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Ricky’s Tennis preview and picks for Sunday in Indian Wells, including Andy Murray vs. Bublik

Andy Murray topped Taro Daniel in his BNP Paribas Open opener. EPA-EFE/RAY ACEVEDO

By Ricky Dimon

Andy Murray survived a tough opening match and will continue his Indian Wells campaign against Alexander Bublik on Sunday. Meanwhile, a struggling Matteo Berrettini may have a fight on his hands against a confident Holger Rune.

Here are my previews and picks for two of the best matches.

(31) Alexander Bublik vs. (WC) Andy Murray

Bublik and Murray will be going head-to-head for the third time in their careers when they clash in round two of the BNP Paribas Open on Sunday afternoon. Murray has won both of their previous encounters; 6-1, 6-4, 6-2 at Wimbledon five years ago and 7-6(6), 6-4 earlier this season on the indoor hard courts of Rotterdam. That is hardly a surprise, as Murray has feasted on big servers throughout his career.

Although Bublik is not exactly a one-dimensional power player, he would like to keep points shorter than he will probably have to play in the desert. The 33rd-ranked Kazakh has never won a match at this event, having previously failed in two qualifying attempts. Bublik is off to a strong start in 2022 so this should be more competitive than their first two meetings, but Murray already has a good win under his belt this week over Taro Daniel and will likely handle the conditions better than his opponent.

Pick: Murray in 3

Holger Rune of Denmark reacts after winning a point against Ugo Humbert of France during the BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, California, USA, 11 March 2022. EPA-EFE/JOHN G MABANGLO

(6) Matteo Berrettini vs. (Q) Holger Rune

The chasm in confidence between Berrettini and Rune may be just as sizable–if not larger–as the difference in rankings. Berrettini comes in at No. 6 in the world while Rune is 86th, but it is the youngster who has all of the momentum right now. Rune already has three match wins under his belt in Indian Wells, having qualified for the main draw (d. Mitchell Krueger and Stefan Kozlov) before beating Ugo Humbert 6-3, 6-2 on Friday.

Berrettini is just 7-5 this season, including 2-4 outside of the Australian Open. The Italian lost early in Rio de Janeiro and then retired from his Acapulco opener because of an abdominal injury that also plagued him at the end of 2021. Given that Berrettini has not played since then and his opponent is 3-0 this week alone, an upset may be in the cards.

Pick: Rune in 3

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