It is Day 2 of the 2023 ATP BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, with a host of first-round matches being concluded. The much-anticipated return of Andy Murray takes center stage when the former finalist plays Tomas Martin Etcheverry. As always here at LWOT, we also predict the rest of the day’s matches, split between three articles. One features Stan Wawrinka vs Aleksandar Vukic, the second highlights Dominic Thiem vs Adrian Mannarino, and the third features Ben Shelton vs Fabio Fognini. Who do you think will come out on top?
ATP Indian Wells Day 2 Predictions
Alexei Popyrin vs Zhizhen Zhang
Head-to-head: Popyrin 2-0 Zhang
Popyrin enters the main draw as a lucky loser after losing to Taro Daniel on Tuesday. Zhang, meanwhile, defeated compatriot Shang Juncheng in a three-hour qualifying match. Zhang cannot be underestimated as his rally-tolerance is excellent with the conditions here giving him time to cover every inch of the court. However, Popyrin is steadily finding his best tennis after underperforming in 2022. He has the power to hit through any conditions with his serve at the cornerstone of everything he does. Expect the Aussie to have the edge.
Prediction: Popyrin in 3
Pedro Martinez vs Marc-Andrea Huesler
Head-to-head: Martinez 1-0 Huesler
Pedro Martinez is woefully out of form. And even a return to South America did not yield the required set of wins needed to keep his ranking afloat in the Top 100. He failed to defend his Santiago crown, losing at the first hurdle to Yannick Hanfmann, and now sits at #120 in the rankings. A return to the Challenger Tour might be the only choice at this point. With Martinez’s form dipping badly, Huesler might look to make matters worse for the Spaniard. This should be the easiest call of the day in Indian Wells.
Prediction: Huesler in 2
Mikael Ymer vs Rinky Hijikata
Head-to-head: first meeting
Rinky Hijikata is taking a leaf from the Nick Kyrgios playbook. His doubles triumph at the Australian Open could very well be a springboard to a successful singles career on the main tour. He has since captured his second ATP Challenger title in Burnie without dropping a set. It took him a while to find his footing on American soil after going 0-3 before Indian Wells. However, a strong qualifying run on Monday and Tuesday has resuscitated his confidence. Ymer is generally the more experienced of the two, having seen a lot more action on the ATP Tour. But that doesn’t guarantee this will be a stroll in the park. Expect the Swede to come through in a nailbiter.
Prediction: Ymer in 3
Andy Murray vs Tomas Martin Etcheverry
Head-to-head: first meeting
There are few better guarantees of entertainment in tennis right now than an Andy Murray match. Murray’s matches this year have been intoxicating, dramatic, and high in quality. On paper, he should win his opener at the desert fairly easily. But Etcheverry is coming off a great run in Santiago where he was one tiebreak away from winning his first ATP title. The Argentine fared well on the red clay in February and sits at a career-high #61. And the slow bounce in Indian Wells might help his cause here. Expect another eventful afternoon with the former finalist coming out on top.
Prediction: Murray in 3
Main Photo Mike Frey USAToday Sports