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Ricky’s picks for Day 7 of the Indian Wells Masters, including Alcaraz and Sinner

We are into week two of the BNP Paribas Open, and fourth-round competition gets underway on Tuesday. It’s a mouth-watering lineup, featuring Jannik Sinner vs. Ben Shelton in addition to Carlos Alcaraz getting a chance for revenge against Fabian Marozsan.

Here are my previews and picks for the two matchups.

Fabian Marozsan vs. (2) Carlos Alcaraz

This is a rematch of one of the biggest tennis upsets in recent memory. At least year’s Rome Masters, Marozsan shocked Alcaraz 6-3, 7-6(4) in the third round. At the time ranked 135th and basically unheard of, Marozsan took advantage of an opponent who was coming off back-to-back clay-court titles in Barcelona and Madrid while perhaps lacking motivation to make to a deep run in Rome with Roland Garros right around the corner.

The Hungarian will likely see a much different version of Alcaraz across the net on Tuesday. Alcaraz has completed only one event in 2024 (he retired from his opening match in Rio de Janeiro), so he will be eager to get matches under his belt and defend as many ranking points as possible in Indian Wells (2023 title) and Miami (2023 semifinals). So fare in IW the second-ranked Spaniard has knocked off Matteo Arnaldi and Felix Auger-Aliassime. In week one Marozsan beat Jurij Rodionov, Nicolas Jarry, and Thiago Seyboth Wild. The world No. 58 is a tricky opponent who always brings plenty of drop-shots and overall variety to the table, but Alcaraz looks like he is playing well enough to thwart any such tactics this time around.

Pick: Alcaraz in 2

(16) Ben Shelton vs. (3) Jannik Sinner

Nobody has been able to get the best of Sinner this season, and at the moment it’s hard to see anyone beating him in a war of attrition from the baseline. The tactics are clear: serve huge, go big, and try to take the racket out of Sinner’s hands. It’s easier said than done, even for the few players are capable of executing such a plan. Shelton may be one who can do it. In fact, he did it last fall–upsetting Sinner 2-6, 6-3, 7-6(5) in Shanghai. They also locked horns three weeks later in Vienna and it was another competitive contest, which Sinner won 7-6(2), 7-5.

Since his Shanghai loss to the Shelton, Sinner is an unbelievable 27-1 with a Grand Slam title (Australia), a Davis Cup title, a Nitto ATP Finals runner-up, and three wins over Novak Djokovic. The world No. 17 has extended his current match winning streak to 17 with IW victories over Thanasi Kokkinakis and Jan-Lennard Struff. Whereas Sinner dominated in week one, Shelton earned his place in this matchup the hard way–scraping past Jakub Mensik and Francisco Cerundolo in three-set battle]s. The 16th-ranked American can challenge anyone on any given day when his serve is clicking, but Sinner is incredibly confident and appears to be almost unbeatable.

Pick: Sinner in 2

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