ATP feeds the taste of first biggest tournament of the season in the Californian desert of Indian Wells with the masters 1000 where the world no.1 Rafael Nadal is the defending champion. Here is a look at Saturday’s men’s matches.
 Andy Murray vs. Lukas Rosol
British champion Murray might face some sort of test from the big hitting Czech Rosol who was an overnight hero following his famous 5-setter upset of two-time champion Nadal in Wimbledon’12 R64. Murray is low on confidence due to the tough outings in Doha, Melbourne, Rotterdam and Acapulco where he failed to reach a final which is unusual for him especially during the first two months of the season. An inspired opponent can beat him with the current form. But the Czech doesn’t seems to have what it takes to beat a top player now.
Prediction: Andy in straight sets
 Roger Federer vs. Paul-Henri Mathieu
ATP H2H of 6-0 in Roger’s favor against the fellow 32-year old Frenchman Mathieu says the story of this match up. Mathieu’s shot making skills might produce some serious match practice for the four times Indian Wells champion.
Prediction: Roger in straight sets with one of the two sets being a tight affair
 Rafael Nadal vs. Radek Stepanek
Just like the above match up, this one too has a 6-0 H2H in Rafa’s favor. Veteran Czech’s all round game and bold net approaches can hardly trouble the world no.1 who is a warrior from the back of the court. We will see Nadal sending some breathtaking passing shots that Stepanek watches helplessly.
Prediction: Rafa in comfortable straight sets
 Tommy Haas vs. Jeremy Chardy
These two have met twice before and split the results with their last face off being almost five years ago in Roland Garros’09 which the veteran German won in four sets. Chardy has a big game to push even a top player hard but lacks the consistency. Haas needs to be at the top of his game to tackle this tough Frenchman.
Prediction: Haas in three sets, one of them could be a tiebreaker
 Kevin Anderson vs. Lleyton Hewitt
Hewitt came out victorious in three sets in the pair’s only previous meeting on tour in Stockholm’12. The Australian couldn’t persist his season opening form in Brisbane where he beat Roger Federer to claim a title after a long time. On the other hand, Anderson is coming off a runner up showing in Acapulco where he lost a near three hours marathon to Dimitrov. The giant South African’s good form could be difficult for the two-times former champion who compiled his 600th career win in the first round.
Prediction: Anderson to move through to the R32 in three sets
 Stanislas Wawrinka vs. Ivo Karlovic
Playing in the first tournament (except Davis Cup WG tie) since his maiden major victory in Melbourne, Wawrinka is undeniably a favorite to win in the Californian desert besides the big four. After the first round bye which is an unfamiliar territory for Stan in a masters tournament, he has a big task at hand in the Aces-specialist Karlovic. The Croatian is an ideal startup for the Swiss to get off any rust what so ever. With the H2H of 3-1 clearly in his favor, Swiss looks to push his singles run forward after making a good start in the doubles with his famous campatriot Federer.
Prediction: 6’11” Croatian’s big serve might challenge the Swiss champion occasionally but Wawrinka takes care in straight sets
Other notable matches and Predictions:
 Kei Nishikori vs. Santiago Giraldo
Japanese no.1 is too good for the Colombian. Nishikori in two easy sets
 Jerzy Janowicz vs. Alejandro Falla
Talented Pole faces a stern test against the veteran Colombian, who often causes trouble to higher ranked players. With his fitness issues, Janowicz has an upset alert in this match. Falla has better chances and might come through in three sets.
 Milos Raonic vs. Edouard Roger-Vasselin
Canadian top gun ‘Missile’ Raonic plays his first match since losing to fellow young biggie Grigor Dimitrov at the Australian Open. Facing the talented Frenchman is the perfect way to start his campaign. Milos to go through safely in a tight two sets battle.
 Fabio Fognini vs. Ryan Harrison
American young talent Harrison needs to put on a spirited fight in order to add respectability to the scoreline keeping the upset chances aside against the in-form Italian Fognini. 13th seed to ease through to the R32.
 Gael Monfils vs. Sergiy Stakhovsky
After his historical Wimbledon upset, the Ukrainian has hardly made waves in the tennis world. Frenchman Monfils teaches him a tennis lesson in this second round match.
 Andreas Seppi vs. Sam Querrey
Seppi fights past the American in a high intensity three setter in this match.
Ernests Gulbis/Milos Raonic vs. Novak Djokovic/Filip Krajinovic
What a wonderful doubles match this is going to be, it needs a special mention. This star studded encounter is set to entertain the Indian Wells crowd highly. Result will be decided by the key match tiebreaker.
-Harish Narahari [Harish Narahari is a Sports Analyst for the Tennis Galaxy at Sportz Cosmos He tweets here]
4 thoughts on “ATP Indian Wells 1000: Preview of Day 4 Matches.”
great analysis harish.. I love it.. they are absolutely accurate
Welcome to SC Ms V…
Good picks Harish…. I think roger will go 3 with PHM if he’s not careful…
Also, Karlovic could be dangerous for Wawa…. same goes for Rosol and Murray…
Querrey and Seppi should be fun…. and same for Monfils and Stakhs…. Haas and Chardy should be very entertaining too…
Super over load of tennis…. absolutely loving it 🙂
Great call on Janowicz Harish!
I knew Paul Henri could get tricky for Roger….. he’s a wonderful talent, is PHM…. check 2005 French Open, he really had Rafa in all sorts of trouble…
Glad that my fellow floridian Haas is doing well…..
Wow looks like Stepanek stepped up to Rafa!!!