Indian Wells: Three First Round Suprises

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Pierre Hughes-Herbert Indian Wells

The first Masters 1000 event of the year is underway at Indian Wells. Several of the top players in the world are battling it out for the first title of the ‘Sunshine Double’. Here are three first-round matches that brought up a surprise result.

Frances Tiafoe vs Ernesto Escobedo

The all American contest sprung up an unlikely winner. Tiafoe won his first title of the year in Delray Beach two weeks ago, beating Juan Martin Del Potro and Hyeon Chung en route. However, the world #64 could not even win a set against the wildcard in the first round of Indian Wells.

Escobedo did not serve spectacularly, hitting only 48% of his 1st serves in. It was the returning of the world #117 that turned the game in his favour. Winning 55% of Tiafoe’s 2nd serves, while taking three of the five break point opportunities he had.
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The 21-year-old took the match 7-5 6-3 in an impressive performance which will add to his confidence after beating world #10 Jack Sock in Acapulco last week. Up next is 28th seed Felicano Lopez and another surprise result could be on the cards at Indian Wells.

Karen Khachanov vs Evgeny Donskoy

This time it was an all-Russian encounter that sparked a surprise result at Indian Wells. Donskoy, who is unheard of on the tour got the better of the world #41 in just under two hours.

In a very tight match that saw Khachanov hit more aces, it was the world #76 that won more 2nd serve points (58%) and converted more break points (3/5) that turned the balance.
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Donskoy beat the NextGen contender 6-3 1-6 7-6 and now must up his game further when he comes up against big server Kevin Anderson in the last-64 of Indian Wells.

Pierre-Hughes Herbert vs Giles Simon

Another Indian Wells match that saw two countrymen go up against each other, this time from France.
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Simon has slipped down the rankings recently after ending outside the top-50 in 2017 for the first time in 12 years. Now ranked at #70 he is trying to turn his tour around. He started the year well, winning his opening tournament in Pune, India. There he beat Marin Cilic and Kevin Anderson to take the ATP Tour 250 event title. However, he hasn’t reached those standards since, failing to get further than the last-16 in any event.

This proved to be the same outcome at Indian Wells. Despite winning the first set tiebreak Simon could not win the second set in the same fashion.

Herbert’s serving was a big factor in his victory, as he hit 14 aces compared to Simon’s two. The world #93 also managed to win 76% of 1st serve points and saved six break points. This was the turning point of the match as the 26-year-old came out winning 6-7 7-6 6-3 in nearly three hours.

Herbert now faces serve and volley expert Giles Muller for a spot in the third round of Indian Wells.

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