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Ricky’s picks for Day 1 of the Indian Wells Masters, including Murray vs. Goffin

The BNP Paribas Open gets underway on Wednesday and it won’t waste any time heating up. A marquee matchup during the afternoon session pits Andy Murray against David Goffin. Jordan Thompson and Juncheng Shang are also on the schedule.

Here are my previews and picks for two of Wednesday’s best matches.

Andy Murray vs. (Q) David Goffin

Murray and Goffin will be facing each other for the eighth time in their careers. All seven of their previous meetings have gone Murray’s way and he is a hard-to-believe 15-0 overall in sets in this matchup. On the bright side for Goffin, they have met just once in the last five years and that was a retirement by the Belgian in Sydney (2022). They have not completed a head-to-head match since 2018.

Fast forward to 2024 and a much different version of each man is on display. Murray, 36, is ranked No. 61 with a 2-6 record for the year; Goffin, 33, is toiling away down at 112th in the rankings. Whereas Murray is lacking confidence and recently announced his probable retirement this summer, Goffin has successfully qualified for four ATP events in four tries so far in 2024–including in Indian Wells. With two wins already under his belt at this tournament, he should–finally–have the edge over Murray.

Pick: Goffin in 3

(Q) Juncheng Shang vs. Jordan Thompson

Thompson is playing the best tennis of his career so far this year. The Aussie has already won 13 matches, including a defeat of Rafael Nadal in the Brisbane quarters and a title last month in Los Cabos. He also advanced to QFs in both Dallas and Delray Beach.

Unfortunately for the 33rd-ranked Thompson, he missed out on a BNP seed by just one ranking spot and the result is not only a first-round match but also a first-round match against an extremely difficult opponent. Like Goffin, Shang is one of the most dangerous qualifiers in the 96-man bracket. The 19-year-old is one of the hottest prospects on the ATP Tour and his season already features a semifinal in Hong Kong and a third-round effort at the AO. Wednesday marks their third meeting, as Thompson and Shang split a pair of 2022 Challenger encounters; the latter prevailed 7-5, 6-4 in Granby before the former got the job done 7-6(4), 6-7(10), 6-2 in Cary. This has all the makings of one of the most fun first-round matchups, with a slight edge going to Thompson because of his awesome hot streak ongoing in North America.

Pick: Thompson in 3

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