The first semi-final of the ATP Indian Wells BNP Paribas Open was confirmed on Thursday evening and the two men who will compete in the second one will be identified on Friday when the last two quarter finals of the opening Masters 1000 event take place.
We saw two Spanish superstars make it through on Thursday and some of the best young talents in the game will be joined by a couple of seasoned campaigners in a bid to join them on what looks like a good schedule on Friday. Both quarter finals take place in the day session.
Andrey Rublev vs Grigor Dimitrov
The opening quarter final of the two on Friday sees the highest remaining seed left in this half of the draw in Andrey Rublev taking on the Bulgarian ace Grigor Dimitrov who will be looking to make the semi-final for the second year in succession.
Of course when Dimitrov made the last four last year it was much later in the campaign but it showed he can handle these conditions and coming through to this stage without dropping a set further highlights that. He isn’t the only one in this match that is still unbeaten in sets this week as Rublev has also come through with the minimum of fuss to date too. Rublev is the better player of the two but whether he is better suited to these conditions I am less sure. I think Dimitrov can put up a good fight here but whether he will get over the line in a tight match I’m equally unsure. There are enough questions about this one for me to leave it alone.
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Miomir Kecmanovic vs Taylor Fritz
The last of the quarter finals sees the Serbian youngster Miomir Kecmanovic, of whom I think it is fair to say a lot more was expected from in his career, meeting the last American standing this week in the shape of Taylor Fritz.
Fritz seems to revel in these conditions having made the semi-finals last year and he’ll be confident of emulating that performance this time around too given that he faces a seeded opponent but there has long been the thought that Kecmanovic is better than his ranking would suggest and he has shown that this week. The important thing for the Serb is that in Marin Cilic and Matteo Berrettini he has beaten a couple of players who rely heavily on their serve and first hit after it and that should serve him well against Fritz who is very similar. Fritz has won both their previous meetings with him needing three sets in a Challenger in Newport Beach and then straight sets in Atlanta, both in 2019, although the second set of that match went to a tiebreak so I’m not convinced there is much between these two. When you consider the magnitude of the match and the opportunity they both have I think we’ll go over 22.5 games before this one gets settled.
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