The remaining 32 men in the second round of the 2014 BNP Paribas Open go head-to-head in the desert on Sunday on day four at Indian Wells.
Day three was hit and miss, with Alejandro Falla landing the odds against Jerzy Janowicz and Ryan Harrison also obliging on a set handicap basis, while Sam Querrey should have made it three winners on the day, but yet again he failed on two match points for a straight sets victory. There probably isn't a stat for it, but surely Querrey must lead the world in matches lost from around 1.05 or shorter in-running.
Play starts an hour earlier from Sunday, as daylight savings time comes into effect in California, so it’s an 18.00 UK time start today.
Juan Martin Del Potro 1.43 vs Feliciano Lopez 2.70 - BET and STREAM live on Unibet TV from 20.35
I haven’t quite figured out what exactly it is that Del Potro hopes to achieve by playing here at Indian Wells (or Dubai last week) with a left wrist that is clearly pretty seriously injured.
He was in no fit state to hit a two-handed backhand last week and it seems highly unlikely that he will be here. One can only assume that his participation is an attempt to try and defend some of the ranking points achieved here last year when he made the final.
Even fully fit Delpo has struggled with Lopez’s game and in their five meetings from 2008 to 2013 Del Potro has never once defeated Feli in straight sets. Even their sole meeting last season ended in a deciding set win for the Argentine.
Lopez has a poor record here at Indian Wells and some of this bet is based on Delpo’s highly questionable physical state, but the 2.66 about the Spaniard appeals in these circumstances, with a Delpo retirement a distinct possibility.
Tommy Robredo 1.60 vs Marinko Matosevic 2.25
This one is a rematch of a first round encounter here 12 months ago, which Matosevic won in straight sets, but I’m not so sure that the Aussie will be enjoying the sweet taste of victory this time around.
After a promising start to the year Marinko unravelled mentally in Melbourne when he was beaten by Kei Nishikori for his 12th straight first round loss in a major and he hasn’t quite been the same since. A woeful effort in Memphis followed and he’s yet to get back on track.
First round opponent Bradley Klahn was poor in the extreme, coughing up far too many unforced errors and it’s unlikely that Robredo will be so generous.
Marinko’s win here last year was Tommy’s last poor loss of his comeback from injury before he won his next tournament and went on to do great things at the French Open, won in Umag, and beat Roger Federer in New York.
The Spaniard didn’t do as well as perhaps he expected on the Golden Swing, but this hard court should suit him and Matosevic’s poor record of 4-19 against top-20 ranked players looks set to get even worse.
Florian Mayer 1.62 vs Jarkko Nieminen 2.25
This match has ‘overs’ written all over it to me, with two experienced campaigners who know each others’ games well facing off for the ninth time in their careers.
Jarkko has the advantage of having played one match here in the desert conditions, but Mayer has had the edge in their last two meetings.
The German has a poor 3-8 career record at Indian Wells though and he hasn’t seemed on his best form since Melbourne, with a loss to the badly out of form Andreas Seppi last week in Dubai not exactly encouraging for his fans.
Both players have a propensity for up and down moments in their matches and over 22.5 games looks likely here at 1.92.
If history is any guide there should be several underdogs winning today, as just 11 have tasted victory so far, which is well below the average for this tournament over the last five years.
Aside from Del Potro, there could be cases made for Roberto Bautista-Agut, Paulo Lorenzi and Julien Benneteau as big underdogs, while Fernando Verdasco and Ivan Dodig could also be vulnerable if not at the races today.
Back Lopez to beat Del Potro at 2.66
Back Robredo to beat Matosevic at 1.60
Back over 22.5 games in Mayer/Nieminen at 1.92