ATP TENNIS: The Indian Wells Masters is underway under the Californian sunshine and throws up some spellbinding fixtures as we edge closer to the final.
Daniel Evans v Jack Draper
Two Brits on the opposite end of the spectrum meet in what could be an exciting passing of the baton from a veteran to the new kid on the block.
Jack Draper has well and truly staked the claim as the future of British men’s tennis and at the age of 21, having already challenged some of the world’ top players, looks to be the successor to Cameron Norrie and Andy Murray and will likely go on to be Great Britain’s number one in the years to come.
His opponent in this match is fellow Brit Daniel Evans who is on the opposite end of the spectrum at 32. He has had a great career and though he has only won one title since he began playing professional tennis in 2006, is currently ranked the 29th in the world and is having one of the best years of his career so far.
While these players are certainly known to each other off the court, they will no doubt forget any friendship as the battle for the chance to progress in one of tennis’ most prestigious non-Grand Slam event.
Jack Draper looks to be the favourite going into the match with his youth and recent good form, though Evans will likely be carrying confidence after his impressive run at the Australian Open earlier this year.
Both are in relatively good winning form, with Evans winning his first two matches at the Australian Open and Draper having recently beaten top players in Tommy Paul and Karen Khachanov. On paper they look to be well matched, and the youthful energy of Draper will likely be matched by the experience of Evans.
We are backing the younger Draper to have too much in the way of aggression stamina and to continue his growing momentum by qualifying for the last 32. This will be an exciting one to watch.
Andy Murray v Pablo Carreno-Busta
Andy Murray has unexpectedly returned to tennis after a long injury in some of the best form for many a year despite being written off by many tennis fans years ago. He performed much better than expected at the Australian Open, reaching the third round after two five setters and he has continued his impressive run since reminding us of his status as one of the best tennis players in the world.
Reaching the final of the Doha Open two weeks ago, Murray succumbed to the younger Daniil Medvedev but put in a great performance throughout the tournament and could quite easily have taken the win in the final on another day, as the ball just didn’t seem to drop for him.
In short, he is in great form and could go all the away in a second consecutive tournament if he keeps up his momentum.
Standing in his way is Pablo Carreno-Busta who is the current world number 17 and at age 31, is a number of years younger than Murray and could use this to his advantage. However, he has had nowhere near the career of Murray winning just seven to Murrays 46 titles and his recent form doesn’t paint much of a better picture. Winning one of his last six matches, Carreno looks to be in a rut at the moment and coming up against Murray who is quite the opposite will be a real challenge for the Spaniard.
Carreno has played well in 2023 but the last three weeks tell all. Murray is our favourite here, but we don’t expect him to take the win easily. Expect it to go the distance with all three sets and a tiebreaker in either of the first two. Murray to emerge from another brutal fight by the skin of his teeth.