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Ricky’s preview and picks for Day 3 in Indian Wells: Nadal vs. Korda and Tsitsipas vs. Sock

Rafael Nadal signs autographs for fans at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. Photo credit: BNP Paribas Open Facebook

By Ricky Dimon

Sebastian Korda will get another shot at his idol, Rafael Nadal, this time at the Indian Wells Masters during second-round action on Saturday. Meanwhile, Stefanos Tsitsipas kicks off his campaign against Jack Sock.

Here are my previews and picks for two of Saturday’s best matchups.

(4) Rafael Nadal vs. Sebastian Korda

Nadal and Korda will be going head-to-head for the second time in their careers when they clash in round two of the BNP Paribas Open on Saturday. Korda was just happy to be on the court with his idol at the 2020 French Open, where Nadal cruised through their fourth-round encounter 6-1, 6-1, 6-2 on his way to the title.

The 21-year-old American, who defeated Thanasi Kokkinakis 6-3, 6-4 on Thursday night, should be able to handle the occasion a little bit better this time around with some more experience under his belt. Plus this isn’t on clay. That being said, to say that he once again isn’t catching Nadal at a good time would be a gross understatement. Nadal has been the dominant player on tour so far in 2022, with a 15-0 record that includes a second Australian Open triumph. The 35-year-old Spaniard feels right at home, too, in Indian Wells–where he is a three-time champion. When you add in the fact that Korda doesn’t have a big enough serve to dictate play against Nadal, this is almost certainly going to be another beatdown.

Pick: Nadal in 2

Stefanos Tsitsipas. EPA-EFE/JAMES ROSS

(WC) Jack Sock vs. (5) Stefanos Tsitsipas

Like Korda, Sock was a winner on what was a productive Thursday for the American contingent (five men advanced to the second round). Needing a wild card at No. 147 in the world, Sock benefited from a friendly draw against clay-court specialist Juan Manuel Cerundolo and dominated 6-1, 6-1.

Things will get a lot tougher in the form of Tsitsipas. Although the fifth-ranked Greek may not be in absolute peak form at the moment, he has already won 14 matches in 2022 and he reached the Indian Wells quarterfinals last fall. Conditions in the desert are favorable for his game, just as they are for Sock. Unfortunately for the injury-plagued underdog, he has not beaten anyone ranked better than 28th since the 2017 Nitto ATP Finals. Needless to say, that does not bode well for his chances against Tsitsipas.

Pick: Tsitsipas in 2

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