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Ricky’s picks for Day 6 in Indian Wells, including Alcaraz and Murray

Carlos Alcaraz will continue his Indian Wells Masters campaign when he goes up against Tallon Griekspoor on Monday. Third-round also includes an all-British battle between Andy Murray and Jack Draper.

Here are my previews and picks for the two matchups.

(1) Carlos Alcaraz vs. (31) Tallon Griekspoor

Alcaraz assured earlier this week that he would be good to go for the BNP Paribas Open, and his first match on Saturday night confirmed as much. The top seed, who struggled with leg problems at the end of last year and the beginning of 2023, defeated qualifier Thanasi Kokkinakis 6-3, 6-3. When healthy (or at least close to 100 percent), Alcaraz has been playing well; he is 9-1 this season with only an injury-plagued three-set loss to Cameron Norrie in the Rio de Janeiro final.

Up next for the world No. 2 on Monday is Griekspoor, who trails the head-to-head series 2-1 (1-0 in main draws). They most recently faced each other last summer at Wimbledon, where Alcaraz cruised 6-4, 7-6(0), 6-3. Griekspoor is on course for the best season of his career by a mile. The 26-year-old Dutchman is 13-4 with a title in Pune, a semifinal showing in Rotterdam, and a 7-6(3), 7-6(4) victory over Guido Pella in the Indian Wells second round. Griekspoor can make this somewhat interesting, but conditions in the desert are great for Alcaraz and a motivated Spaniard can take back the No. 1 ranking from Novak Djokovic with a title this fortnight.

Pick: Alcaraz in 2

Jack Draper vs. Andy Murray

An all-unseeded matchup may be one of the more intriguing contests of the entire Indian Wells third round. It’s an all-British showdown, too, with Murray and Draper going head-to-head in an official match for the first time in their careers on Monday. They are separated by one spot in the rankings (Murray is 55th, Draper is 56th) and 14 years in age (Murray is 35, Draper is 21).

Monday’s match promises to be as competitive as the rankings suggest. Murray is off to an eventful and successful start to the season, with an 8-3 record that includes 7-0 perfection in deciding sets. The three-time Grand Slam champion needed another one in the Indian Wells first round against Tomas Martin Etcheverry but finally won in straight sets by beating lucky loser Radu Albot 6-4, 6-3 on Saturday. Draper has advanced with straight-set routs of Leandro Riedi and Dan Evans, so this is his second consecutive contest against a fellow Brit. Although Draper is playing well, he is not going to overpower Murray in these slow conditions and based on the veteran’s recent three-set record you can’t pick against him in what figures to be a close match.

Pick: Murray in 3

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