Young Stars, Federer In Wednesday Indian Wells Action
Borna Coric deems it “maybe the best tennis of my life”, breezing past the in-form Roberto Bautista Agut to reach the fourth round of the BNP Paribas Open. Now, the gifted 21-year-old Croatian has the chance to back it up against #NextGenATP American Taylor Fritz on a blockbuster, action-packed Wednesday, with all fourth-round clashes due to take place.
A resurgent Coric, back up to No. 49 in the ATP Rankings, has dropped fewer games than any player in the top half of the draw in the desert. Fritz, by contrast, has had to rally his home crowd to get him across the line against #NextGenATP stablemates, Reilly Opelka and Andrey Rublev, before his gripping third-set tie-break triumph over experienced Spaniard Fernando Verdasco.
Coric, a 2017 #NextGenATP Finals qualifier, leads the FedEx ATP Head2Head series over his 20-year-old opponent 1-0 after a straight-sets win in the opening round at Roland Garros in 2016. Much has changed since with a maiden Indian Wells quarter-final appearance on the line.
Five-time champion Roger Federer resumes his title defence against unseeded Frenchman Jeremy Chardy on Wednesday. The top seed’s only defeat to the 31-year-old came at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event in Rome on clay nearly four years ago. He leads the FedEx ATP Head2Head ledger 3-1.
Should Federer win two more rounds he will hold on to No. 1 in the ATP Rankings. Four more match wins would see him pull clear of Novak Djokovic with an unprecedented sixth BNP Paribas Open title. Federer has not dropped a set in his previous two matches, while Chardy has gone the distance to get past seeds Fabio Fognini and Adrian Mannarino.
Last year’s inaugural #NextGenATP Finals champion Hyeon Chung is on the cusp of his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 quarter-final berth. After a resounding straight-sets upset of No. 12 seed Tomas Berdych in the previous round, the 21-year-old South Korean squares off against last year’s Indian Wells quarter-finalist Pablo Cuevas. The 30th-seeded Uruguayan advanced after No. 5 seed Dominic Thiem retired hurt while trailing a break in the deciding set of their third-round encounter. Chung and Cuevas have never met.
On the heels of his biggest title in five years in Acapulco – in which he beat three straight Top 10 opponents (Thiem, A. Zverev and Andersson) – Juan Martin del Potro faces countryman and occasional doubles partner Leonardo Mayer for a place in the quarter-finals. The sixth-seeded Argentine beat Mayer in the 2012 US Open third round.
It is the first time since 2013 Del Potro has reached the fourth round in Indian Wells. That year he finished runner-up to Rafael Nadal. In his previous match, the 29-year-old won his fifth straight match against David Ferrer, while Mayer beat Novak Djokovic’s conqueror Taro Daniel.
After Federer (No. 1) and Del Potro (No. 6), Kevin Anderson is only the third of the Top 8 seeds to survive the third round. The South African seventh seed meets Spanish 11th seed Pablo Carreno Busta in a rematch of their 2017 US Open semi-final, which Anderson won.
Last year, Carreno Busta reached his first Masters 1000 semi-final in Indian Wells, where he fell to Stan Wawrinka. Twice before (2013, 2014) Anderson has reached the BNP Paribas Open quarter-finals.