The Indian Wells Masters moves into the third round stage today, with the winners from Saturday in action. Our tennis columnist, Dan Weston, returns to look for potential value...
"I think in these conditions Dimitrov can put more pressure on Opelka’s serve than vice versa, so Dimitrov is our pick today."
Murray edges Alcaraz Garfia in three-setter
With the exception of Felix Auger-Aliassime, who was defeated by Albert Ramos, most of yesterday's strong favourites got the job done and moved to the third round at Indian Wells, which begins today. This also includes Andy Murray, who needed to fight back to get the better of the young Spaniard, Carlos Alcaraz Garfia, in three sets.
Moving on to today, there's eight matches on the schedule from the top half of the draw, and these include top seed Daniil Medvedev who faces Filip Krajinovic, as well as Andrey Rublev, who meets Tommy Paul. Both are very strong, and justified, favourites to progress to the last 16 on Wednesday. Some of the matches worth discussing look like coming from the ones where there's not much to split the two players, so I want to analyse a few of those.
Schwartzman should get the better of Evans
Diego Schwartzman 1.664/6 vs Dan Evans 2.447/5: Again conditions look on the slow side at this venue and this should benefit the Argentine, Schwartzman, whose return-orientated style should derive assistance from the slow conditions.
On hard court in the last 12 months, Schwartzman has the better data also, giving up a marginal service edge but winning almost 6% more points on return, making him a pretty solid favourite according to my model. The market price looks a little generous on Schwartzman, but not hugely so.
Karatsev capable of testing Shapovalov
Denis Shapovalov 1.774/5 vs Aslan Karatsev 2.285/4: The market has Shapovalov as the favourite here although my numbers make it tough to split the duo. Karatsev actually has a higher win percentage, set win percentage, game win percentage and points won percentage on hard court in the last year, and a marked edge on return game. However, Shapovalov virtually cancels that out on serve.
Karatsev, who has had a breakthrough year this year, is still a little inconsistent but demolished Salvatore Caruso in his opener, dropping just two games and winning 63% of points in the match, and the Russian looks a little value here.
Opelka unlikely to enjoy slower conditions
Grigor Dimitrov 1.991/1 vs Reilly Opelka 2.001/1: The slower conditions are unlikely to suit the big-serving Opelka, although he didn't face a break point on serve against Taro Daniel in his opener. However, the Bulgarian, Dimitrov is a considerable upgrade on Daniel here, and Dimitrov also comes into the tournament having had a run to the semi-finals in San Diego recently, losing a tight three-setter to Casper Ruud.
Dimitrov also picked up an excellent win over the previously discussed Karatsev in the quarter-final there, and I'm surprised that the market is finding it tough to split the two players.
On hard court this year, Opelka breaks opponents less than 9% of the time, and I think there's a pretty solid chance that he will need tiebreaks to proceed here.
I think in these conditions Dimitrov can put more pressure on Opelka's serve than vice versa, so Dimitrov is our pick today.
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