Friday, October 8, 2021 - Andy Murray walks out onto the Stadium 1 court before playing Adrian Mannarino in Round 1 on day 5 of the 2021 BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, CA. (Michael Cummo/BNP Paribas Open)
A trip to the Round of 16 will be on the line on Tuesday at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, where a three-time major champion (Andy Murray) and four Slam finalists (Alexander Zverev, Matteo Berrettini, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Kevin Anderson) will be in action. Here are three matches not to be missed:
Andy Murray’s resurgence continues at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, where the surgically-repaired Scotsman is into the third round for the first time since 2016. On Monday, the three-time major champion and former No. 1 roared back from a set down to defeat 18-year-old upstart Carlos Alcaraz of Spain. But the 34-year-old wildcard is in for his stiffest test yet in Olympic gold medalist Sascha Zverev, who since the Tokyo Games has gone 18-1, including titles in Cincinnati and at the Laver Cup in Boston. “Zverev is a top player,” noted Murray, who’s 2-0 against Zverev, including a win in Cincinnati only weeks before the German reached the 2020 US Open final. “He’s had a good summer post Wimbledon with the Olympics, then a great run in New York. It’s not going to be easy for me, but I’ve played some good matches against him in the past. He’ll certainly go in as the overwhelming favorite, but if I play a high-level match, I’ll be right in there.” Countered the No. 3 seed Zverev, “I’m looking forward to playing him. He’s the only one out of the Big Four I haven’t beaten yet. I hope I can change that after tomorrow.” Murray is 102-87 lifetime against Top-10 opponents.
The Stadium 2 crowd will be treated to a rematch of the epic Italy vs. USA Berrettini-Fritz Davis Cup clash of 2019, won by the American, 6-4, 6-7(4), 6-3, at the Caja Magica in Madrid. Berrettini has since reached his first major final, battling Novak Djokovic in the title tilt at Wimbledon this summer and earning the moniker ‘The Hammer.’ “He’s got a huge serve and a huge forehand,” said Fritz, ranked No. 39. “He sticks to his game well. He knows how to win. I think his game matches up pretty good with mine. I like the matchup for myself. It’s going to be a lot of big serving. I’ll just have to focus on taking care of my serve.” Berrettini is the only player on the ATP Tour this season to register double digit wins on three surfaces: 15-4 (hard), 13-4 (clay), 11-1 (grass). He is trying to reach the fourth round here for the first time. Fritz grew up in Southern California in Rancho Santa Fe and will all but be playing on his home court. His best showing in Indian Wells came in 2018, when he upset Andrey Rublev and Fernando Verdasco en route to the Round of 16. Can he match (of better) that in 2021?
In a year that’s seen him capture his first ATP Masters 1000 title in Monte Carlo, reach his first major final at Roland Garros and join Team Europe dominate the Laver Cup, No. 2 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas has cemented himself among the sport’s elite. He now owns a tour-leading 52 match wins in 2021. The Greek star is through to a career-best third round in the desert, and will next face 25th seed Fabio Fognini. Tsitsipas is 2-0 against the 34-year-old Italian, who earlier this year helped lead his countrymen into the ATP Cup final in Melbourne. He is 15-68 in his career against Top-10 opponents, and has lost eight in a row since his win over No. 9 Karen Khachanov at the ATP Masters 1000 Shanghai in 2019.