We get going with the third round of the ATP Indian Wells event on Monday when the BNP Paribas Open sees the seeded players able to meet for the first time as we get hurtling towards the business end of the first Masters 1000 event of the season.
We saw some fantastic tennis in the second round but you sense that the tournament is about to go up a notch with the action on the three main stadium courts from here on in. We have a great schedule on Monday too.
Three of the eight matches on show on Monday are on the main stadium court including the opening one which sees the world number one Daniil Medvedev taking on Gael Monfils in what will be a shot makers dream. The British number two Dan Evans then takes to the court when he meets the Australian Open champion Rafael Nadal, who will need to be a lot better than he was in the previous round. The last match on this court comes in the evening session when the home favourite Jenson Brooksby takes on Stefanos Tsitsipas.
Just the two matches take place over on the second stadium court and we have to wait for a couple of women’s games to be played out before the men come to the party. When they do we have a North American battle when the home ace Reilly Opelka takes on the entertaining Denis Shapovalov. I would have thought that would have been the night session match on this court but that honour actually goes to the enigmatic Australian player Nick Kyrgios and the underrated Norwegian star Casper Ruud, who is already doing a decent job of backing up a good season last term.
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We start off with a men’s match on Stadium 3, which sees two Spaniards battling it out for a place in the last 16 when Carlos Alcaraz takes on Roberto Bautista Agut. That is the only men’s match in the day session so after two women’s matches round things off we get two men’s games in the night spell. The first of those offers up a big opportunity for the classy Jannik Sinner to move into the last 16 when he meets the surprise package of the week in Benjamin Bonzi. The action on this court concludes with a rerun of the 2021 final when Cameron Norrie goes up against Nikoloz Basilashvili.
Denis Shapovalov has beaten Reilly Opelka twice in their two previous meetings and they were both in faster conditions than this so logic would dictate that the Canadian should be able to get the better of his American opponent in this match when you consider that the courts here are a lot slower than they were at Queens and in Melbourne. Sport doesn’t always follow that sort of thought process but if the conditions nullify some of the threat of the Opelka serve you would think half the job is done for Shapo.
To be fair to Opelka he blew Lorenzo Musetti away in the previous round while Shapovalov had to come through a bit of a marathon against Alejandro Davidovich Fokina. He is becoming a bit of a test for anyone at the minute though so that wasn’t a bad look on Shapo, in fact, the fact he came through is very much a positive. Opelka had a decent run at Delray Beach going into this event but the likes of Jack Sock, John Millman and Adrian Mannarino took the American the distance there. Shapovalov is better than all three put together so he has to be decent value at even money.
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