BNP Paribas Open Day 3 Tennis Picks: Live Underdogs Headline Top Plays at Indian Wells (Oct. 8)
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images. Pictured: Dan Evans.
The BNP Paribas Open moves into the second round on Saturday, and with it comes a number of fascinating stylistic matchups.
Sixteen matches will be played for the men’s side, offering a nonstop day of tennis in the Golden State.
Here’s how I’ll be betting day 3 of the action.
Match times are subject to change.
Kei Nishikori (-172) vs. Dan Evans (+140)
2 p.m. ET
After struggling with back issues, Nishikori was able to get through a first-round match with Joao Sousa. Though the Japanese standout wouldn’t be happy with the performance under normal circumstances, he noted after the match he finally felt comfortable with his play after nagging back issues.
If there’s one player on the ATP Tour that will make you uncomfortable with your play it’s Dan Evans. The Brit has no issue displaying patience, using any possible shot to mix things up and frustrate his opponent. Nishikori is familiar with this, and he’s been able to deal with Evans well in the past by winning three of four prior matchups.
However, Evans has significantly improved his game since the pair’s last meeting in pre-COVID times, reaching a career-high ranking of 22 and winning his first ATP title in the process.
While Evans suffered a dip in form after Wimbledon — losing four of his five next matches — he has since found a steady level since then. Evans won three tough outings at the US Open before beating Kevin Anderson in San Diego and battling well with an in-form Cam Norrie.
Expect the British No. 1 to contend against Nishikori.
Pick: Dan Evans (+140) via FanDuel
Lloyd Harris (-210) vs. Alejandro Davidovich Fokina (+172)
9 p.m. ET
For Davidovich Fokina, getting through his first round in the way he did will serve as a massive boost to his confidence. The Spaniard fell behind early before taking the second set and getting up a break in the third. He promptly gave the break back and trailed *4-5 30-30, but locked in from that point on and dominated the next 2.5 games against Steve Johnson.
Davidovich Fokina can struggle with tightness in his play at times, so getting over that hump should put him in a really good mental position. He has all the talent, but matching that with mental fortitude is even more important. This could be the chance for Davidovich Fokina to do that against a quality opponent in Harris.
The South African is coming off of an interesting string of results. He had the tournament of his life in New York — making the quarterfinals of the US Open — but followed that with a sloppy match against Chris Eubanks and loss to Diego Schwartzman in San Diego.
It’s tough to know which version of Harris will be showing up in Indian Wells, but if it’s the latter, he’s in serious trouble. The conditions for a big-server like Harris are a bit kinder in New York, and relying on his groundstrokes to win him points could be a bit of a problem against a consistent Davidovich Fokina.
At the very least, you can get the world No. 43 at a really nice price. Trust him to push Harris.
Pick: Alejandro Davidovich Fokina (+172) via FanDuel
Marcos Giron (-110) vs. Filip Krajinovic (-110)
10:30 p.m. ET
The American Giron is making an effort to crack the top 50 by the end of the year, and it’s not a coincidence. The world No. 59 has played some of the most impressive tennis of his career the past few weeks, collecting six wins in his last eight main draw matches, and his last effort might have been his best.
In the first round he was matched up against Botic van de Zandschulp (who somehow had to go through qualifiers despite making the quarterfinals of the US Open), and Giron delivered a thoroughly impressive comeback. It meant a lot to the former NCAA singles champion, and he has the potential to match or better his 2019 third round result at Indian Wells.
Krajinovic picked up his form a bit in Sofia last week, but the Serbian is still greatly overpriced against the firing Giron. A large factor in that could the throttling he gave Giron at last year’s US Open, but highly regarding that outcome is a big mistake.
Playing in back-to-back New York events following the COVID-19 pandemic’s halting of the tour, Giron had played a significant amount of tennis in the lead-up to that match, capped off by a five-set contest against Marc Polmans two days prior. On the other hand, Krajinovic was playing lights-out tennis in the post-COVID period that included a domination of the soon-to-be US Open champion Dominic Thiem.
That player isn’t the one Giron will be playing in California, and because of it, you can get him at a phenomenal number.
Pick: Marcos Giron (-110) via Caesars