn’t playing that well and I got some balls back and I took the chance. But consciously I didn’t know. [It was] like, ‘Oh, what happened?’

“Today, last week, I know at certain moments I pushed back, I was able to fight back tennis-wise, mentally. Those parts are definitely the biggest growth I feel in myself.”

That clarity has come after a period of tribulation. On 31 October last year, Daniel’s mother, Yasue, passed away. Taro wrote a touching social media post to pay tribute to her in the immediate aftermath.


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Yasue had been ill for two years, but her final few months “went very fast” according to Daniel.

“It’s amazing, even the fittest people can deteriorate very, very quickly and that was something very crazy to see because my mom was incredibly healthy, fit and strong,” Daniel said of his mother’s undisclosed illness. “She traveled the world a lot and it [was] crazy the last few months.”

Daniel was happy that his entire family was able to be together with the family’s matriarch in her final days. After her memorial, he took an extended offseason.

“I took almost the entirety of November off just to take care of the logistics, go to Japan, stuff like that. In the offseason I struggled quite a bit because I was working really hard, but then I just couldn’t believe I was going to go to Australia to play tournaments,” Daniel said. “I enjoyed working in the gym and everything, but I couldn’t see myself competing.”

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It became tougher when Daniel lost to World No. 470 Ajeet Rai in qualifying for Auckland in the second week of the new season. The weather caused matches to be moved to a lightning-quick indoor hard court, and Daniel fell in three sets.

“That really kind of took a lot out of me and I was even thinking of taking time off from tennis right before Melbourne started,” Daniel said. “Those couple of months were quite difficult. That’s when all the points were coming off, my motivation to compete was not quite there. I didn’t know what to do.”

But the former World No. 64 continued on and played for his country in Davis Cup action after the Australian Open, which helped turn things around. The problem was that after Japan’s victory against Poland, he contracted the flu (he tested negative for Covid-19).

“I was in bed for five days [in Dallas], and that hasn’t happened in years. When I got the flu the last time, I was just in bed for one or two days and it was fine. But this time it really took it out of me,” Daniel said. “I was disappointed because of course playing a main draw of an [ATP] 250, I’ve done it many times, but I still don’t want to miss that chance, especially because I was playing pretty well so I felt like, ‘Oh man, what if my ranking starts going down?’

“Those thoughts start coming in when you’re sick and alone in the room.”

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The first day, he slept nearly the entire day and barely ate. The next couple of days Daniel was able to eat more. But increasingly the anxiety built and as he struggled to enjoy quality sleep, nightmares trickled in.

But thankfully for Daniel, he physically recovered well. Following a lopsided loss against in-form American Mackenzie McDonald in Delray Beach, the Japanese player caught fire and is now set to face 2021 Indian Wells champion Cameron Norrie in the third round. It would have been understandable — if not expected — if Daniel struggled for longer after his mother’s passing.

“You just accept that you are going to think about it,” Daniel said.

He added: “I don’t know if the deceased look over tennis. I think they’re way beyond tennis or anything. But definitely that was also a great part of my growth for sure, because it was of course very difficult.”

But Daniel has also learned to have a positive outlook. The World No. 103 is not only playing well on court — he is up to No. 96 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings — but relishing his time off it. His father, Paul, is in Indian Wells, as are several other people who have played a critical role in Daniel’s career, including a coach from the Japanese Tennis Association, a physio he has used on and off for years, and Sven Groenefeld, his former coach, who remains an advisor.

“Actually the last time [my father] was at a tournament was here last year and my mom was here as well,” Daniel said. “It’s been a very tough year, especially for him. It’s been for all of us, but especially for him because he had to take care of her a lot. I think it’s great for him to come out here and have this great week with all of us together.”  

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Fritz Earns Comeback Win Against Shelton To Begin Indian Wells Title Defence

  • Posted: Mar 12, 2023

Fritz Earns Comeback Win Against Shelton To Begin Indian Wells Title Defence

Fritz wins first meeting with countryman

Taylor Fritz came back from a set down to win a battle of two of the brightest stars in American tennis on Saturday at the BNP Paribas Open. Beginning his title defence in Indian Wells, the World No. 5 was challenged by the fast-rising Ben Shelton but ultimately used his big-match experience to navigate through a 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 victory.

The pair’s first ATP Head2Head meeting lived up to the hype, as both showcased their electric brand of attacking tennis. While the competitors traded big serves and booming forehands in an entertaining match on the packed stadium court, it was Fritz’s patience and poise that made the difference in the desert.

“He’s a really good player,” Fritz said of Shelton in his on-court interview, after sharing a warm embrace with his opponent at net. “I expected him to come out serving well. He was playing well. He had nothing to lose so I did expect him to come out with a really high level.

“I think I was ready for it. I just had to regroup and find a way to problem-solve. He’s an incredible player, an extremely tough first match to play, so I’m happy to get through it.”

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The 25-year-old, five years Shelton’s senior, locked in from the baseline to earn the two crucial breaks that decided the match. They came in the final game of set two, when Shelton missed a short forehand, and the fifth game of the decider, when the former Florida Gator could not handle a dipping shot from Fritz at net.

Both players dominated on serve throughout the one-hour, 52-minute match, each winning close to 80 per cent of first-serve points. But Fritz’s ability to attack the Shelton second serve — and protect his own — made the difference. The fifth seed won 84 per cent of his second-serve points (26/31), while Shelton was under 50 per cent (16/34).

