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Ricky’s Preview | Picks For Tennis On Monday In Indian Wells, California

Novak Djokovic of Serbia in action against Bjorn Fratangelo of the US during the BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, California, USA, 09 March 2019. The men's and women's final will be played on 17 March 2019. EPA-EFE/JOHN G. MABANGLO
Novak Djokovic of Serbia in action against Bjorn Fratangelo of the US during the BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, California, USA, 09 March 2019. The men’s and women’s final will be played on 17 March 2019. EPA-EFE/JOHN G. MABANGLO

 

 

By Ricky Dimon

 

Novak Djokovic will continue his BNP Paribas Open campaign on Monday, when he takes the court against Philipp Kohlschreiber. Dominic Thiem and Gilles Simon are also in action. Ricky takes a look at some of Monday’s matches and makes his predictions.

 

(1) Novak Djokvic vs. Philipp Kohlschreiber

Nick Kyrgios’ out-of-nowhere title in Acapulco made a possible third-round showdown between the Aussie and Djokovic a mouth-watering proposition, but Kohlschreiber had other ideas; so did Kyrgios, for that matter. Kohlschreiber capitalized on another erratic performance by the 23-year-old to score a 6-4, 6-4 upset. Thus it will be Djokovic vs. Kohlschreiber on Monday for the 10th time in their careers. The world No. 1 is dominating the head-to-head series 8-1 and has won seven in a row since suffering a lone loss at the 2009 French Open via a 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 decision. They have not collided since the same round of this same Indian Wells event in 2016, when Djokovic prevailed 7-5, 7-5.

Kohlschreiber preceded his win over Kyrgios by hammering Pierre-Hugues Herbert 6-4, 6-0. The 35-year-old German is still just 6-6 in ATP tournament matches this season and he had endured three first-round exits in a row prior to arriving in the desert. Nothing about his current form suggests he can serious challenge Djokovic, who started slow in his opener on Saturday night but raised his level to beat Bjorn Fratangelo 7-6(5), 6-2.

Pick: Djokovic in 2

 

(27) Gilles Simon vs. (7) Dominic Thiem

Dominic Thiem of Austria in action against Jordan Thompson of Australia during the BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, California, USA, 09 March 2019. The men's and women's final will be played on 17 March 2019.  EPA-EFE/LARRY W. SMITH

Dominic Thiem of Austria in action against Jordan Thompson of Australia during the BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, California, USA, 09 March 2019. The men’s and women’s final will be played on 17 March 2019. EPA-EFE/LARRY W. SMITH

Thiem and Simon are also no strangers to head-to-head matchups; in fact, they have stared each other down even more than Djokovic and Kohlschreiber–10 times, to be precise. This is also a lopsided rivalry and also one that features a current seven-match winning streak. Thiem once trailed 2-1 but he has not succumbed to Simon since a pair of 2014 losses, beating the Frenchman at least once in 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018 (including three times in 2017 and last season on the red clay of Lyon and the indoor hard courts of Paris).

Losing to Thiem on an indoor hard court in France does not bode well for Simon, but at least he gets another shot on this surface–albeit outdoors–as opposed to clay. And the seventh-seeded Austrian has not been good under any conditions in 2019, not even on the Golden Swing. Thiem at least managed to defeat Jordan Thompson 6-4, 7-5 on Saturday night, while Simon opened with a 6-3, 6-7(6), 6-4 victory over Malek Jaziri. The world No. 29 has advanced to the Indian Wells fourth round three times (including the quarterfinals once) and may be able to do so again at the expense of a favored but vulnerable opponent.

Pick: Simon in 3

 

(WC) Felix Auger-Aliassime vs. Yoshihito Nishioka

This will be the first meeting between Auger-Aliassime and Nishioka. The latter was just working his way into form in 2017 when he suffered an ACL injury in Miami. He was out for the rest of that season and has had to start from scratch, an effort he began in 2018.

Auger-Aliassime is just 18 years old. He delivered his first big breakthrough a few weeks ago in Rio, where he came from basically out of nowhere to make the final. The biggest win of the Canadian’s young career came on Saturday with his first ever top-10 win over fellow NextGen star Stefanos Tsitsipas. And it wasn’t just a win; it was beatdown city.

Pick: Auger-Aliassime in 2

 

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.

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