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Five Must-Watch Friday Matches at the BNP

Five Must-Watch Friday Matches at the BNP

WTA

Five Must-Watch Friday Matches Tiafoe, Sakkari, Medvedev, Pegula Headline Stacked Second Round Lineup

Maria Sakkari practices on stadium 1 at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden on Saturday March 4, 2023 in Indian Wells, California. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/BNP Paribas Open)

BY CHRIS ODDO

Original Story can be found here

03/09/2023

And then there were 64! Friday marks the beginning of second round action at the 2023 BNP Paribas Open, and popcorn matchups abound. We’ve rounded up our top five must-see matches of the day. Which one are you most looking forward to? 

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Who? [14] Frances Tiafoe vs. Marcos Giron
When? Last Match
Where? Stadium 2
Why? An all-American clash under the lights on Stadium 2? Bring an extra layer, a few good friends and cheer your heart out, as No.14-seeded Frances Tiafoe opens his 2023 BNP Paribas campaign against tried-and-true warrior Marcos Giron, the World No.73. On paper Tiafoe is the huge favorite, but don’t sleep on Giron, who toppled Tiafoe in Paris in 2021. The former UCLA Bruin is looking forward to the challenge, and eager to take a shot at the upset.

“It’s amazing,” Giron said, when asked to preview the matchup. “You have to look forward to these matches. Frances is a lot of fun, we’re friends and he’s got so much ability and potential but I also believe that I can win – I’m excited to be playing here in the desert and I’m looking forward to the challenge.”

Who? [7] Maria Sakkari vs. Shelby Rogers
When? 3:00pm PST
Where? Stadium 1
Why? Maria Sakkari came to life last year at Indian Wells, powering into her biggest career final, before falling to indestructible Iga Swiatek on championship Sunday. The conditions suit Sakkari, who owns a 5-1 record against the Top 40 at Indian Wells, but the matchup most certainly suits Shelby Rogers, who owns a 3-0 lifetime edge over the Greek.

41st-ranked Rogers warmed up with a first-round 6-4, 4-6, 6-1 takedown of compatriot Katie Volynets. The notable engineer of big stage upsets will aim for her eighth Top 10 win against the seventh-ranked Greek.

Who? [5] Daniil Medvedev vs. Brandon Nakashima
When? 6:00pm PST
Where? Stadium 1
Why? Daniil Medvedev rides into the Coachella Valley scorching hot, with a 14-match winning streak that saw him claim titles in Rotterdam, Doha and Dubai in his wake. But the wildly successful Medvedev has found success at Indian Wells fleeting over the years, compiling a 6-5 record with a round of 16 performance in 2021.

Enter the upstart, American Brandon Nakashima, the rising American who is seeking his first career Top 10 win. The San Diego native will get plenty of support from the home faithful – whether he cashes in on it is another story.

Who? [3] Jessica Pegula vs. Camila Giorgi
When? 8:00pm PST
Where? Stadium 1
Why? They call her Mrs. Consistency, but if JPEG suits you, that’s fine as well. Whatever you call Jessica Pegula, just don’t call her an underdog in the early rounds of a 1000-level event. The Buffalo native is the only American woman to ever reach five consecutive quarterfinals at WTA 1000 events, and she’ll look to make it six at Indian Wells.

Pegula will face hard-hitting Italian Camila Giorgi, a woman who has notched a Top 5 win at Indian Wells before – Giorgi took out five-time Slam champion Maria Sharapova en route to the round of 16 in 2014.

Who? [6] Andrey Rublev vs. Jiri Lehecka
When? Last Evening Match
Where? Stadium 3
Why? Tennis fans who want to say they saw Jiri Lehecka before he became a household name might want to head out to Stadium 3 on Friday evening to watch the Czech take on Andrey Rublev. Lehecka started his climb up the rankings last year in Rotterdam, when he reached the semifinals from qualifying. Earlier this year he continued his progress by reaching his maiden Slam quarter-final at the Australian Open.

Rublev, also a quarterfinalist at the Australian Open, recently played the final in Dubai weeks ago, falling to Daniil Medvedev. The World No.7 has split his two previous tilts with Lehecka, and lost their most recent meeting last month, in the quarterfinals at Doha.

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