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Ernesto Escobedo celebrates following his opening round win over fellow American Frances Tiafoe 7-5, 6-3 at Indian Wells.

Escobedo Relishing Indian Wells Moment

Californian exuberant following first-round win at BNP Paribas Open

Ernesto Escobedo accomplished a lot of "firsts" on Friday. The 21-year-old won his maiden match at the main-draw level in Indian Wells in his initial attempt. The BNP Paribas Open also happens to be first on Escobedo's list of event favourites, and for good reason.

"I've been coming here since I was eight years old; a young kid with curly hair and with so many dreams, just walking the grounds with a visor," Escobedo said. "One of the first practices I watched was the Bryan brothers. I have a picture with Mike. I have always dreamed about playing here, playing a match on centre court."

Escobedo, a wild card at the BNP Paribas Open, lived those childhood dreams by emerging victorious in his first round contest against #NextGenATP star Frances Tiafoe 7-5, 6-3 to set up a Round of 64 encounter against 28th seed Feliciano Lopez.

Escobedo had beaten Tiafoe in both of their previous FedEx ATP Head2Head meetings on the ATP Challenger Tour, and while he's inspired by Tiafoe's recent success and proud to be a part of the next wave of young American hopefuls, the Californian is fully focused on his own trajectory and immediate goals.

"Tiafoe is a great player. He's going to have an amazing career," Escobedo said. "To see him win [the Delray Beach Open], that's awesome for him and I was really happy for him. I feel like the way that I'm going now, I could be there soon.

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"There are so many guys under 21 in the Top 100, but I'm not worried about that. I'm just focused on myself. This is just a journey about getting there. I feel like that is what's important to me."

Even more important to Escobedo is that Friday's win came so close to home. Now, he feels, is the time to give back to those closest to him. Escobedo was born in Los Angeles and currently resides in West Covina, Calif., just over a two-hour drive from Indian Wells. His father, also named Ernesto, delivered packages for UPS, while his mother, Cristina, was a homemaker and cared for Ernesto and his two sisters, Estephania and Evanka.

Escobedo, nicknamed Neto, became emotional when talking about his family and their support. While he doesn't describe his upbringing as impoverished, he acknowledges the sacrifices that were made and the hard work that his family put into seeing him make it at the professional level.

"My family sacrificed so much for me, especially my dad," Escobedo said. "He would take off time from work just to be with me on the court and I'm really grateful for that. By playing here, I feel like I'm doing him a favour because he gave me so much and it's time for me to pay him back.

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"I never felt like the family was poor; I felt like we had everything. Money doesn't matter to me. If we have $1 or a million, I'm still going to have a smile on my face, and my dad will as well. My dad just wanted to give my sisters and me the best opportunity possible."

If Escobedo is to keep his dream alive, he'll need to get past Lopez in the next round on Sunday. Escobedo expects a difficult challenge but is confident about his chances.

"I played him once; he's a lefty," Escobedo said. "It's going to be a tough match but I'm looking forward to it."