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Five Must-Watch Wednesday Matches: Upset Artists Clash, Monfils Makes His Comeback
3 Min Read · March 8, 2023

The first day of main draw matches at the 2023 BNP Paribas Open is upon us! From seasoned veterans to American standouts to up-and-coming future stars, we’ve rounded up our top five must-see matches of the day. Which one are you most looking forward to? 

Who? Kaia Kanepi vs. Aliaksandra Sasnovich
When? 11:00am PST
Where? Stadium 2
Why? Rarely does a first-round match have implications that could impact the whole draw, but both Kaia Kanepi and Aliaksandra Sasnovich have made a name for themselves as upset artists who can take out top players on any given day.

Will it be the veteran Estonian’s brute force off both wings that carries her to victory? Or will Sasnovich’s world-class backhand and depth off the forehand that will see her prevail on courts where she’s seen notable success before (upset wins over Emma Raducanu and Simona Halep back in 2021)?

Who? Marcos Giron vs. [WC] Aleksandar Kovacevic
When? 11:00am PST
Where? Stadium 1
Why? Perhaps two lesser-known Americans kick off main draw action on Stadium 1 court on Wednesday, but don’t underestimate the quality both players can produce.

Giron, a UCLA graduate and former NCAA men’s singles champion, is an impressive mover who hits cleanly off his forehand and backhand. Kovacevic also comes from a successful college tennis background (Illinois), possessing a big serve and versatile one-handed backhand that has seen him claim two ATP Challenger titles and soar just outside the Top 100.

Who? Linda Noskova vs Irina-Camelia Begu
When? 11:00am PST
Where? Stadium 4
Why? Want a glimpse into the future of tennis? Look no further than Czech prodigy Linda Noskova. Packing a fully complete, almost Sharapova-esque power game from the baseline, the 18-year-old from Vsetin is one of many up-and-comers from the Czech Republic looking to continue their nation’s legacy of tennis champions.

But Romanian stalwart Irina-Camelia Begu will be no pushover. Not only does she have over a decade of experience at the top levels, but she loves slow conditions & will look to bully her teenage opponent into submission with heavy forehands and back-court consistency.

Who? Wu Yibing vs Jaume Munar
When? ~2:00pm PST
Where? Stadium 2
Why? Wu can probably already call himself China’s greatest men’s player after a sensational six-month swing that saw him claim three ATP Challenger titles before his first ATP Tour title in Dallas a few weeks ago. He was the first to win a tour-level title, crack the Top 100 *and* reach the third round of a Grand Slam (US Open). Even more than that – he’s fun to watch, possessing an dynamic all-court game modeled after idol Andy Murray.

The Chinese will face off against Spain’s Jaume Munar, a clay-court wiz who will enjoy the longer rallies facilitated by the slower conditions at the Indian Well Tennis Garden.

Who? Gael Monfils vs. Jordan Thompson
When? 6:00pm PST
Where? Stadium 1
Why? What’s better than a Gael Monfils night session? Not much, really. It’s no surprise the human highlight reel from France is headlining the first pair of evening matches of the tournament – especially considering he’s been out since August last year and is the proud new father of an adorable baby girl with wife Elina Svitolina.

He’ll take on Jordan Thompson, a steely baselining Aussie who rally with the best of them. Expect some long points in this one and for Monfils to shake off the rust as the match goes on.

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