After a upset laden Saturday saw the exit of both David Ferrer, Janko Tipsarevic, and John Isner, Sunday's action at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden will hopefully provide equally as dramatic entertainment.
Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Richard Gasquet, Stanislas Wawrinka, and Andreas Seppi were all top 20 winners.
The polarizing Ernests Gulbis keeps his win streak in tact after taking care of Janko Tipsarevic dropping only two games in the process.
Lets take a look into some particularly interesting matches on tab Sunday at Indian Wells.
Mardy Fish v. Bobby Reynolds- Obviously this all-American second round battle isn’t one that people will be rushing to StubHub to buy tickets for, but it will engage the interest of many American tennis fans as it marks the return of Mardy Fish. Fish hasn’t played a match on tour since his third round match with Gilles Simon at the U.S. Open last September. Fish was set to play Roger Federer in the fourth round but withdrew due to ongoing heart problem after dealing with two cases of an accelerated heartbeat earlier in 2012. I highly encourage you to read the article linked below written by Douglas Robson of USA Today to get a better sense of what exactly the 31 year old American has been going through. At a time when American tennis is experiencing unprecedented struggles, the return of Mardy Fish could be the answer the American tennis populace has been looking for. Coming into Indian Wells, Bobby Reynolds had a 3-8 record in Masters Series 1000 events, so he’ll be looking to capitalize on a wonderful opportunity to take out what could be an extremely rusty Mardy Fish and reach the third round. Fish leads the head to head in this matchup 1-0 with the sole victory coming in Memphis in 2008.
Douglas Robson USA Today article on Mardy Fish written March 5, 2013- http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/tennis/2013/03/05/mardy-fish-comeback-la-tennis-c-hallenge/1964017/
Prediction: A hard match to predict considering Mardy Fish’s form is an unknown at this point, but assuming he is somewhere near the level where he left us last fall, I’ll take Mardy Fish over Bobby Reynolds in three sets
James Blake v. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga- The night crowd at Indian Wells should be in for an absolute treat with this one. It’s hard to imagine any tennis fan not being excited to witness the electric, power-driven Frenchman square off in an explosive, ball crushing battle against the equally powerful, ever motivated, veteran American. These two men have very similar styles in the sense that they leave everything on the table with each swing of the racket. As a result, expect no shortage of jaw dropping winners especially off the forehand sides of both men. But, as you know if you have ever watched a match with Tsonga or Blake in it, expect a plethora of unforced errors that are the result of obstinate aggression. It is an aggression that knows no limit and is immune to being affected by anything happening in the match. Regardless of score and opponent, Blake and Tsonga are steadfast on blowing shots past his opponents leaving behind a trail of smoke behind. This match will really come down to who is more effectively and consistently actualizing and controlling their hyper aggressive game plan. Blake should look to do a majority of his damage going inside out with his forehand into Tsonga’s backhand. Blake comes into this match having won only two tour level matches this year but has had seen success on the double courts with Jack Sock. Sock and Blake won the doubles title in Delray Beach and reached the final of Memphis the week before losing to the Bryan Brothers in the final. Tsonga reached the quarterfinals of the Australian Open before succumbing to Federer in five sets but was able to take the title in Marseille beating Tomas Berdych in the final. Tsonga leads the head to head in this matchup 2-0 with both victories coming on hard courts.
Prediction: Tsonga over Blake in two tight sets
Nikolay Davydenko v. Juan Martin Del Potro- The last time these two completed a full match was in the 2009 World Tour Finals where Davydenko claimed the biggest title of his career beating Del Potro in straight sets. Davydenko actually leads the head to head in this matchup 3-2 including two wins on hard courts. The Russian is currently ranked 42nd in the world and has had a very solid year for someone who is in the home stretch of their career. Davydenko had an unfortunate draw in Melbourne but has added the Doha final and the Dubai quarterfinals to his resume in 2013. Del Potro comes into Indian Wells as the Rotterdam champion but is hoping to avoid a premature exit like the one he had at the Australian Open at the hands of Jeremy Chardy who could be Del Potro’s third round opponent. But before Del Po starts thinking about a rematch with Chardy, he’s going to have overcome one of the cleanest, most precise hitters in tennis. Depth will be especially important against Davydenko as it will make it increasingly difficult for the Russian to dissect the court with the extreme angles he is so well known for. In supplement, if Del Po is keeping the ball deep, Davydenko will be taking the ball off the rise with far less success thus giving Del Potro more time to set up for his own shots. Davydenko definitely matches up well against Del Potro as he is able to absorb and defend against the Argentinean’s pace and takes away time from the big man. This would certainly be a shocker if Davydenko could pull it off, but I fully expect Nikolay to give The Tower of Tandill a run for his money.
Prediction: Davydenko over Del Potro in three sets