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Ricky’s picks for Day 4 of the Indian Wells Masters, including Hurkacz vs. Monfils

Another full slate of second-round action is on the menu at the BNP Paribas Open on Saturday. Only 32 players will remain in the men’s draw by the end of the day. Hubert Hurkacz, Gael Monfils, Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, and Arthur Fils hope they are on that list.

Here are my previews and picks for two of Saturday’s best matchups.

Gael Monfils vs. (8) Hubert Hurkacz

The first three tournaments of Monfils’ season were rough, but he has gained some momentum heading into round two of the Indian Wells Masters on Saturday. The Frenchman has advanced at least one round in three of his last four tournaments (including this one) and in Rotterdam he was the only player to take a set off Jannik Sinner. Monfils also reached the Doha semifinals and he began his fortnight in the desert with a 6-1, 6-2 defeat of Max Purcell on Thursday.

The 37-year-old will face Hurkacz on Saturday. They split their first two meetings; Monfils rolled 6-4, 6-0 at the 2019 Rogers Cup before Hurkacz got the job done 6-2, 7-6(1) a few months later at a Masters 1000 in Shanghai. Hurkacz began his 2024 campaign in red-hot fashion, leading Poland to the United Cup final before advancing to the QFs at Melbourne Park (lost to Daniil Medvedev in five). With Monfils playing well and conditions in the desert not quite ideal for Hurkacz (he has never advanced past the QFs in IW), this contest will likely be competitive.

Pick: Hurkacz in 3

Arthur Fils vs. (23) Alejandro Davidovich Fokina

Davidovich Fokina and Fils appear to have a magnetic attraction in draws. They will be squaring off for the fourth time in their careers already, and keep in mind that Fils is only 19 years old. They faced each other on three occasions in 2023. Davidovich Fokina won in four sets at the French Open, in straights at Wimbledon, and also in straights at the Shanghai Masters.

Fils beat Nuno Borges 7-6(5), 6-2 on Thursday, a quite impressive victory given Borges’ solid form at the miment. However, Fils is just 3-5 in his last eight matches dating back to the Auckland semis. Davidovich Fokina is coming off a quarterfinal effort in Dubai (lost to Medvedev) and seems to really enjoy the conditions in Indian Wells. ADF has never lost his debut match in three previous trips to Palm Springs and he made a run to the quarterfinals in 2023 (lost to Medvedev). This has all the makings of an entertaining affair, but an edge goes to Davidovich Fokina.

Pick: Davidovich Fokina in 3

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