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Van de Zandschulp leads list of Indian Wells qualifiers, main draw begins on Thursday

Botic van de Zandschulp of the Netherlands. EPA-EFE/JUSTIN LANE



By Ricky Dimon

The stage is set. The 2021 BNP Paribas Open is ready to begin.

Qualifying at the season’s penultimate Masters 1000 event wrapped up on Wednesday, when 12 more players booked their spots in the main draw. Among them was Botic Van de Zandschulp, who held off Thai Son-Kwiatkowski 6-4, 4-6, 6-2.

Van de Zandschulp was one of the breakout stars of the U.S. Open, where he also went through qualifying. In fact, the world No. 66 completed the calendar-year qualifying Grand Slam. That’s right; he also played his way into the Australian Open, French Open, and Wimbledon. Van de Zandschulp made a shocking run to the quarterfinals in New York a month ago before falling to eventual champion Daniil Medvedev. He was the only opponent to take a set off Medvedev in the entire tournament.

A Medvedev vs. Van de Zandschulp rematch is possible in the Indian Wells third round. However, the 26-year-old Dutchman would first have to get past an in-form Marcos Giron on Thursday and then No. 27 seed Filip Krajinovic.

Medvedev, meanwhile, is the top seed because of Novak Djokovic’s absence. Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, and Dominic Thiem are also sidelined.

Rounding out the list of qualifiers were Salvatore Caruso, Maxime Cressy, Ernesto Escobedo, Christopher Eubanks, Emilo Gomez, Cem Ilkel, Roberto Marcora, Renzo Olivo, Joao Sousa, Alejandro Tabilo, and Aleksandar Vukic.

Ilkel probably got the worst draw of the bunch. The 26-year-old Turk has to go up against a red-hot Jenson Brooksby on Friday and the winner will face Olympic gold medalist and U.S. Open semifinalist Alexander Zverev.

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