By Ros Satar, in Indian Wells
- Kyle Edmund v Novak Djokovic  – H2H: Djokovic leads 2-0
- Dan Evans v Kei Nishikori  – H2H: Nishikori leads 2-1
INDIAN WELLS, USA – After resounding wins in their opening matches, both Dan Evans and Kyle Edmund face tough challenges if they want to advance at the BNP Paribas Open in ATP Indian Wells.
Dan Evans v Kei Nishikori  – H2H: Nishikori leads 2-1
Has the new improved Dan Evans got what it takes to spring another shock win over the No. 4 seed Kei Nishikori? His talent has never been in question, and his fledgling win at the 2013 US Open was at a time when he had a spur on to put the time and match-play in.
He matched the agility and nimbleness of Nishikori which aggression and flare, and he will need all of that to try and pull off the surprise again. If his beat-down for the second time in as many tournaments is anything to go by, Nishikori ought to be worried.
Both are on the smaller side in terms of player stature and in the case of the Japanese player, he makes up for maybe a lack of power on a generally consistent serve with pinpoint accuracy and great court coverage.
Evans can be quite nimble himself. He impressed in his match-up against Dustin Brown with his speed up to the net, and there is no doubting he has good court smarts, although you have to stand back and admire Nishikori’s placement and use of angles.
It will be tough but he intends to go out there and ‘enjoy’ the match-up although we have seen that the renewed fire in his belly can give rise to some Murrey-esque mutterings and mouthing-offs, but without the kudos that goes with the World No. 1’s achievements. Evans needs to watch his temper on court, and Nishikori is just the type of player to elicit strangled oaths of frustration.
The Japanese player is coming off a good start to the year on the hard courts Down Under, and while his first foray on the Latin American ‘Golden Swing’ netted him a final, he failed to get off the mark in Rio.
It is winnable of course for Evans, but it will take his best tennis to beat the usually solid, consistent Nishikori, but he could definitely trouble him.
Prediction: Nishikori in three sets.
|WHO||Dan Evans (GBR)||Kei Nishikori |
|WHAT||WTA Indian Wells Round 3|
|WHY & HOW||First appearance at Indian Wells||Defending QF points from last year – his best performance in eight attempts|
|WHEN||11am (6pm BST)|
Kyle Edmund v Novak Djokovic  – H2H: Djokovic leads 2-0
Equally impressive in his opener was Kyle Edmund who made sort work of Gastao Elias. It was maybe more of a challenge as both possess a similar serve and clubbing forehand, but Edmund is now beginning to rack up a fair bit of experience on the bigger stages, and that certainly stood him in good stead.
Talking of experience, the Brit has faced Novak Djokovic now twice, and knows that his standard game needs quite some pepping up if he is going to upset the books.
Talking to ATPWorldTour.com, Edmund said: “The things [Djokovic] does well are making a lot of balls and being quick around the court. It’s tough to get the ball by him and break him down,” said Edmund. “These are things that I’ve experienced the last two times I’ve played him. I’ll try and use that on Sunday.”
The only saving grace (such as it is) is that Djokovic has been on a little roller-coaster journey of his own. Some high-profile losses have made him seem more vulnerable, but this is a tournament he is very comfortable in. Five titles, three on the trot and an eye on a ‘four-peat’ are plenty enough motivation to hand the Brit another lesson.
There is no doubt that Edmund is a really hard worker, and that he wants success, but he really needs a lot more variety into his game. His serve, when it is firing well is a great weapon, especially when combined with his booking forehand, but if those elements are not quite right, we can see almost lacklustre losses. This will be a tough ask for Edmund.
Prediction: Djokovic in straight sets.
|WHO||Kyle Edmund (GBR)||Novak Djokovic |
|WHAT||WTA Indian Wells Round 3|
|WHY & HOW||Has already surpassed last year’s debut in the first round. Looking to avoid 0-3 record against Djokovic||His record here speaks for itself as he bids for a sixth title, fourth in a row.|
|WHEN||Not before 3:30pm (10:30pm BST)|
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