Indian Wells is heating up on Day 2 in the final day of first round play.
Men’s singles action continued on Thursday with several big names vying for a spot in this weekend’s second round. Scroll down to keep tabs on the ATP action across the grounds.
Leave it to Ben Shelton, the preternaturally gifted southpaw who is new to the tour but well-schooled in the art of making winning at the elite level look easy, to introduce weekend vibes to Stadium 2 a day early.
In front of a packed house full of fans eager to see the 20-year-old make his BNP Paribas Open debut, the former NCAA champion started slowly but quickly found his footing as he waltzed past tour stalwart Fabio Fognini, 6-4, 6-1 to book a second-round clash with defending champion and No.4 seed Taylor Fritz.
Hard to believe that the 20-year-old has just 16 tour-level matches to his name.
Shelton didn’t have his best serving day but it didn’t matter as he claimed 12 of the final 15 games against the former World No. 9 from San Remo, Italy.
This year’s Australian Open quarterfinalist, ranked 41, improves to 6-4 on the season and 9-7 lifetime. He will bid for his second Top 10 win against Fritz in a popcorn all-American battle on Saturday at Indian Wells.
Andy Murray is all about the circuitous route in 2023. The three-time Grand Slam champion has competed in 10 matches this season, with a whopping 70 percent of them going to a deciding set.
Unsurprisingly, Murray went the distance again on Thursday on Stadium 1, coming through a three hour and 12-minute battle with Argentina’s Tomas Martin Etcheverry 6-7(5), 6-1, 6-4 to book a second-round clash with Spain’s Pablo Carreno Bautista.
Murray put constant pressure on the 61st-ranked Argentine, earning 20 break points and converting four. He saved four of five break points overall and eventually pulled through on the strength of a single break in the ninth game for a 5-4 lead.
Murray needed eight break points in the set to finally earn the break against Etcheverry. Afterwards he said that it was hard to shake off the frustration of missed opportunities, but as he has done so often in 2023, he found a way.
“He was coming up with some big serves at times but I also felt like I made some poor decisions as well. The more chances that went by the more you think about it,” Murray said on court after the win. “I did really well to keep going in the end… Another brutal match and glad I managed to get through it.”
Murray improves to 7-0 in deciding sets in 2023, and 7-3 overall.
A litany of injuries have kept Stan Wawrinka from reaching his peak in recent years, but the 37-year-old Swiss is back on the upswing in 2023. Finally back in the Top 100 after bottoming out at 322 last August, the three-time Grand Slam champion made a strong start to his 12th BNP Paribas Open campaign, defeating Australia’s Aleksandar Vukic 6-4, 1-6, 6-1 in Stadium 2 on a warm Thursday afternoon.
The Stanimal is back 😼
— BNP Paribas Open (@BNPPARIBASOPEN) March 9, 2023
The World No.100, making his first appearance in the California desert since 2019, set a second-round clash with 26th-seeded Miomir Kecmanovic of Serbia and improved to 25-11 lifetime at Indian Wells.
The 2017 BNP Paribas Open runner-up crushed it in the third set, dropping just three points behind his serve against the 186th-ranked qualifier as he cracked six winners and broke serve twice on three opportunities to pull away.
If it is a squeaky clean stat sheet that you seek, look no further than Mackenzie McDonald‘s 6-3, 6-0 victory over Filip Krajinovic. The 53rd-ranked American blasted 18 winners against 6 unforced errors to derail the Serbian in a mere 62 minutes in Stadium 3 on Thursday.
McDonald, who improves to 2-0 against Krajinovic with all four sets won, will face seventh-seeded Holger Rune in the second round.
The former UCLA Bruin improves to 12-6 on the season and 4-4 lifetime at Indian Wells.