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Men's First Round: Ageless Gael Monfils Charges Into Second Round
3 Min Read · March 7, 2024

The final day of ATP first round action is winding down Thursday, with exciting tennis action all day long at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. Here are some of the top storylines from Thursday:

Ageless Monfils Storms Into Round 2

Two-time BNP Paribas Open quarterfinalist Gael Monfils is up and running at the 2024 BNP Paribas Open. 

The 37-year-old Frenchman notched a dominant 6-1, 6-2 victory over Australia’s Max Purcell to set a second-round clash with No. 8-seeded Pole Hubert Hurkacz on a perfect Thursday afternoon at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. Making his 15th Indian Wells appearance, Monfils improved to 10-5 in opening round matches and 6-6 in his 2024 campaign. 

“Today was beautiful from the beginning to the end, I was focused on my serve, the opponent, the speed of the court,” Monfils told the fans in Stadium 2. 

Normally stellar on serve, 25-year-old Purcell was unable to dial in his tricky serve-and-volley game against the former World No. 6. He hardly was able to win points behind his second offering, dropping 8 of 27 second-serve points as Monfils went on to break serve five times across the 70-minute contest. 

Monfils, who will turn 38 in September, is the oldest player remaining in the men’s singles draw. He fired 10 aces and saved the only break point he faced. 

Up from outside the Top 200 this time last year, Monfils currently ranks 54 on the ATP Tour. With a clean bill of health, he has his sights set higher this year, as he zeroes in on qualification for the 2024 Olympic Games, which will be held on his home soil in Paris. 

“I was out for nine months,” Monfils said. “Now I’m close to the Top 50, I think I deserve to be higher, I want to play the Olympics, because they will be in Paris – that’s my goal.”

Machac Pushes Past 38-Year-Old Wawrinka 

Things didn’t go as smoothly for another tried-and-true veteran on Thursday. 

Making his 123rd Masters 1000 appearance – and 13th at Indian Wells – 2017 BNP Paribas Open finalist Stan Wawrinka fought tooth-and-nail on Stadium 1, but could not get past determined 23-year-old Tomas Machac of the Czech Republic. 

Machac, one of three Czechs in this year’s draw, along with Jakub Mensik and Jiri Lehecka, rebounded to score his second career Indian Wells main draw victory, 7-6(3), 4-6, 6-2, to set a second-round clash with No.21 seed Adrian Mannarino

“It’s a pleasure to share the court with him, he was one of my favorite players, I was always watching him – I loved his one-handed backhand down the line, it’s a signature shot from him,” the Prague resident said of three-time Grand Slam champion Wawrinka.  

Wawrinka was on the attack early and often, creating several highlight reel points as he split sets with Machac in their second career meeting. 

Undaunted, Machac was too hot to handle in the third set as the World No.63 broke in the third game with a blazing crosscourt forehand and held his serve the rest of the way to lock down his sixth win of the 2024 season. 

With the loss, Wawrinka drops to 1-4 in 2024, and 27-13 lifetime at Indian Wells.

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