Draw Preview: Medvedev Brings Hot Form To The Desert For BNP Paribas Open

  • Posted: Mar 07, 2023

Draw Preview: Medvedev Brings Hot Form To The Desert For BNP Paribas Open

First ATP Masters 1000 tournament of 2023 begins Wednesday

Fifth seed Daniil Medvedev comes into the BNP Paribas Open as the hottest player on the ATP Tour and the fifth seed will need to be on his game early at the year’s first ATP Masters 1000 event to extend his 14-match winning streak.

Drawn in the same half as second seed Stefanos Tsitsipas, third seed Casper Ruud and sixth seed Andrey Rublev, Medvedev faces a testing opening match against the winner of 2012 Indian Wells finalist John Isner, whose fearsome serve gets extra bite in the dry desert conditions, and Next Gen ATP Finals champion Brandon Nakashima.

Medvedev, who beat Rublev in last Saturday’s Dubai final to cap a hat-trick of titles that also included Rotterdam and Doha, is seeded to meet Alexander Zverev in the fourth round. The German last week returned to form with a semi-final run in Dubai.

Top seed and 2022 semi-finalist Carlos Alcaraz, who will return to No. 1 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings should he win his third Masters 1000 title this fortnight, leads the top half of the draw and in his opening match will face the winner of American wild card Brandon Holt and a qualifier. The Spaniard missed last week’s ATP 500 event in Acapulco with a right leg injury.

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Great Britain fans will not have been happy with the draw, as 24th seed Daniel Evans could face emerging 21-year-old lefty Jack Draper in the second round, with the winner possibly playing Andy Murray, if the Scot can defeat Argentine Tomas Martin Etcheverry in the first round and 15th seed Pablo Carreno Busta in the second round.

Eighth seed Felix Auger-Aliassime, who is looking for a spark after a modest 8-5 start to the year, is seeded to meet Poland’s ninth seed Hubert Hurkacz in the fourth round.

Defending champion Taylor Fritz, who is at a career-high No. 5, will open against the winner of fast-rising 19-year-old American Ben Shelton and wily Italian veteran Fabio Fognini. But with 1000 points to defend, the 25-year-old enters the tournament at No. 10 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings and needs a deep run to remain within reach of the Top 5.

Seeded 11th, Jannik Sinner could meet fellow Italian Lorenzo Musetti in the third round and seventh seed Holger Rune in the fourth round.

Second seed Tsitsipas, who has a chance to climb to World No. 1 after the Sunshine Double in Indian Wells and Miami, will open against either French veteran Gael Monfils or Australian Jordan Thompson. The Greek needs to win one title and reach one final during the swing to put himself in contention for top spot. Tsitsipas is defending just 135 points in March, having reached the Indian Wells third round and the Miami fourth round in 2022.

Tsitsipas is seeded to meet Frances Tiafoe in the fourth round, with Rublev, 2021 champion Cameron Norrie and Matteo Berrettini all potential opponents in the quarter-finals, should he make it that far.

World No. 4 Ruud, who last year reached the final of the Miami Open, will play the winner of the all-Argentine first-round battle between Diego Schwartzman and Federico Coria. Schwartzman is looking to turn around his season, having won just one of his seven matches this year as he has slipped to World No. 38.

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