The stadium crowd played its part in the match, too, with plenty of opportunities to support both players after some highlight-reel points. But the biggest cheers were reserved for SoCal native Fritz.

“It’s amazing,” he said of the atmosphere. “It’s such a great feeling coming back, walking onto the court and then walking back out after the match is over. It’s such an amazing feeling just to feel the crowd and be back home.”

Now on a seven-match winning streak in Indian Wells, Fritz will bid to extend his run against 30th seed Sebastian Baez or Aussie Rinky Hijikata in the third round. Like Shelton, Hijikata was also a college star, at North Carolina, before turning pro.

Shelton was seeking to match his biggest career win, a one-sided victory over then-World No 5 Casper Ruud last August at Cincinnati. The American officially turned pro soon after that event.

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Marathon Man Murray Wins Quickly To Set Draper Clash At Indian Wells

  • Posted: Mar 12, 2023

Marathon Man Murray Wins Quickly To Set Draper Clash At Indian Wells

Scot earns first straight-sets win of 2023

Andy Murray has become the marathon man of 2023, but on Saturday he got the job done quickly.

The former World No. 1 reached the third round of the BNP Paribas Open with a 6-4, 6-3 win against Moldovan Radu Albot after one hour and 42 minutes. It was the Scot’s first straight-sets victory of the year.

“I felt very nervous today. I’m not sure exactly why,” Murray said in his on-court interview. “Obviously I’ve played a lot of tennis coming in, maybe I saw it was an opportunity for me. Maybe wasn’t as well prepared. I’d gone over my strategy and everything with my team to play Carreno Busta and then found out late last night the change of opponent.”

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Murray went from facing one player he had never taken on before in Pablo Carreno Busta (elbow injury) to another in Albot. The change did affect the success of the 35-year-old, who dominated on serve. He won 78 per cent of his service points and did not face a break point.

“We’d not played each other before, and maybe [I] thought it was a bit of an opportunity,” Murray said. “Had lots of break points again, wasn’t quite able to get them. It was quite tricky conditions at the beginning, very windy. But I did well in the end to get through.”

Albot, who was trying to claim his 100th tour-level win, battled hard to make the first set tricky. But when Murray broke for the opening set and let out a big roar, he took control.

Each man tried to outmanoeuvre the other in chess-like rallies. But Murray made just 18 unforced errors compared to 35 for Albot, which proved the difference.

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Murray will next face another Briton in Jack Draper, who continued to make his mark on the 2023 BNP Paribas Open Saturday. The 21-year-old clinched a 6-4, 6-2 win against his countryman Daniel Evans to reach the third round on event debut in Indian Wells.

The 2022 Next Gen ATP Finals semi-finalist Draper converted four of 10 break points to seal victory against the 24th seed Evans in two hours on Stadium 5. With his second-round triumph, Draper backed up his scintillating opening display at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, where he dropped just two games in moving past #NextGenATP Swiss Leandro Riedi on Thursday.

Saturday’s clash was the first tour-level meeting between Draper and Evans, who had defeated his younger countryman at a 2019 ATP Challenger Tour event in Nottingham. Evans had opportunities to forge a repeat of that result in the California desert, but Draper fended off 10 of 11 break points as he repeatedly repelled his more experienced opponent.

The lefty has proven his ability to go deep at ATP Masters 1000 level before — he reached the quarter-finals of the National Bank Open Presented by Rogers in Montreal last August. His next opponent, Murray, has long praised him.

“He doesn’t have huge weaknesses in his game. For a lot of guys his size that are lefties that I’ve played against in the past, maybe [they] don’t return that well. But he is a good returner for a big guy,” Murray told of Draper last year. “The two most important fundamental shots in the game he does well. He serves well, returns well.

“For a big guy, he moves pretty well also and then from the back of the court, his backhand is a very solid shot. [He] rarely makes unforced errors on that side and then on the forehand, he plays with a lot of spin. When he’s got time he can finish points. He’s got a big forehand when he’s got time to load up on it and he’s a smart player as well and a good competitor. He’s got lots of things going for him.”

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Heliovaara & Glasspool, Mektic & Pavic Win Indian Wells Openers

  • Posted: Mar 12, 2023

Heliovaara & Glasspool, Mektic & Pavic Win Indian Wells Openers

Fifth seeds Harri Heliovaara and Lloyd Glasspool continued their strong start to 2023 after surviving a minor scare to reach the second round of the BNP Paribas Open Saturday.

The Britsh duo, which began the year by winning the Adelaide 1 title and last week were finalists in Dubai, needed a match tie-break in their Indian Wells opener to take down Dutchmen Matwe Middelkoop and Botic van de Zandschulp 6-3, 3-6, 10-6.

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After suffering a first-round exit last year in Indian Wells, fourth seeds Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic wasted no time Saturday in their opening match in the desert.

The Croatians, who won the ATP 250 in Auckland earlier this year, downed Casper Ruud and Dominic Thiem 6-3, 6-3 in front of a packed Stadium 6. Mektic and Pavic won 26 of 31 first serve points and converted four of seven break points to earn a one hour, 10 minute victory.

Eyeing their fifth Masters 1000 crown this fortnight, Mektic and Pavic have collected 15 team titles since partnering in 2021. In the round of 16, they will meet Santiago Gonzalez and Edouard Roger-Vasselin, who ousted American wild cards Nathaniel Lammons and Jackson Withrow 7-5, 6-4.

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