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Men's First Round: Andy Murray Not Done Yet, Kokkinakis Sets Up Sinner Clash
3 Min Read · March 6, 2024

Men's first round kicked off Wednesday. Here were some of the top results from the first day of main draw ATP play:

Andy Murray Notches Place In Round 2, Nakashima Kickstarts 2024

36-year-old Andy Murray said recently he might only have a few months remaining in his career. Wins have been hard to come by, evidenced by a 2-6 record in 2024 prior to Indian Wells. But in a throwback affair with 33-year-old David Goffin, Murray prevailed 6-3, 6-2 on Stadium 1 to earn a date with fifth-seed Andrey Rublev.

“I would like to play for another 10, 15 years, but it’s not easy with the body,” Murray said in reply to being told on court post-match in his interview that fans would like to see him keep playing for 10 or 15 years. “To keep up with these young guys now is extremely difficult but while I’m still out here I’ll compete as best as I can and hopefully put on more performances like that.”

Murray improved to 8-0 against the former No. 7 and 2016 semifinalist, who spent close to six hours on court combined in two qualifying wins.

San Diego native Brandon Nakashima preceded Murray at Stadium 1, taking advantage of his wild card berth to defeat 2023 Wimbledon quarterfinalist Christopher Eubanks of Atlanta, 6-3, 7-6 (3). It marked Nakashima’s first ATP win of 2024 and made it four straight appearances in the second round in Indian Wells. In those second rounds, Nakashima — who dealt with a left knee surgery last season — lost to Taylor Fritz, Frances Tiafoe and Daniil Medvedev. Upcoming for the No. 93 is Jiri Lehecka, who he topped twice at the NextGen Finals in 2022. Eubanks meanwhile slipped to 2-5 this season and hasn’t manufactured a break point in his last three matches.

Thanasi Kokkinakis Sets Up Clash With Jannik Sinner

Australia's Thanasi Kokkinakis was almost untouchable in his win over Marcos Giron in the first round at the 2024 BNP Paribas Open. Kokkinakis put together a masterful performance that set up a massive second round contest with the surging, newly-minted Grand Slam champion Jannik Sinner.


Kokkinakis saved three break points in the first game on Stadium 2 and only faced one other during his 6-3, 7-5 victory over the Southern California native Giron who just made a final in Dallas and semifinal in Delray Beach. The chilled Australian hit 13 aces and only lost six points behind his first serve altogether.

“Marcos is in the form of his career, and I knew it was going to be a tough match going into it,” said Kokkinakis. “I was watching him the last few weeks and he was playing great so it was a tough draw, but I also backed my abilities. When I’m on, I know how I can play. I played a great match.”

Indeed and by his own admission, one of the best the World No. 99 has ever played in Indian Wells. The combination of thin air and slower hard court has flummoxed more than a few, including Kokkinakis in the past.

“Never quite knew how to play here,” said Kokkinakis, whose career has been derailed by injuries. “Kind of struggled for a few years. Had a few good practice days, got out on court and it was a bit hotter today so I got a little bit more out of my serve, which is good.”

Kokkinakis showed up in the desert after retiring in qualifying in Acapulco last month. The 27-year-old suspected he picked up a bug on the way to Acapulco and contested his qualifying outing against Michael Mmoh while dizzy. He eventually called it quits at 1-4. Kokkinakis trained in Los Angeles for a few days and felt better going into Indian Wells.

He knows the task won’t be simple on Friday against Sinner, who bagged his first Grand Slam title at the Australian Open in January and owns a 15-match winning streak. Kokkinakis, however, beat Roger Federer during the Sunshine Double in 2018 — in Miami. He is no stranger to playing dramatic matches, either, memorably falling to Murray last year at the Australian Open in a late night thriller that lasted nearly six hours. Kokkinakis faced Carlos Alcaraz in the second round in Tennis Paradise last year, about seven months after the Spaniard won his first major at the US Open.

“I won my first round last year, had Alcaraz. Win my first round this year and now it’s Sinner,” smiled Kokkinakis. “Probably the two most in-form guys at the time. It’s alright. I get another crack at a helluva player.”

Kokkinakis trails Sinner 3-0 in their head-to-heads, coming closest to a win in Cincinnati in 2022. On that day on quicker hard courts, Kokkinakis lost in a third-set tiebreak. Sinner edged a tight two-setter last year in Adelaide before authoring a more comfortable victory in Rome.

 “First time I played him I had a genuine shot to win,” said Kokkinakis. “Second time I had a fairly good chance as well. The third time he spanked me. I’m playing a guy at the top of his game but I also know that when I’m on I can match these guys and hopefully pressure him.”

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