It’s time for the Sunshine Double! The biggest stars of world tennis head to the sunny California desert for the first leg–the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells. The men’s singles draw has been released, and there are mounds of mouthwatering 1st round matches to watch. We highlight a select few.
Best First Round Men’s Matches to Watch in Indian Wells
Dusan Lajovic vs Filip Krajinovic
With the top 32 seeds all receiving byes to the 2nd round, this match is quite the first-rounder. Krajinovic is the World No. 40, Lajovic is 44th. Both players have made the final of a Masters 1000 before. Throw in the fact that they’re both from Serbia and were recently teammates at the ATP Cup, and you’ve got yourself a fascinating clash. Familiar with each other’s games, the pair are likely to play out a dramatic match.
Fabio Fognini vs Pablo Andujar
Two veterans will look to turn back the clock with a run in Indian Wells. They stand in each other’s way in the 1st round. 36-year-old Andujar is the outsider. He’s ranked 69 in the world, but he’s in solid form, having reached the 3rd round of the Australian Open and the quarterfinals in Rio. Fognini is 34 years old and the World No. 36. The Italian is the highest-ranked player in the first round but he’ll face a stern test if he is to make it any further than that.
Marcos Giron vs Lorenzo Musetti
A first meeting between two players is always intriguing, and this match should be no exception. Giron is 28 years old, but only starting to reach his potential. He had a great February, recording wins over Taylor Fritz and Pablo Carreno Busta. 20-year-old Musetti, meanwhile, is in a catastrophic slump. He’s long been lauded as the future of Italian tennis, and he had a brilliant 2021, but things have gone awry this year. Could Indian Wells be a turning point?
Borna Coric vs Alejandro Davidovich Fokina
Coric returns to the court for the first time in a year as he looks to bounce back from a severe shoulder injury and subsequent surgery. He’s been ranked as high as number 12 in the world, and his journey back to the top starts in Indian Wells. Davidovich Fokina will try and spoil the party. He’s played well this season, putting up a huge fight against the likes of Stefanos Tsitsipas, Jannik Sinner, and Felix Auger-Aliassime. He doesn’t have the results to show it though. That could change at the BNP Paribas Open.
Nick Kyrgios vs Sebastian Baez
We’re starting to see a change in Kyrgios. The Aussie just won the doubles title at the Australian Open, and seems to finally be enjoying professional tennis. He enters Indian Wells as a wildcard, and faces youngster Baez in the first round. A textbook clay-courter, Baez showed us how dangerous he can be on hard courts with a semifinal run at the NextGen Finals in November. Whether he can overcome a motivated Kyrgios remains to be seen.
Adrian Mannarino vs Brandon Nakashima
These two aren’t particularly flashy players, but they make for an intriguing matchup. They met for the first time just a few weeks ago, in Delray Beach. In a dramatic battle, Mannarino prevailed 6-4 2-6 7-5. The French veteran is having a mini resurgence this year, having reached the last 16 at the Australian Open. Nakashima, much like Musetti, had a breakout 2021 but is struggling to find his footing in 2022. He’ll have the backing of the American crowd as he tries to get revenge on Mannarino.
Main Photo from Getty.