Such an exciting day to get the top men’s players back out into the desert and playing this famous tournament–the ATP Indian Wells Masters. Day 1 doesn’t see the biggest of the stars out but a series of highly competitive matches lies in-store and there’ll be action everywhere on the outer courts.
As a result of this, the staff at LWOT previews the matches on Day 1 across a series of articles. We look at four matches in this article, and the day’s 12 other matches split between three other articles. One features Frances Tiafoe vs Benoit Paire, the second headlines Kei Nishikori vs Joao Sousa, and the third features Alejandro Davidovich Fokina vs Steve Johnson.
ATP Indian Wells Day 1 Predictions
Sam Querrey vs Daniel Altmaier
Head-to-head: Querrey 1-0 Altmaier
The German is a funny character to assess. He has played 61 matches on record in the last year, 54 of which were on clay. This is a player who knows his specialism and wants to earn as many points on the dirt as possible. The highest-ranked player that Altmaier has ever beaten on hard court was Martin Klizan ranked #140 in Bangkok in 2020.
Querrey is having a poor year and is beginning to look like the end of his career is approaching. He is still ranked inside the Top 100, though, so this would be Altmaier’s biggest scalp on this surface. The American hasn’t won since the grass season which means that is six losses in a row. He did win their previous meeting, albeit in 2017, and really if Querrey has any ambition left in the game he should be winning this type of match. With the motivation of a home crowd, I think he will produce enough, probably in at least one tiebreak, to win.
Prediction: Querrey in 3
Soonwoo Kwon vs Guido Pella
Head-to-head: Kwon 0-2 Pella
Pella beat Kwon twice in 2019 on hard courts but in two close matches. With the Kwon game in much better order now coming off the back of an impressive ATP250 title win in Nur-Sultan that may be enough to tip the match in the South Korean’s direction.
However, Kwon also has the unwanted record of not having won any of his previous four Masters series matches so hasn’t yet proved that he’s capable at the top level. The Argentine isn’t really the top level at the moment and hasn’t played a tour-level match since the US Open, so I still expect Kwon to emerge victorious here as his all-around sharpness should be too much for the Argentine.
Prediction: Kwon in 2
Tennys Sandgren vs Thiago Monteiro
Head-to-head: Sandgren 0-1 Monteiro
Lots of question marks surrounding these players coming into this match. Monteiro is traditionally a player who doesn’t enjoy the faster courts, whereas Sandgren loves some pace and bounce in the court. However, Sandgren hasn’t beaten a top 100 player since Cincinnati and Monteiro won a Challenger tournament two weeks ago, albeit on clay again. I like Monteiro for this match though, I think he has shown improvement on hard courts this year in general and has the tenacity and game to take Sandgren down in this poor form.
Prediction: Monteiro in 2
Vasek Pospisil vs J.J. Wolf
Head-to-head: First Meeting
Another match in this selection between two out-of-form players. Each of them is running at a less than 30% win rate on hard courts over the last year. It was Wolf who found a little bit of form last time out though indoors at the Colombus Challenger reaching the semifinals.
The owner of the best mullet in tennis has the stronger serve record recently, which is quite surprising given the Canadian’s game is built on his serve. This makes me lean towards Wolf in this matchup, especially when you consider the difficulty Pospisil has in breaking his opponents.
Prediction: Wolf in 2
Main Photo from Getty.