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March 9 - 22, 2020

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ATP Main Draw Qualifiers Look to Play Spoiler in the Desert

by BNP Paribas Open

For Marcos Giron, Daniel Evans and Radu Albot; their stellar play throughout two rounds of qualifying action has earned them a birth into the main draw of the 2019 BNP Paribas Open. While some may be quick to overlook them against more rested opponents, we think that’d be a mistake.

Let’s breakdown why in three key matchups to watch:

Marcos Giron vs Jeremy Chardy
Marcos Giron has had arguably the most eventful qualifying run of any player in the tournament. In his opening match, he rallied to defeat higher-seeded Italian Thomas Fabbiano after dropping the first set. Giron followed up that performance with a gutsy 6-7(3), 7-5, 7-6(4) back-and-forth thriller over Miomir Kecmanovic. There’s no one in the tournament experiencing a bigger wave of momentum than Giron. That makes him a dangerous opponent for world No. 37 Jeremy Chardy. Between his booming serve and powerful forehand game, the Frenchman is an imposing force on the court, but he will have his hands full with the surging Giron.

Daniel Evans vs Stan Wawrinka
Daniel Evans has been playing in the desert for over a week already, as he made a semifinal appearance at the Oracle Challenger Series Indian Wells. He’s continued his success in Tennis Paradise through two rounds of qualifying, as he easily breezed past both of his opponents. In his second contest, he dropped a total of only two games en route to a 6-1, 6-1 domination of Noah Rubin. Looking to break into the ATP Tour top-100 with a strong performance in his main draw opener, Evans will have to overcome three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka. While calling it a tall order may be an understatement, Evans and Wawrinka are very familiar with each other. At the 2016 US Open, the pair shared the match of the tournament. In the end, Wawrinka survived the epic third-round encounter after saving multiple match points. Fast forward to 2019, where Evans has begun to regain the same form he displayed three years ago. Just last month, he reached the Delray Beach Open finals with victories over a slew of top-seeded opponents including Frances Tiafoe and John Isner. Can he add Wawrinka to his recent list of upsets?

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Radu Albot vs Marius Copil
While only three months into the year, 2019 has been good to Radu Albot. At the aforementioned Delray Beach Open, the 29-year-old Moldovan captured his first career ATP Tour title with victories over Ivo Karlović, Mackenzie McDonald, Nick Kyrgios, Steve Johnson and fellow qualifier Dan Evans. As opposed to the vast majority of matchups of qualifying players vs main draw entrants, Albot is the higher seeded player. That doesn’t mean it’ll be easy, as he draws hard-hitting Romanian Marius Copil. With career victories over Marin Cilic and Alexander Zverev, Copil will lean on his extremely powerful and consistent serve in hopes of overtaking the rising Albot.

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