Indian Wells Early Session Preview, Including Karen Khachanov & Andy Murray Matches (Tuesday, Oct. 12)

Indian Wells Early Session Preview, Including Karen Khachanov & Andy Murray Matches (Tuesday, Oct. 12) article feature image
Credit:

Clive Brunskill/Getty Images. Pictured: Matteo Berrettini hits a volley at the BNP Paribas Open.

  • We have more intriguing tennis action Tuesday at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.
  • Avery Zimmerman takes a look at the afternoon session, which includes Andy Murray taking the court.
  • Check out below why he has the British underdog among his top plays on the card.

There was a significant amount of excitement Monday at Indian Wells Tennis Garden, with three-set thrillers and upset bids a plenty.

Tommy Paul defeated Andrey Rublev as a +400 underdog, and Filip Krajinovic pushed Daniil Medvedev as a +750 underdog, though he wasn’t able to take a set in defeat.

There are a number of big names and upset possibilities on the court Tuesday as well, so read below to see where those might be found in the early part of the afternoon’s matches.

Match times are subject to change. 

Matteo Berrettini (-240) vs. Taylor Fritz (+185)

2 p.m. ET

Generally, Fritz has been in good form recently. The American’s two losses in his last five matches come in odd circumstances, as his defeat at the hands of Jenson Brooksby at the US Open is hard to get on him for and he simply collapsed in his loss against Denis Shapovalov from a winning position.

In that span, Fritz displayed quality hitting against Brandon Nakashima, Alex de Minaur and Salvatore Caruso. It’s a bit of a mystery guessing which type of Fritz will show up, but if it’s a locked in version, he can play at a really high level, taking the initiative on points and forcing the issue of his opponent.

Berrettini has been consistent, though the Italian has peaked in slam events rather than Masters 1000 competitions like Indian Wells. That’s certainly a good thing, but has resulted in losses to Felix Auger-Aliassime in Cincinnati and a lone Masters final run this year, with that coming in Madrid.

The pair have met once, with Fritz upsetting Berrettini at the Caja Magica in Madrid. While the match came at the Davis Cup, it was played on a similarly paced hard-court surface and shouldn’t be discarded when evaluating this meeting.

Fritz likely has a marginal edge in value with these odds, but the price appears to be accurate for both. 

Nikoloz Basilashvili (-145) vs. Albert Ramos-Vinolas (+118)

3:15 p.m. ET

Perhaps the surprise third-round matchup of the event, Ramos-Vinolas made his way through Lorenzo Musetti and Auger-Aliassime to reach this point. While the former was a very legitimate possibility, the latter was a serious shock. Considering Ramos-Vinolas’ last event prior to Indian Wells was a Challenger in Szczecin, in which he lost his first match to Nicola Kuhn, a third-round spot was hard to foresee for the Spaniard.

Basilashvili enters the matchup on the back of a good win against an in-form Christopher Eubanks. He’s another player that can ebb and flow with form at times, but his ball striking can be on another level when he elevates his game. It’s what allowed him to win titles in Doha and Munich this year, while suffering 14 first-round defeats.

I would lean toward the Georgian, but be wary in doing so.

Pablo Carreno Busta (-115) vs. Karen Khachanov (-105)

3:20 p.m. ET

These two are very familiar with each other, as they’ve met six times at the professional level. The matches are split dead in the middle, as Carreno Busta found two wins in 2017 Masters events and another in Monte Carlo this year, while Khachanov’s wins came in 2018 and 2020, and most recently in a Tokyo Olympics semifinal match.

Khachanov and PCB represent a bit of a stylistic matchup that pits an attack at all times mentality versus a patient one. The Russian will often take a number of risks and be aggressive in search of winners, while Carreno Busta will bide his time in search of the ideal opportunity to take the offensive.

In these situations, I always give the edge to the more consistent player — that being Carreno Busta. However, after taking out Emil Ruusuvuori in the last round, Khachanov looks to be rounding into form as well.

Alex Zverev (-500) vs. Andy Murray (+350)

4:30 p.m. ET

The headlining match of the day is a great one. Both players defeated rising stars in the second round, with Murray taking out Carlos Alcaraz and Zverev getting by Jenson Brooksby. Both players had to battle through three sets, but were dominant in the deciders.

Murray pulled out all the tricks against Alcaraz — including an underarm serve that went for an ace — but the teenager kept fighting back. Murray’s ability to steady the ship and remain solid throughout should give him immense confidence.

UNDERARM ACE 😳@andy_murray #BNPPO21 pic.twitter.com/PjJCfrlHHd

— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) October 10, 2021

Zverev looked formidable in his third set with Brooksby, striking the ball incredibly well and refusing to allow the American any time to breathe. In essence, this is a matchup where Zverev should be able to do the same, as Murray plays in a similar manner to Brooksby, but the former world No. 1 does have a 2-0 record against the German.

The last meeting between Zverev and Murray came in 2020, when Murray completed a stunning comeback at the pseudo-Cincinnati event.

Can he do it again? At this price, it might be worth taking a chance on the Brit, but he’s in for an uphill battle due to the form of Zverev as well as possible fatigue that could set in at any time.

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