Friday, March 10, 2023 - Jordan Thompson plays against Stefanos Tsitsipas in the 2nd round of the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, California. (Jonathan Moore/BNP Paribas Open)
Jordan Thompson orchestrated the first major upset of the tournament Friday afternoon on Stadium 1, knocking out No. 2 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas 7-6(0), 4-6, 7-6(5) to advance to the third round of the BNP Paribas Open.
Scoring his second career win over a Top 10 opponent (the first being against then-No. 1 Andy Murray at Queen’s Club in 2017), Thompson played Tsitsipas tough from the start, holding on to his position on the baseline with balance & defending naturally against the Greek.
Tsitsipas, for his part, appeared to be nursing a shoulder injury visibly taped beneath his shirt. It appeared to affect his ability to hit over his signature one-handed backhand, instead opting for chips and slices off the wing. Thompson was masterful in his tactics trying to exploit the World No. 3’s limitations in the match, directing most baseline traffic to the Tsitsipas backhand and attacking the next on any short replies.
But the recent Australian Open runner-up wouldn’t go down quietly. Holding for 6-all in the decisive set, Tsitsipas waved his arms to the sky, imploring some energy from a largely Greek crowd in the Palm Desert. The energy was enough to inspire a brilliant backhand return winner on the first point of the tiebreak, inspiring even more adoration from the Stadium 1 attendees.
One wouldn’t have blamed Thompson at that point for caving into the pressure down an early mini-break. Instead, however, the Aussie buckled down and pressured Tsitsipas into the same patterns that had forced errors off his racquet throughout the match. After one final forehand wide, the match was Thompson’s after two hours, 37 minutes.
— BNP Paribas Open (@BNPPARIBASOPEN) March 10, 2023
The No. 3 seed Ruud, one of the stars of season one of Netflix’s ‘Break Point,’ was relentless from the start, punishing any balls Schwartzman left short with despicably spinny forehands that generated plenty of net clearance and bite off the bounce.
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) March 10, 2023
The mild-mannered Norwegian rushed out to a quick 4-1 lead in the first set and faced down the only break point against his serve with a line-clipping forehand, much to the visible dismay of Schwartzman.
Ultimately, such was the story of the match, as the former World No. 8 was never really able to avoid the firepower off Ruud’s forehand despite engaging in plenty of high-quality rallies across the one-hour, 28-minute contest.
It hasn’t been a sensational start to the 2023 season for two-time Grand Slam finalist Ruud, who crashed out early at the Australian Open to Jenson Brooksby and was unable to find his footing in Acapulco last week. However, if his form in this Schwartzman victory is anything to go by, he could very well be competing for the title at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in just over a week’s time.
Elsewhere around the grounds, Cam Norrie was the first player into the third round following a straightforward win over qualifier Wu Tung-Lin, Cristian Garin – himself a qualifier – scored an upset win over No. 29 seed Yoshihito Nishioka, the first seeded player to fall at this year’s event.
Roberto Bautista Agut, seeded No. 22, also fell victim to an upset at the hands of Finland’s Emil Ruusuvuori, while Jason Kubler and Ilya Ivashka advanced when Grigor Dimitrov and Botic van de Zanschulp both had to retire from their respective match-ups.