Round two men's singles action continues at the Indian Wells Masters today, with a further 16 matches on the evening schedule. Dan Weston is back to discuss the day ahead...
"Garin didn’t need to play a round one match, getting a bye, but the Chilean comes into this event in poor form, having lost six of his last ten matches since Wimbledon (including four defeats as favourite)."
Medvedev among those progressing on Saturday
Big names generally eased into round three yesterday, with the likes of Daniil Medvedev, Andrey Rublev and Denis Shapovalov progressing with minimal fuss, leaving the first half of the third round draw set. Some intriguing clashes tomorrow, from yesterday's winners, include Denis Shapovalov versus Aslan Karatsev, Cameron Norrie against Roberto Bautista-Agut, and Dan Evan's meeting with Diego Schwartzman.
Prior to these matches, however, is tonight's schedule which sees the final 16 matches in round two conclude. Having run the numbers on all the matches, there doesn't look like being an abundance of value, and considering this, our pick today looks like being the best of a bad bunch. Here are my thoughts on some of today's more intriguing clashes.
Eubanks facing knockout blow from Basilashvili
Christopher Eubanks 2.407/5 vs Nikoloz Basilashvili 1.664/6: The inconsistent Basilashvili is the pre-match favourite to get the job done here, although the market gives Eubanks more than a puncher's chance at just over even money.
However, my numbers suggest Basilashvili is the more superior hard courter - despite the previously mentioned inconsistency - and the Georgian has picked up a few decent underdog victories in the last few months. Eubanks qualified to be here but it would be a surprise if he continued his journey with a fourth consecutive victory at Indian Wells, with Basilashvili markedly the best opponent he's faced so far.
Murray facing Alcaraz Garfia test
Carlos Alcaraz Garfia 1.845/6 vs Andy Murray 2.166/5: When I saw the prices initially, I thought my model would make the Spanish prospect value but actually there's only a few ticks difference between model and market prices. A lot will depend on Alcaraz Garfia's fitness, having retired in the quarter-final of the US Open - his last appearance - while Murray continues to compete without really showing much evidence that he's going to get anywhere near back to his best.
The fascinating dynamic here is the 16 years age difference between the duo, with a former Grand Slam winner and world number one being a slight underdog against a young player who has shown he could easily have the potential to emulate those achievements.
Escobedo can get the better of Garin
Christian Garin 2.0421/20 vs Ernesto Escobedo 1.9420/21: Escobedo as the slight favourite is today's recommendation here. Around four years ago, Escobedo was 21 years old and on a nice upward curve, but his career stagnated.
He's still pretty inconsistent but has picked up some decent results on hard court lately, and his win over Holger Rune in round one was extremely dominant, winning 59% of points in the match.
Garin didn't need to play a round one match, getting a bye, but the Chilean comes into this event in poor form, having lost six of his last ten matches since Wimbledon (including four defeats as favourite). He's shown a pretty mediocre level on hard court historically, and I think Escobedo can bridge a considerable rankings gap to get the victory today.
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