Push will most definitely come to shove on Saturday, with the top men’s seeds joining the second-round action in earnest, including newly-minted No. 1 Daniil Medvedev, three-time titlist Rafael Nadal, and defending champion Cameron Norrie. We take a deep-dive into 10 not-to-be-missed blockbusters:
1 | Daniil Medvedev vs. Tomas Machac (CZE)
Stadium 1, 11 a.m.
Competing for the first time as the World No. 1, Daniil Medvedev will kick off his 2022 BNP Paribas Open campaign against 21-year-old Czech baseliner Tomas Machac. The top seed is looking to better his career-best fourth-round showing (2021) in Indian Wells. “It’s a lot of pressure, but at the same time a lot of motivation,” said the 26-year-old of his new status.
2 | Rafael Nadal (ESP) vs. Sebastian Korda (USA)
Stadium 1, second day session match
All-time Slam king Rafael Nadal prepped for the ’22 BNP Paribas Open with a pre-tournament hitting session with recent U.S. Davis Cup debutant Sebastian Korda in Stadium 1. Now he finds himself matched up against the 21-year-old son of 1998 Australian Open champ Petr in Round 2. The Mallorcan, a three-time champion (2007, 2009, 2013) is off to the best start of his career at 15-0, and is seeking a record-tying 37th ATP Masters 1000 title. He rallied past Daniil Medvedev for a record-setting 21st major championship at the Australian Open in January, and also beat Medvedev in Acapulco en route to his third title of the year – all on hard courts.
3 | Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE) vs. Jack Sock (USA)
Stadium 1, not before 6 p.m.
Last year, Stefanos Tsitsipas captured his first ATP Masters 1000 title in Monte Carlo, broke through to his first major final at Roland Garros, and climbed to a career-high ranking of No. 3. The Greek star also reached the final four in Indian Wells for the first time. He’ll face an early test in resurgent American Jack Sock, a semifinalist at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in 2017 (l. to Roger Federer, 6-1, 7-6(4).
4 | Carlos Alcaraz (ESP) vs. Mackenzie McDonald (USA)
Stadium 3, 11 a.m.
Is there a more exciting young up-and-comer on the ATP horizon than Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz? The 18-year-old recently claimed the Rio de Janeiro title, becoming the youngest ATP 500 champ since the category was created in 2009, and the youngest player to break into the Top 20 since Andrei Medvedev in 1993. His opener will come against former UCLA standout Mackenzie McDonald, the NCAA singles titlist in 2016.
5 | Cameron Norrie (GBR) vs. Pedro Martinez (ESP)
Stadium 5, third day session match
Cameron Norrie finds himself in new territory in 2022, defending the biggest title of his career in the Southern California desert. “It’s important for me to keep the expectations pretty reasonable. I don’t want to think I’m going to come out and play unreal and play to the same level I did six months ago,” said Norrie, who earlier this year won Delray Beach and was a finalist in Acapulco (l. to Rafael Nadal, 6-4, 6-4). “Other players know I won the title here last year. They’re going to be out to get me. It’s going to be very difficult. But it’s exactly where I want to be, having to defend a title like this.”
6 | Casper Ruud (NOR) vs. Christopher Eubanks (USA)
Stadium 3, third day session match
Two-time ACC Player of the Year (Georgia Tech) Christopher Eubanks is enjoying one of the best weeks of his career, having upended Feliciano Lopez and Joao Sousa to reach the main draw, where he turned back another former collegian, onetime UCLA Bruin Maxime Cressy. The American will next face one of the tour’s most consistent performers in Norway’s Casper Ruud, who notched a personal best 57 wins and five titles in 2021 to finish at a career-high No. 8.
7 | Nick Kyrgios (AUS) vs. Federico Delbonis (ARG)
Stadium 2, second evening session match
Though he has played just three singles matches this year, Nick Kyrgios is striking the ball with confidence in the desert. On Thursday, the wildcard recipient scored an impressive 6-4, 6-0 opening-round win over newcomer Sebastian Baez of Argentina. Also in the doubles draw with Australian Open champion sidekick Thanasi Kokkinakis, the Aussie looks rejuvenated on the court, perhaps buoyed by the fact that he reached the quarterfinals on these same courts in 2017, defeating Alexander Zverev and Novak Djokovic along the way. His only previous encounter with Argentine Federico Delbonis came back in 2015, a tight 7-6(2), 3-6, 6-3, 6-7(5), 6-3 triumph in the opening round of the Australian Open.
8 | Jannik Sinner (ITA) vs. Laslo Djere (SRB)
Stadium 4, not before 5 p.m.
Last year, Jannik Sinner posted a personal best 49 match wins and became the first teenager (19) to win an ATP 500-level tournament in Washington. The world No. 10 is winless in two previous encounters with his next opponent, 52nd-ranked Laslo Djere, most recently a 6-4, 6-4 fourth-round defeat in Kitzbuhel in 2020.
9 | Filip Krajinovic (SRB) vs. Gael Monfils (FRA)
Stadium 4, second evening session match
Frenchman Gael Monfils, 35, got off to a strong start in 2022, opening the season with his 11th career title in Adelaide. A quarterfinalist at the Australian Open, he’s a perfect 3-0 against second-round foe Filip Krajinovic of Serbia.
10 | Reilly Opelka (USA) vs. Lorenzo Musetti (ITA)
Stadium 3, second day session match
Top-ranked American Reilly Opelka is growing more comfortable on the sport’s biggest stages by the day. Last year, he defeated then-No. 3-ranked Stefanos Tsitsipas to reach his first ATP Masters 100 final in Toronto. He reached the third round here last year, but to return he’ll first have to get past gifted Italian Lorenzo Musetti, 20, who came into the events ranked a career-high No. 56. The 7-footer twice defeated Musetti last year, at the Rome Masters and the US Open.