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Alcaraz Takes On Draper, Medvedev-Zverev Rivalry Resumes In Indian Wells

Action-packed Tuesday features all fourth-round singles matches
March 14, 2023
Carlos Alcaraz holds a 6-2 record at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.
Peter Staples/ATP Tour
Carlos Alcaraz holds a 6-2 record at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells. By ATP Staff

All eight quarter-final spots are up for grabs on Tuesday in Indian Wells, where the 16 remaining players in the draw seek fourth-round success on an action-packed day at the 2023 BNP Paribas Open.

Top seed Carlos Alcaraz continues his campaign at the opening ATP Masters 1000 event of the year — and his bid to return to No. 1 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings — against big-hitting lefty Jack Draper. Daniil Medvedev seeks to extend his 16-match winning streak in a heavyweight clash against Alexander Zverev, while 11th seed Jannik Sinner faces a rejuvenated Stan Wawrinka.

With Top 10 stars Taylor Fritz, Andrey Rublev and Felix Auger-Aliassime also in fourth-round action, previews a mouth-watering Day 7 in the California desert.

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[1] Carlos Alcaraz (ESP) Vs. Jack Draper (GBR)

For the third tournament in a row, Alcaraz takes on a British lefty. The Spaniard went 1-1 against Cameron Norrie on clay in Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro in February, but it is the powerful Draper who stands in Alcaraz’s way on Tuesday as he aims to keep his Indian Wells title bid on track.

The pair met for the first time on Tour in October in Basel, where Alcaraz overcame a fast Draper start to earn a three-set victory. The 19-year-old is more than aware of the danger presented by the World No. 56 Draper, who is considered one of the most exciting young players on Tour and is yet to drop a set on his Indian Wells debut.

“I know he's really good player,” said Alcaraz of Draper after the Spaniard defeated Tallon Griekspoor in the third round on Monday for the 100th tour-level win of his career. “He's playing well. He has beaten great opponents like [Daniel] Evans and Andy [Murray]. I know that I’m going to have to play my best, give my 100% on court... It's going to be a really tough match and I’m going to enjoy [it].”

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Draper certainly possesses the weapons to hurt Alcaraz when the pair kicks off Tuesday's night session on Stadium 1. On Monday, the 21-year-old navigated windy desert conditions to defeat another former World No. 1 in Murray, and the Briton’s serve and forehand could be particularly crucial if he is to make enough dents in Alcaraz's robust defence to seal the biggest win of his career by Pepperstone ATP Ranking.

"I want to keep on trying to impose my game and use my weapons," said Draper, who reached his first Masters 1000 quarter-final in Montreal last year, after his third-round win. "It's not easy in these conditions… The wind was a bit swirly and obviously playing against Andy, he makes it incredibly awkward for you. It's something I'm looking to improve with my coach and it's definitely starting to pay off a little bit more."

Draper will likely have to find his best level again if he is to be the one to stop Alcaraz from winning his third Masters 1000 title this fortnight, however, and the Spaniard has double motivation to go all the way in Indian Wells. By claiming the trophy, Alcaraz would leapfrog Novak Djokovic to claim the No. 1 spot in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings for the first time since January.

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[5] Daniil Medvedev Vs. [12] Alexander Zverev (GER)

Medvedev and Zverev share a 6-6 ATP Head2Head series record. Remarkably, all 12 of their previous tour-level meetings have been played on hard courts.

While that trend will continue with Tuesday’s fourth-round clash on Stadium 1, it will be the first time the pair has faced off in the unique desert conditions of Indian Wells. Zverev sealed a straight-sets victory in the pair’s most recent tour-level clash at the 2021 Nitto ATP Finals, but Medvedev sees Tuesday’s encounter as a fundamentally different contest due to the comparatively slower courts in California.

“Every match against such a top player is a new start,” said Mevedev after defeating Ilya Ivashka on Sunday. “Every match he tries to adapt, I try to adapt. I remember he did very well in Turin to beat me… He was serving great… [But I think that] is a little bit less important here in Indian Wells. I'm sure we're going to have a lot of rallies. It's going to come down to who makes the best shot to try to put your opponent off balance, which is not easy to do here.”

Medvedev arrived in Indian Wells after lifting three ATP Tour trophies in three weeks (Rotterdam, Doha, Dubai) and the 27-year-old has so far beaten Brandon Nakashima and Ivashka in California to extend his winning streak to 16 tour-level matches. That red-hot run may make Tuesday’s clash feel like a daunting prospect for Zverev, but it will also serve as a useful barometer of his progress since he returned to Tour in January after missing seven months with a serious ankle injury.

“Daniil is probably the best, maybe the second-best player after Novak, right now,” said Zverev, after the five-time Masters 1000 champion held off Emil Ruusuvuori in the third round. “I’m pretty sure I’m not the favourite. Especially where I’m coming from and where’s he’s coming from. But we always have very interesting matches so hopefully it’s going to be another one.”

[11] Jannik Sinner Vs. Stan Wawrinka (SUI)

There is unlikely to be much holding back from the baseline during the final match of the day on Stadium 3 as Jannik Sinner and Stan Wawrinka meet at an ATP Masters 1000 event for the first time.

The 11th-seeded Sinner is into the fourth round for a third consecutive year in Indian Wells but is yet to advance to a quarter-final. He will be keen to build on his 14-3 start to the 2023 season, which includes a run to his seventh ATP Tour title in Montpellier, by treading new ground in ‘Tennis Paradise’.

After losing his first two tour-level matches against the former World No. 3 and 2017 Indian Wells finalist Wawrinka, Sinner clinched victories at last year’s Wimbledon and in Rotterdam in Feburary to level the pair’s ATP Head2Head series at 2-2. Wawrinka will be feeling confident after taking out seventh seed Holger Rune in a tense third-round clash in California, however, as he bids for his first Masters 1000 quarter-final appearance since the 2020 Rolex Paris Masters.

Also In Action…

A trio of Americans seek to ride home support to a quarter-final spot on Tuesday, and all three face opponents they have never faced before at Tour-level. The highest-ranked among them is World No. 5 and defending champion Taylor Fritz, who dropped just three games against Sebastian Baez in his third-round match. The 25-year-old meets World No. 84 Marton Fucsovics on Stadium 1.

Tommy Paul is chasing his first quarter-final appearance in Indian Wells, but the 17th seed has a tough assignment against eighth seed Felix Auger-Aliassime, while 14th seed Frances Tiafoe takes on Chilean qualifier Alejandro Tabilo.

The opening ATP action on Stadium 3 sees the power of sixth seed Andrey Rublev collide with the consistency of 10th seed and 2021 champion Norrie clash in an intriguing collision of gamestyles. On Stadium 4, Alejandro Davidovich Fokina looks to snap the inspired run of Cristian Garin, who has won all 10 sets he has played in Indian Wells this fortnight across two qualifying and three main-draw matches.

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