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ATP Indian Wells Quarterfinal Odds, Analysis: Taylor Fritz on Upset Alert in Desert (March 18)

ATP Indian Wells Quarterfinal Odds, Analysis: Taylor Fritz on Upset Alert in Desert (March 18) article feature image
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Icon Sportswire/Getty. Pictured: Miomir Kecmanovic hits a forehand at the Indian Wells Masters.

The second quarterfinal day of the men’s draw has arrived in Indian Wells, as hometown favorite Taylor Fritz will take on Miomir Kecmanovic while Andrey Rublev will take on Grigor Dimitrov for semifinal positions.

Kecmanovic and Fritz secured three-set victories on Wednesday to set up the meeting, while Rublev and Dimitrov each progressed in straight sets.

The winners of these quarterfinals will meet in the next round while Rafa Nadal and Carlos Alcaraz will meet in the other semifinal.

Here’s how I’m evaluating the two Friday afternoon matches.

Match times are subject to change. Odds as of Wednesday night. Read here for tips on viewing tennis matches.

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Andrey Rublev (-310) vs. Grigor Dimitrov (+240)

3 p.m. ET

The first matchup of day will see the red-hot Rublev take on Dimitrov. While each player has gotten to the quarterfinal without dropping a set in three matches, they faced much different opponents to reach this point.

World number seven Rublev has been tested primarily off the ground with opponents such as Dominik Koepfer, Frances Tiafoe and Hubert Hurkacz, while Dimitrov battled through massive servers in Jordan Thompson, Alexander Bublik and John Isner.

Dimitrov has been able to limit his opponents’ opportunities on return throughout the week, allowing just two break points and conceding one. The Bulgarian has served very well, making over 60% of his first serves throughout the tournament and winning over 83% of those points in each match.

He’s also limited opponents to below 50% of their second serve points in each match, while Dimitrov has been efficient defending his second. That included one of the biggest servers on Tour in John Isner, who only won 44% of his second serve points.

Rublev has had similar results in his service games, conceding only 11 break points and losing four of them. He’s also dominated behind his first serve and he’s generated 22 break opportunities of his own. Rublev has won 38% of those chances, about 5% below his 2021 average.

Dimitrov and Rublev have met four times before but they haven’t squared off since 2019. The duo split the matches 2-2 and all of them came on hard courts, but these are two players that are far different than their 2019 versions.

If this matchup was on a surface with any semblance of pace I’d side with Rublev, but on these incredibly slow Indian Wells courts, Dimitrov has an edge. He’s had his most success on slow hard courts over the past two years, reaching a semifinal here last year and reaching the Acapulco semifinal in 2019 as well.

Dimitrov has been relentless on serve and he’s been troubling big servers on return as well, so 3.5 games is a generous number to be giving him, particularly considering these aren’t the best conditions for a player in Rublev who prefers speedy courts. Though he’s had some success on slower courts, primarily in Rotterdam, it’s not ideal for Rublev.

Look for Dimitrov to contend here in conditions that are nearly perfect for him.

Pick: Grigor Dimitrov +3.5 Games (+100 via DraftKings)

Taylor Fritz (-166) vs. Grigor Dimitrov (+140)

4:20 p.m. ET

The San Diego native Fritz has excelled in his home town Masters tournament, reaching the semifinal here last year and pushing to match that result in 2022.

He’s had his struggles en route to the QF, beating Jaume Munar and Alex de Minaur in third set tiebreaks, and he even came back from a set down against the Aussie.

Kecmanovic has gotten through similarly challenging matches en route to this quarterfinal, getting past a high-level Liam Broady in three sets, Marin Cilic in three sets, Botic van de Zandschulp in straight sets and Matteo Berrettini in three.

The Serbian has had a stellar start to the season that has included three quarterfinals and a fourth round appearance at the Australian open, and Kecmanovic really appears to have found his level in the new season. He’s on pace for career highs in serve hold rate on hard courts (85%), break rate on hard courts (26%), and he generally appears to be much more comfortable on court than he was in 2021, when errors plagued his game.

Fritz has been solid overall on the year, but he’s struggled with opponents that have forced him to play extra balls, particularly in slower conditions. He fell to Marcos Giron in Dallas and Yoshihito Nishioka in Acapulco, largely because the duo maintained rally tolerance that forced errors out of Fritz.

He’s had similar problems with Munar and de Minaur, but Fritz has been clutch in big moments to put himself in this position.

Kecmanovic is another player that has the rally tolerance to push Fritz, and the American is not going to have an easy time dealing with the major forehand that Kecmanovic possesses. Even more encouraging for Kecmanovic is that serving at 55% didn’t stop him from getting past Berrettini, meaning he simply dominated off of the ground.

If Fritz runs into periods again where he becomes loose and a bit impatient, Kecmanovic is more than capable of taking advantage, even though his hard court Elo Rating is over 200 points lower than his opponent.

At a solid plus-money price, there’s serious value on Kecmanovic to pull the upset in a match where he could be a favorite.

Pick: Kecmanovic ML (+140 via FanDuel)

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