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Ricky’s Indian Wells picks for Alcaraz vs. Draper and Fritz vs. Fucsovics

No. 1 seed Carlos Alcaraz and defending champion Taylor Fritz are looking like serious title contenders at the Indian Wells Masters. They are facing Jack Draper and Marton Fucsovics, respectively, during fourth-round action on Tuesday.

Here are my previews and picks for the two matchups.

(1) Carlos Alcaraz vs. Jack Draper

The second of probably many Alcaraz vs. Draper matchups will take place in round four of the BNP Paribas Open on Tuesday night. The first one did not disappoint. These two stars of both the present and the future faced each other this past fall on the indoor hard courts of Basel, where Alcaraz prevailed 3-6, 6-2, 7-5.

At that point Alcaraz was already wearing out down the stretch of an amazing 2022 campaign that carried him to the U.S. Open title and the No. 1 ranking. The Spaniard still managed to get the job done against Draper, which has to give him plenty of confidence going into Tuesday. Alcaraz is well rested now, having missed much of this season because of a leg problem and skipping Acapulco prior to arriving in Indian Wells. The 19-year-old looks healthy and motivated to regain the top spot in the rankings, advancing so far with straight-set defeats of Thanasi Kokkinakis and Tallon Griekspoor. Draper is also playing well, but Alcaraz is on a different level and conditions in Indian Wells favor the No. 1 seed more than they did in Basel.

Pick: Alcaraz in 2

(4) Taylor Fritz vs. Marton Fucsovics

It would not surprise anyone if the top-half semifinal ends up being Alcaraz vs. Fritz. This has to be considered Fritz’s best tournament; it’s certainly his favorite one, too, as a California native. The fifth-ranked American has always played well in the desert, never better than last year when he lifted the trophy with a win over Rafael Nadal in the title match. Fritz’s title defense has included a three-set survival against compatriot Ben Shelton and a 6-1, 6-2 beatdown of Sebastian Baez.

Up next for the fourth seed on Tuesday afternoon is a first-ever encounter with Fucsovics. The 84th-ranked Hungarian’s spot in the second week is a much bigger surprise, as he had previously been just 3-4 at the ATP level in 2023 before this event. It has all turned around for Fucsovics, however, as he has ousted J.J. Wolf, Acapuclo champion Alex de Minaur, and Alex Molcan. But Fritz represents a serious step up in competition level and anything other than a routine result would be unexpected.

Pick: Fritz in 2

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