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Ricky’s picks for Day 2 at the Indian Wells Masters, including Murray and Shelton

Veterans Andy Murray and Fabio Fognini will be taking the court at the Indian Wells Masters on Thursday as the top half of the draw concludes first-round play. They are facing opponents at the other end of the career spectrum in Tomas Martin Etcheverry and Ben Shelton, respectively.

Here are my previews and picks for the two matchups

Ben Shelton vs. Fabio Fognini

There will be a 15-year-age gap on the court when Shelton and Fognini collide in round one of the BNP Paribas Open on Thursday. Shelton is making his first appearance in Indian Wells; Fognini his 14th. It has not been a productive tournament for the 35-year-old Italian, who is just 9-11 lifetime in the main draw and has advanced past the third round only once (lost to Alexandr Dolgopolov in the 2014 fourth round). Fognini is a dreadful 1-5 so far this season and his only win has come at the expense of world No. 196 Tomas Barrios Vero.

Shelton, on the other hand, is very much on the rise. The 20-year-old American won three straight Challenger titles at the end of 2022 to surge in the top 100, which earned him direct entry into the Australian Open. Shelton capitalized on that opportunity by making an improbable run to the quarterfinals. The world No. 41 has since lost in the first round of Delray Beach (to Marcos Giron) and Acapulco (to Holger Rune), although he at least played a good match against Rune–his Indian Wells doubles partner–in a three-set loss. Conditions in the desert are perfect for Shelton, too, so he will likely extend Fognini’s woes without much trouble.

Pick: Shelton in 2

Tomas Martin Etcheverry vs. Andy Murray

Murray and Etcheverry will also be going head-to-head for the first time in their careers on Thursday. It has been an eventful start to the 2023 campaign for both guys–especially Murray. The 35-year-old Scot reached the third round of the Aussie Open by winning consecutive five-set thrillers over Matteo Berrettini and Thanasi Kokkinakis, and he finished runner-up to Daniil Medvedev in Doha after picking up all four of his wins in three sets–including two in third-set tiebreakers from match points down

Etcheverry was the runner-up last week in Santiago, where he won four matches over opponents ranked 82nd or better and then lost to Chile’s own Nicolas Jarry 6-7(5), 7-6(5), 6-2. The 23-year-old Argentine also advanced to the Buenos Aires quarterfinals, so it was a productive Golden Swing for him. Etcheverry is not entirely inept on hard courts, but for all intents and purposes he is a clay-court specialist and probably won’t be able to seriously challenge Murray.

Pick: Murray in 2

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