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Ricky’s Tennis Preview and Pick for the Sasha Zverev vs. Andy Murray match on Tuesday in Indian Wells

By Ricky Dimon

Alexander Zverev and Andy Murray will be going head-to-head for only the third time in their careers when they clash in round three of the BNP Paribas Open on Tuesday afternoon.

That is part of the reason why a win over Murray is still missing from Zverev’s resume. They have faced each other only once since the start of 2017–although the German was a huge favorite in their 2020 Cincinnati Masters meeting. Murray, who previously prevailed 6-1, 6-2, 6-3 at the 2016 Australian Open, pulled off a 6-3, 3-6, 7-5 upset last summer to take his comeback from hip surgery to new heights.

“(I’m) very excited to play Murray,” Zverev said following his 6-4, 3-6, 6-1 defeat of Jenson Brooksby on Sunday. “He is the only one of the Big 4 I never beat.”

Alexander Zverev of Germany in action against Jenson Brooksby of the USA during their match at the BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, California, USA, 10 October 2021. EPA-EFE/RAY ACEVEDO

Similar to their most recent encounter, the world No. 4 is a massive favorite. He is 45-12 this season and has not lost to anyone ranked lower than 31st since April. An incredible run of success and consistency includes the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics plus semifinal showings at the French Open and U.S. Open.

By his relatively low post-injury standards, Murray is also winning a lot at the moment. The 34-year-old Scot has advanced at least one round in nine of his last 10 tournaments after beating Adrian Mannarino 6-3, 6-2 and Carlos Alcaraz 5-7, 6-3, 6-2. Murray needed three hours and three minutes to outlast Alcaraz on Sunday and set up what could be a spicy affair with Zverev.

There won’t be any love lost on Tuesday, as Murray has been outspoken–at least compared to everyone else on tour–about Zverev’s domestic abuse allegations.

“I wouldn’t say we are best friends,” Murray admitted. “We don’t really chat a whole lot.”

For different reasons, both guys will be extremely motivated for this showdown. It should be a fun one, but unfortunately for Murray it does not set up well for another upset. Coming off a three-hour battle two days ago is not ideal for the world No. 121 at this point in his career. Conditions during the day are slightly faster, which should help Zverev–who has the firepower to hit through this slow court.

Murray won’t go down without a fight, but a win over Indian Wells’ third seed is too much to ask.

Pick: Zverev in 2

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

Editors Note • Taking Sir Andy Murray. Not sure of sets.