Third round play kicks off Sunday, and it’s another day full of popcorn-worthy matches in Indian Wells. We’ve selected our top four must-see matches of the day:
Not before 3:00pm PST – Stadium 1. It feels a bit weird calling Coco Gauff, the World No. 6, a “young talent,” but she’s still just 18-years-old. She’ll be facing off against fellow 2004-born talent Linda Noskova, who didn’t quite make the same waves that Gauff did a few years ago, but has a game that is already matured enough for the pro level with even greater heights surely destined for the Czech.
It’ll not only be a great clash of teenagers, but a great clash of styles as well. Gauff’s movement is among the best in the women’s game and she plays with plenty of courtcraft and counterpunching style, whereas Noskova is a sensational aggressive baseliner with a sneaky-good serve who can change the direction of her shots with ease. Definitely keep yours eyes on this 🍿 match.
11:00am PST – Stadium 1. After a lukewarm start to his 2023 season, Casper Ruud showed signs of life in a clinical straight-sets victory over Diego Schwartzman in his opener this week. His third-round opponent, Cristian Garin, has admitted to struggling with motivation since reaching a career-high ranking of World No. 17 back in late 2021. Both players need a bit of momentum with a good result in the desert – so there’s plenty on the line – and their aggressive clay-courter styles should match up well in the slower conditions at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.
Second after 11:00am PST – Stadium 3. If you’re looking for a dark horse pick, don’t look much farther than either of these two talented ball-strikers. They’re cut from a completely different cloth, with Karen Khachanov employing a big-serve-big-forehand approach to his game, while Alejandro Davidovich Fokina is an athletic all-court defender who can crush the ball if you give him enough time. This half of the draw is wide open, so a win in the third round could spell late-tournament success for either player.
6:00pm PST – Stadium 2. This one has to be the most exciting match of the day… if you’re anyone but the tennis ball. There’s an argument to be made that no player on tour hits a harder ball than these two, so tennis balls – beware. Petra Kvitova and Jelena Ostapenko have a great nine-match rivalry, with the fan-favorite Czech owning a slight 5-4 edgy over her temperamental Latvian opponent, and episode 10 of their series should be just as tight.
It will be their first time playing at Indian Wells, though they’ve had three desert duels across Doha and Dubai in the past. These will likely be some of the slowest conditions in their rivalry, so the winner will simply be a matter of who can hit through the court with the most consistency over a best-of-three match.