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Thursday Preview: A Look at the Men's Quarterfinal Match-Ups
4 Min Read · March 13, 2024

Thursday at the BNP Paribas Open marks quarterfinal day in both the men’s and women’s draws.

Here, we take a closer look at the four men’s matches, starting with a mouthwatering rematch between Carlos Alcaraz and Alexander Zverev.


Carlos Alcaraz vs Alexander Zverev
Head-to-Head: Zverev leads 5-3

The last time these two met was at January’s Australian Open. Zverev ended up going through in four sets — after winning the first two in a quick one hour and 10 minutes. Only a few months before then, the headband-toting German won their duel at the ATP Finals, too.

But Alcaraz said this week his confidence is climbing. After losing his first set of the event, the defending champion in the desert has won six straight. He feels at home here, on and off the court.

“I think the conditions here suit very well my game,” he said. “I feel really comfortable in this court, in this tournament. Not only on the court, off the court as well.

“Here there are, well, not a lot of things, but things we can do off the court. For me, it relaxes me very, very well. For me it's playing golf. I can do it here very well and too much.”

Jannik Sinner vs Jiri Lehecka
Head-to-Head: Sinner leads 1-0

It’s 18 wins in a row for Sinner after he beat US Open semifinalist Ben Shelton 7-6 (4), 6-1 in the fourth round. In an intense first set, Sinner recovered in a tiebreak after getting broken at 5-4.

The Italian is confident but knows wins don’t come automatically.

“I never take things (for) granted,” said Sinner. “Every tournament, every match you go on court trying to do your best, trying to stay mentally focused. That's what I try to do. Every day, there’s a different opponent.

“The next match is also a challenge. I don't know my opponent. We played five years ago somewhere.”

It was actually at a Challenger in Lehecka’s native Czech Republic. Both 22 year olds have soared to a different level since then.

The flat-hitting Lehecka followed up his Top 10 win over Andrey Rublev by beating World No. 11 Stefanos Tsitsipas. Countryman and former Wimbledon finalist Tomas Berdych has been in the World No. 32’s corner all week.

“I didn't have the same feeling last year,” said Lehecka, who lost in the second round last year to Rublev.

“That's one of the reasons why I came here with Tomas this year, to help me a bit more with his experience, what he was feeling when he was playing here, what kind of tips he has to put me through some difficult situations on the court.”

Tommy Paul vs Casper Ruud
Head-to-Head: Ruud leads 4-1

One round after his gargantuan win over Novak Djokovic, lucky loser Luca Nardi’s luck ran out against Tommy Paul, who prevailed 6-4, 6-3.

In his first Indian Wells quarterfinal, the North Carolina-raised Paul will have to overcome a losing head-to-head record against the three-time Grand Slam finalist in Casper Ruud.

All of their matches, though, have been close.

“I'm definitely looking for a little revenge,” said Paul, yet to lose a set in three matches. “I feel like I'm playing some really good tennis right now, and I feel like the way that I'm playing should match up well against him.”

All will be decided Thursday.

Daniil Medvedev vs Holger Rune
Head-to-Head: Tied 1-1

Gutsy. That’s one way to describe how Holger Rune saved a match point in the fourth round against San Diego native Taylor Fritz. The Dane didn’t hold back on a second serve, sending it deep in the box to prompt an error. A group of his supporters at Stadium 1 lapped it up.

It was a big win for the 20-year-old, since Fritz claimed the title two years ago and had made three straight quarterfinals here. Rune also had lost his last four matches against Top 20 foes.

Medvedev, meanwhile, admits to struggling with the conditions in Indian Wells. 

“I really like the place, so I love to come here,” said the recent Australian Open finalist. “To play, sometimes it's trickier.”

He has, though, beaten two players who got the better of him in their last head-to-heads (Sebastian Korda and Grigor Dimitrov). 

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