We have reached the last 16 stage of the BNP Paribas Open at the ATP Indian Wells tournament and for the first time in the competition both sides of the draw will play on the same day as the opening Masters 1000 event plays down to the quarter finals.
We’ve seen some shocks in the opening rounds this week but there are still some decent players on show, although it has to be said at this stage in proceedings Rafael Nadal does look like a standout. He is among those on show on Wednesday.
We get underway with a couple of men’s matches on the main stadium court on Wednesday. The opening match sees one of three home players on this court over the course of the day battling it out when Taylor Fritz takes on Alex de Minaur. Rafael Nadal will continue his unbeaten start to the season when he takes on the big serving Reilly Opelka for a place in the last eight. We then have to wait until the final match of the day for the other men’s match as the defending champion Cameron Norrie continues his title defence when he takes on the entertaining Jenson Brooksby who is hoping to back up his win over Stefanos Tsitsipas.
There is a full schedule of men’s action on the Stadium 2 court on Wednesday and it is the leading seed in the bottom half of the draw who is on show first when Matteo Berrettini takes on Miomir Kecmanovic in an interesting game. It might well be that the pick of the matches on Wednesday is the second one on this court which sees Jannik Sinner taking on Nick Kyrgios before John Isner will look to serve rockets down at Grigor Dimitrov who is quietly moving through the draw having replaced Novak Djokovic in his spot in the bracket. We wait until the night session for the other match as the exciting Spanish youngster Carlos Alcaraz meets the extremely entertaining French player Gael Monfils.
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There is just the one men’s match left out on Stadium 3 this week but it doesn’t come along until a couple of the doubles matches have been played out. When it does come on it will include a couple of men who were involved in the ATP World Tour Finals last season in the shape of Andrey Rublev and Hubert Hurkacz. Both men won a Masters 1000 title last term so they know how to go all the way in an event of this magnitude.
I’ll go with a couple of bets over the course of the day and they both see outsiders at decent prices. The first of those is the Miami Open champion Hubert Hurkacz who goes up against Andrey Rublev for the second time in as many months after the pair played out a deciding set tiebreak in Dubai last month. That was won by Rublev, the first time in three efforts he has gotten the better of Hurkacz. That was in the fastest conditions they have met in with their other two meetings coming on the clay and in Miami last year. These are not fast conditions and I suspect that the Rublev weapons will be blunted more than the Hurkacz ones. I think Hurkacz has a better balance to his game too which should help. The bounce of the ball is certainly in favour of Hurkacz and while Rublev is capable of adapting I just think Hurkacz is a big price in these conditions.
The other bet I like is for Jenson Brooksby to beat Cameron Norrie. Norrie came through in a repeat of the final from last year in the previous round when Nikoloz Basilashvili made a ridiculous 52 unforced errors, 40 of which came in the last two sets which he lost. I don’t think Norrie is in the form he was in last year and I don’t think Brooksby will gift Norrie as many points as the Georgian did. This is going to be a physical match but Brooksby has shown that he doesn’t mind getting involved in those sorts of encounters. He has also shown this week that when he finds his range he can power past good quality opponents. He only hit one winner in the first set against Stefanos Tsitsipas in the previous round but hit 23 in the last two sets. In the six sets Brooksby has won this week he has only dropped 13 games so when he plays his best not many are living with him. Norrie could have gone out in the second round and Basil let him off the hook in the last round. I think Brooksby puts the defending champion out of his misery here.
Back H.Hurkacz to beat A.Rublev for a 3/10 stake at 2.63 with Betfair
Back J.Brooksby to beat C.Norrie for a 3/10 stake at 2.10 with Betfair
Back them here: