The ATP Indian Wells competition gets underway on Thursday as the BNP Paribas Open main draw starts with the first Masters 1000 event of the season offering up a decent looking day of action out in California.
We have to wait until later in proceedings for the bigger names to come into the fray but the first round matches on show on Thursday should offer up some competitive action with the unseeded players looking to set up a meeting with a seed over the weekend.
The action actually gets underway with two men’s matches on the Stadium 1 court on Thursday with the home man Mackenzie McDonald taking on the Hungarian veteran I guess you could call him now in Marton Fucsovics. When they are done Jenson Brooksby will step out onto the main court. The exciting American has a date with Roberto Carballes Baena. The only other match on this course comes along in the night session as Nick Kyrgios starts just his second tournament of the season when he faces off against Sebastian Baez.
There are two men’s matches on Stadium 2 on Thursday but we don’t get going until a couple of the women’s matches have been completed. When the men do come out to play it will be the home wildcard Jack Sock who takes to the court to round off the day session. He faces Juan Manuel Cerundolo before much deeper into the evening another American takes to the stage when Sebastian Korda faces Thanasi Kokkinakis, who is now a Grand Slam champion after winning the Australian Open doubles with Nick Kyrgios earlier in the year.
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There are three good looking men’s matches out on Stadium 3 on Thursday and they are the first three games on this court. We begin with the entertaining Fabio Fognini looking for a spot in the second round when he meets Pablo Andujar while Marcos Giron will look to give the home crowds something to cheer in the second match when he takes on Lorenzo Musetti. The last match on this course is a South American clash between Federico Coria and Pablo Cuevas, who gets in on his protected ranking after a period of injury.
Best of the Rest
There is a huge mixture of men’s women’s and doubles matches on the remainder of the courts in Indian Wells on Thursday. From the men’s draw there isn’t a huge amount to get excited about although Stadium 5 might be a place to watch or stream from as the likes of Filip Krajinovic, Dusan Lajovic, Borna Coric and Alexei Popyrin are all in action out there. Over on Stadium 9, Soonwoo Kwon and Laslo Djere are among the players on show.
I’ll largely keep my powder dry on this opening day while we assess conditions and see who might be enhanced by the conditions and who might be impacted by them. I will take one bet though and it comes fairly late in the day where Tomas Machac takes on Alexei Popyrin in a match where the Czech player looks an acceptable price to come through against a Popyrin who is stone cold from a form point of view, and who probably could have done with this match taking place earlier in the day.
By the time these two step onto the court the conditions could be very slow which will negate the big serving threat of the Australian and probably allow the improving Czech player to impose himself on the rallies and the match itself. Machac has gone well in qualifying events this season and is starting to taste a number of these main draw matches. He had some good wins in the Davis Cup towards the end of last year and with winning momentum from qualifiers behind him I think he can get the better of Popyrin here.
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