Day 1 of the ATP Indian Wells Masters features 32 first round matches. We’ll see up-and-coming stars, former top players, and everyone in between. As always, we here at LWOT will share our thoughts on the matches. Who do you think will win in the desert on Thursday? We look at four matches in this article, and the day’s 12 other matches split between three other articles. One features J.J. Wolf vs Vasek Pospisil, the second headlines Frances Tiafoe vs Benoit Paire, and the third features Alejandro Davidovich Fokina vs Steve Johnson.
ATP Indian Wells Day 1 Predictions
Carlos Taberner vs Jaume Munar
This is a matchup of players who don’t love hard courts, though the often-slower conditions in Indian Wells will benefit both of them. Munar still hasn’t learned how to properly counterpunch, though he is often impressive from way behind the baseline. Taberner is trying to crack the Top 100, and this is a great opportunity against an opponent who hasn’t even played ten hard court matches this year.
Prediction: Taberner in 3
Tommy Paul vs Feliciano Lopez
Lopez is at the tail end of his career, which has been so long that he owns the record for most losses in tour history. His serve is still effective, though, and he can beat most players. Unfortunately, though, Tommy Paul has the return and baseline game to make the older Spaniard uncomfortable, which should make this match relatively easy.
Prediction: Paul in 2
Zachary Svajda vs Salvatore Caruso
Almost no one internationally had heard of Svajda before last month. The 18-year-old chose to skip college tennis and go pro, even though he was ranked outside the Top 1000. He earned a wild card into the US Open by winning the under-18 tournament in Kalamazoo, and he reached the second round. The California native has received other wild cards since then, and I fully expect him to make the most of this opportunity, especially against a player who doesn’t like hard courts.
Prediction: Svajda in 2
Kei Nishikori vs Joao Sousa
Injuries have completely derailed Kei Nishikori’s career. The 2014 US Open finalist has struggled to maintain a good ranking, let alone an elite one, in recent years. He came back with a revamped serve that was supposed to prevent injuries recently. Is it working? Maybe. He’s playing well more often now than he used to, though he’s still far from his former self. Still, on this court against Sousa, the Japanese man shouldn’t struggle much.
Prediction: Nishikori in 2
Main Photo from Getty.