After overcoming fourth-round foes in contrasting fashion, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alexander Zverev contest maiden BNP Paribas Open quarter-finals on Friday.
Like their respective challengers, Nikoloz Basilashvili and Taylor Fritz, they have not advanced this far at Indian Wells before. For second seed Tsitsipas it was a rough road just to reach this stage.
The Greek dug deep from a set down in his past two matches – against 25th seed Fabio Fognini in the third round, before he finished strongly against 22nd seed Alex de Minaur 6-7(3), 7-6(3), 6-2 in a two-hour, 46-minute fourth-round battle.
Tsitsipas will carry a 2-0 ATP Head2Head record into his clash with 29th seed Basilashvili, a straight-sets winner over Russian Karen Khachanov. The Georgian – through to his maiden ATP Masters 1000 quarter-final – took a set off Tsitsipas in both prior encounters on hard courts in 2019, in Beijing and at the Australian Open.
“I know there are a lot of seeds, which play great tennis. My biggest priority is to play my best against any player regardless of the ranking or status,” Tsitsipas said. “This week has been a difficult journey with lots of battles, two three-setters so far, so this is something I’m going to take as a learning experience and use it for something better in the tournament.”
Unlike Tsitsipas, third seed Zverev’s toughest tests came earlier on in the tournament. He dropped a set to #NextGenATP American Jenson Brooksby before he powered home in three, then denied former finalist Andy Murray in two close sets.
Following victory over Murray, the German flipped the script on another 0-3 ATP Head2Head when he easily landed his first win against 14th seed Gael Monfils. He has now won 20 of his past 21 matches on hard courts, including the Tokyo Olympics gold medal and the title in Cincinnati.
“I always love [Indian Wells] but I’ve just never played well here,” Zverev said. “But I did well in Cincinnati as well where I’d never won a match before this year and then I won the tournament, so hopefully this can be a similar week for me. I’m looking forward to it. I’m feeling well, I’m playing pretty okay tennis and hopefully it can continue this week.”
Zverev holds a 3-1 ATP Head2Head record against 31st seed Fritz. But the pair stood toe-to-toe in their three most recent battles, including twice on grass at Wimbledon.
The German recovered from two sets to one down in the second round at the All England Club three years ago before Fritz gained revenge in Basel in 2019. Zverev again prevailed in a tight contest at Wimbledon, in four sets, in the third round this year.
Fritz has not dropped a set this week in Indian Wells, including victories over Nitto ATP Finals hopefuls, fifth seed Matteo Berrettini and Jannik Sinner. Like Basilashvili, he is through to his maiden ATP Masters 1000 quarter-final.