The once 96-man ATP draw at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells has dwindled to four as we are set up for two blockbuster semifinal matches in the desert. No. 5 seed Daniil Medvedev puts his 18-match win streak on the line against American Frances Tiafoe. The nightcap will take place between NextGen stars Carlos Alcaraz and Jannik Sinner. We at LWOT have the preview and prediction for both semifinal matches. But who will advance?
ATP Indian Wells Semifinal Predictions
Daniil Medvedev vs Frances Tiafoe
Head-to-Head: Medvedev 4-1 Tiafoe
Daniil Medvedev is the most in-form player on Tour. The 27-year-old is on an 18-match win streak dating back to Feb. 13. Over that span, he has racked up wins over six top-15 players and 13 top-50 players. To say he has been playing fantastic tennis would be an understatement. The courts of Indian Wells have thrown a wrinkle into Medvedev’s run as he has been very vocal with his displeasure of the slow pace. Despite having dropped only one set this week, Medvedev is suspectable to a lack of concentration and negative energy on the grounds of Indian Wells. His semifinal opponent, Frances Tiafoe, will look to frustrate the Russian into these mental lapses.
Tiafoe is into his first career Masters 1000 semifinal and has yet to drop a set in four matches this week. He is up to a career-high ranking of world No. 14 but is still looking to break through on the biggest stages in the sport. The 25-year-old American plays with supreme confidence on his home soil and rallies the crowd behind him better than any player in the sport. If he wants to beat Medvedev, Tiafoe will have to bring a lot of variety to the court. Medvedev will win the baseline battle. Looks for Tiafoe to move forward early and often to keep the No. 5 seed off balance.
Medvedev has dominated this head-to-head, winning 10 of the last 11 sets they have played. Even though Medvedev has complained about the slow courts in Indian Wells, that has not slowed down his performance. I believe he gets by Tiafoe in a hard-fought three sets.
Prediction: Medvedev in 3
Carlos Alcaraz vs Jannik Sinner
Head-to-Head: Alcaraz 3-2 Sinner
Carlos Alcaraz and Jannik Sinner will square off for the first time since their five-hour, 15-minute battle in the quarterfinals of the 2022 US Open. That was the most entertaining match of the year, and I expect more of the same when the 19-year-old Spaniard and 21-year-old Italian square off in the desert. Alcaraz comes into this match having yet to drop a set in Indian Wells. He has spent just five hours and 43 minutes on-court. On the other hand, Sinner is coming off a three-set battle against reigning Indian Wells Champion Taylor Fritz. It was the third win over a top-five player in his young career.
Sinner is absolute nails from the baseline. In his match against Fritz, he showed rally tolerance off both wings and was able to redirect the American’s pace with a lot of success. Alcaraz will undoubtedly play with more variety than Sinner’s previous opponents and will look to bring the Italian to the net a fair amount. While Sinner is not the most clinical player at the net, it is certainly not a weakness.
Not much separates these two in their current forms. This is a budding rivalry tennis fans should look forward to for many years, and I believe we will see another classic showdown in this edition of their head-to-head. Despite Alcaraz looking unbeatable this week, I am backing Sinner in this one. What I saw from him in his quarterfinal win over Fritz gives me confidence he will be able to bully the Spaniard around the court with his accuracy and power.
Prediction: Sinner in 3
Main Photo Credit: Mike Frey-USA TODAY Sports