Indian Wells: Three First Round Matches to Watch

Indian Wells

The first Masters 1000 event of the year takes place this week at Indian Wells. The top names in tennis are ready to battle it out for the biggest title of the month. Both Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic enter the tournament looking to ignite the hard courts of Indian Wells in the search for victory.

Here are three must-watch first-round matches.

Taylor Fritz vs Reilly Opelka

This first round match at Indian Wells sees an all-American standoff. At just 20-years-old Fritz has joined the tour in fine fashion and is full of promise for the future. The world #74 has fond memories of Indian Wells last year, beating Marin Cilic to reach the third round.
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This year, Fritz has mainly played Challenger events. Taking the title in Newport and reaching the final in Noumea. His best performance on the ATP tour was at Delray Beach, losing out in the quarter-final to fellow youngster Denis Shapovalov.

Opelka is a fellow NextGen contender and is ranked world #199. The 20-year-old earned a wildcard to make the first round draw at Indian Wells and has played just one ATP tournament this year. A quarter-final appearance at Delray Beach showed his potential, with victories over experienced Americans Jack Sock and Ryan Harrison giving Opelka hope of getting through this game.

Gael Monfils vs Matthew Ebden

Gael Monfils excites the crowd whenever he plays, but has slipped down the rankings of late. The 31-year-old has a hard court title to his name already this year though. Winning the Doha Open in January, showing the Frenchman still has the fight to win. Two quarter-finals and a semi-final in Buenos Aires have followed. The world #47 is in good form to cause a surprise or two at Indian Wells.
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Australian Ebden enters Indian Wells with a string of fine victories to his name. Despite not reaching the last eight of any tournament this year, he has beaten Sam Querrey, Frances Tiafoe and John Isner. The world #78 has only played Monfils once, losing at the Australian Open eight years ago.

Steve Johnson vs Daniil Medvedev

Another American hoping to grasp glory at Indian Wells this week is Steve Johnson. An unlikely candidate perhaps, but he the draw on his side if he can play the tennis of his life. A semi-final appearance at Delray Beach will give the world #52 hope he can make it past the first-round.
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The Russian has a hard court title to his name already, winning the Sydney Open in January. Defeating Jared Donaldson and Fabio Fognini after coming through qualifying shows the 22-year-old has the stamina to make the second week at Indian Wells. Medvedev also reached the quarter-final in Rotterdam, losing to the experienced Andreas Seppi in three sets.

Both players have it all to fight for with a favourable chance of reaching the last-16 but will need a win here to start a fine run.

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