A new exciting day of tennis awaits at ATP Indian Wells as the bottom half of the men’s singles draw plays out the second round with stars entering the tournament, such as third seed Alexander Zverev facing young American Jenson Brooksby. As always, we here at LWOT will predict every match, including Carlos Alcaraz vs Andy Murray, Matteo Berrettini vs Alejandro Tabilo, and Pedro Martinez vs Stefanos Tsitsipas. Who will live to fight another day in the Californian desert?
ATP Indian Wells Day 4 Predictions
Gael Monfils vs Gianluca Mager
Head-to-head: Monfils 1-0 Mager
14th seed Gael Monfils has done a great job at recovering from his horrid first half of the season when he could barely win a match. Since the Olympics, the 35-year-old has won at least two matches at all five tournaments he’s played, including a final in Sofia. This should be the case again for Monfils as he has reached the quarterfinals at Indian Wells twice and has a nice opening draw against Gianluca Mager, who he defeated last week.
Mager has had an okay season for his level, keeping himself well inside the Top 100 with four ATP 250 quarterfinals and a Challenger title. The Italian pulled off a surprising win over Marton Fucsovics, coming back after losing the first set 6-1 to complete a 1-6 6-3 6-2 win that very few would have expected. Mager’s win over Fucsovics was a surprise but an upset over Monfils would be a downright shock, so I expect the Frenchman to pull through here.
Predictions: Monfils in 2
Fabio Fognini vs Jan-Lennard Struff
Head-to-head: Fognini 2-1 Struff
After a promising start to the year with a fourth-round run at the Australian Open, Fognini’s post-Olympics hard-court season has been poor, going 2-4 on US hard courts. Indian Wells has not been a lucky place for the Italian advancing past the second round only twice here in 11 attempts. His opponent, Jan-Lennard Struff, enjoyed a strong clay season with runs to the final in Munich and the fourth round at Roland Garros. His hard-court season has been a struggle though, going 2-7 on the surface since July, his only wins coming against Thiago Monteiro and Gianluca Mager. Struff and Fognini have faced each other three times with the Italian winning two of their meetings including their most recent one in Toronto earlier this year. Fognini won 6-7 6-2 6-4 and as Struff has continued to struggle since, we can expect the 34-year-old to win again.
Predictions: Fognini in 3
Felix Auger-Aliassime vs Albert Ramos-Vinolas
Head-to-head: Auger-Aliassime 2-0 Ramos-Vinolas
Auger-Aliassime has had another strong season of progress. He is 33-20 on the year so far with a semifinal run at the US Open and a Wimbledon quarterfinal, though the young Canadian is still waiting for his first title. It would be surprising if Auger-Aliassime finally broke his eight-match losing streak in Tour-level finals here, but it certainly isn’t impossible for the seventh seed. The 21-year-old will open in the second round against Albert Ramos-Vinolas.
The 33-year-old lefty actually has a surprisingly good record in the early rounds of Indian Wells, reaching the third round five times out of his seven appearances. The Spaniard had his best results this year on clay, as expected, winning the title in Estoril over Cameron Norrie in the final and losing to Juan Manuel Cerundolo in the final of Cordoba. He began the tournament with a bang, allowing the young prospect Lorenzo Musetti only three games in the first round. Despite the impressive record and first-round win from Ramos-Vinolas, Auger-Aliassime should outplay the Spaniard if he brings his average game at the least, as he did in their previous two meetings.
Predictions: Auger-Aliassime in 2
Jenson Brooksby vs Alexander Zverev
Head-to-head: first meeting
Third seed Alexander Zverev gets a blockbuster match to start against American rising star Jenson Brooksby. Zverev has had a very good season, going 44-12 on the year while winning Olympic gold, Cincinnati, Madrid, and Acapulco. In his last tournament, the German fell to Novak Djokovic in a five-set battle in the US Open semifinals, ending his 16-match win streak. Zverev has been one of the best players on tour this season, already guaranteeing a spot at the ATP Finals in Turin, but he hasn’t advanced past the third round at Indian Wells since 2016. The 24-year-old took losses to Jan-Lennard Struff and Joao Sousa the last two times he has played here, so losing to a player like Brooksby is not outside of the realm of possibility.
20-year-old Jenson Brooksby has had a breakout year, winning three Challengers, reaching a final at the 250 in Newport and semifinals at the 500 in Washington, as well as the US Open fourth round. The American beat qualifier Cem Ilkel in straight sets to open and, though it would be a massive upset, I believe he will win again against Zverev.
Predictions: Brooksby in 3
Main Photo from Getty.