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Ricky’s Picks for Day 2 at the Indian Wells Masters, including Andy Murray vs. Adrian Mannarino

Wild card Andy Murray returns to Indian Wells for the first time in four years. Photo credit: EPA

By Ricky Dimon

First-round action continues on the men’s side at the BNP Paribas Open on Friday. Andy Murray is among those taking the court, as he begins his fortnight against fellow veteran Adrian Mannarino.

Ricky makes his picks for some of the marquee matchups.(WC) Andy Murray vs. Adrian Mannarino

Murray and Mannarino will be going head-to-head for the third time in their careers and for the second time in Indian Wells. Both of their previous encounters have gone Murray’s way; 6-3, 6-3 at the 2015 Indian Wells Masters and 5-7, 4-6, 6-1, 6-3, 6-1 later that year at the U.S. Open.

The former world No. 1’s latest comeback from hip problems has been going relatively well and could see him back in the top 100 by the end of the season. Murray has advanced at least one round in eight of his last nine tournaments and the only exception during this stretch is a five-set loss to Stefanos Tsitsipas at Flushing Meadows. Mannarino is ranked 70 spots ahead of his opponent at 51st, but the Frenchman is just 10-20 for the year and 1-4 in his last five matches. He has not really recovered from suffering a knee injury at Wimbledon while leading Roger Federer two sets to one. Everything about this sets up well for Murray to pick up another victory.

Pick: Murray in 2

Emil Ruusuvuori in action. Photo credit: Grant Halverson/Getty Images

Dominik Koepfer vs. Emil Ruusuvuori

Ruusuvuori and Koepfer played doubles together at the French Open and U.S. Open earlier this season, but they will be on the opposite side of the net on Friday. Their only previous meeting came last year on the hard courts of the Canberra Challenger, where Ruusuvuori won 6-3, 6-4.

The 22-year-old Finn is the essence of a hard-court specialist–if there is such a thing. He has been hopeless on clay and grass in the early stages of his career, but success on the hard stuff has been easy to come by. Ruusuvuori reached two semifinals this summer (Atlanta and Winston-Salem) and recently pushed Ilya Ivashka to three sets in the Nur-Sultan quarters. Koepfer reached the third round of the French Open, Wimbledon, and the Olympics but hasn’t done much since. An edge in current form goes to Ruusuvuori and he will enjoy the conditions in Indian Wells.

Pick: Ruusuvuori in 3

Other matches

Albert Ramos-Vinolas over Lorenzo Musetti in 2 – In addition to a winning record on the main tour this season (22-21), the Spaniard boasts a very impressive 10-7 lifetime mark in the Indian Wells main draw. Meanwhile, Musetti is 2-9 dating back to the French Open with recent horrible hard-court losses to Federico Coria, Laslo Djere, and Dimitar Kuzmanov.

Christopher Eubanks over Egor Gerasimov in 3 – Over the last two years, Gerasimov has been utterly hopeless on any surface other than indoor hard courts. Eubanks already has two wins under his belt in Indian Wells, having qualified earlier this week.

Jack Sock over John Millman in 3 – Playing at home in the United States on outdoor hard courts, I’ll go with Sock. But I won’t do it with a ton of confidence!

Kevin Anderson over Jordan Thompson in 2 – Anderson has won both of their previous encounters in straight sets. Conditions in the desert are good for the big-serving South African and nothing about Thompson’s current form suggests he can turn the tide.

Gianluca Mager over Marton Fucsovics in 3 – Fucsovics took some time off after Wimbledon and has slumped ever since. Sound the upset alert.

Ricky contributes to10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.