The third day of action in the BNP Paribas Open over in Indian Wells is the one where the seeded players enter the fray which means that immediately the profile, attention and the interest in the tournament goes up a notch or two as the opening Masters 1000 event of the year continues.
We get to see the likes of the world number one Novak Djokovic, Dominic Thiem and recent tournament winners and exciting stars Stefanos Tsitsipas and Gael Monfils in action on what looks to be a great day of tennis.
It is the men who kick off the show on the main court on Saturday when two young guns get stuck into each other as Stefanos Tsitsipas takes on the young wildcard Felix Auger-Aliassime. The men continue in the second match on this court as well when Gael Monfils goes up against Leonardo Mayer and then moving into the evening session the best in the world comes out to play when Novak Djokovic faces the American qualifier Bjorn Fratangelo in the final men’s match on the main court.
Two women’s matches begin play on the second court in Indian Wells but the men are worth waiting for because the opening match from the men on this part of the complex sees Acapulco champion Nick Kyrgios taking on the German player Philipp Kohlschreiber. There is only one other match on this court in the men’s draw and it sees Dominic Thiem taking on the marathon man of the opening day in Jordan Thompson
One men’s match is mixed in between a couple of ladies matches on this court but you wouldn’t want to be the tennis ball when it begins as the big serving Sam Querrey takes on a man with an even bigger opening delivery in the shape of Milos Raonic for a place in the third round. Later in the day Alexander Zverev gets his campaign underway when he takes on Martin Klizan before the action concludes with Yoshihito Niskioka going up against Roberto Bautista Agut.
Best of the Rest
There are a number of men’s matches dotted around the grounds on Saturday for those with ground passes or access to Amazon Prime’s improving coverage. Alex de Minaur, Marco Cecchinato, Borna Coric, Gilles Simon and Nikoloz Basilashvili are among the seeded players who will be in action on the outside courts.
I’ll go with three favourites to cover their handicaps on the third day of action. I’m not normally one for backing favourites but they face opponents with issues and can be exploited. Alexander Zverev is the first of those. The ATP World Tour Finals winner meets Martin Klizan who beat the other Zverev in the first round but took a right nasty fall in that match and could be laboured in this one as a result. Klizan could be overpowered by the German star who I suspect is hoping for a big month here. Zverev can cover 4.5 games in this one.
Jan-Lennard Struff was hitting the ball as nicely as anyone in the opening round and he has had a bit of a touch too with Grigor Dimitrov pulling out injured meaning that he takes on a man who lost in qualifying but who gets a second chance in Ricardis Berankis. The fact that the Lithuanian lost in qualifying says a lot and with the German in fine form at the minute I see no reason why he won’t cover 2.5 games with the way he was playing against John Millman in the opening round.
You would have to think that the three hour plus marathon that Jordan Thompson was forced to endure in the first round will play into the hands of Dominic Thiem later in the evening. Thiem had a chance to get used to conditions when he played doubles on Friday evening and should be primed for a decent outing on a court which should play to many of his strengths. At his best Thompson would give everything and might be a pain to see off but the longer this goes the clearer Thiem should dominate it.
Back A.Zverev (-4.5 games) to beat M.Klizan for a 4/10 stake at 1.83 with Bet365
Back J-L.Struff (-2.5 games) to beat R.Berankis for a 4/10 stake at 2.00 with Boylesports
Back him here:
Back D.Thiem (-3.5 games) to beat J.Thompson for a 4/10 stake at 1.85 with Betway