Indian Wells Day Four Tips: Murray a justified favourite to reach round three
Round two action continues at the Indian Wells Masters, with bottom half of the draw on Sunday's schedule. Dan Weston returns to give his thoughts...
Nadal and Tsitsipas tested on dramatic Saturday
Daniil Medvedev, Rafa Nadal and Stefanos Tsitsipas all progressed on Saturday, although both Nadal and Tsitsipas needed dramatic final set tiebreaks over Sebastian Korda and Jack Sock, respectively. By comparison, number one seed Medvedev eased into round three, dropping just the five games against Tomas Machac.
With the bottom half of the draw on Sunday's schedule, this sees the start of the tournament for the likes of Alexander Zverev and Andrey Rublev, and they're both solid pre-match favourites to make progress over Tommy Paul and Dominik Koepfer, respectively.
Out of form Harris still favourite to defeat Bagnis
However, most prices look justified on Sunday with my numbers pretty much in line with the market. The one possible exception is Lloyd Harris, who is a 1.62 favourite over the Argentinian clay-courter, Facundo Bagnis.
On a standard hard court, this price would look absurd given Bagnis' lack of hard court ability - he's only won about a quarter of his main tour hard court matches in his career, with around a 93% combined service/return points won percentage - but of course we do have to factor in the 'clay-courters tax' here at Indian Wells, where the slower conditions do slightly favour those players more comfortable on the dirt.
Given this, I'm more reluctant to get involved with Harris from a pre-match perspective, particularly in conjunction with a poor run of form which stems back to Autumn last year - his only win since reaching the semi-finals of Vienna indoors was a victory of Daniel Cukierman in the Davis Cup, a player who I've never even heard of (ranked outside the top 600).
Clay-courters tax also applicable for Schwartzman
In other matches, Diego Schwartzman is a slight 1.74 favourite for his match against the talented Finn, Emil Ruusuvuori, and this is another instance of applying the 'clay-courters tax' here.
Ruusuvuori has slightly better overall hard court numbers than the Argentine over the last 12 months, unsurprisingly with an edge on serve, but the slower conditions should suit Schwartzman here and I think the prices aren't too far out of line.
Murray justified favourite over Bublik
Finally, Andy Murray has the opportunity to make round three as he faces Alexander Bublik, who he defeated at a similar 1.72 pre-match price indoors in Rotterdam last month.
That day, Murray prevailed 7-6 6-4 in a tight match, and he does have better hard court numbers than the Kazakh over the last year, even with some decline from his previous high levels.
This is also the case for 2022 in isolation so far, and considering this, Murray looks justified as the pre-match favourite as he looks to set up a potential third-round encounter with Grigor Dimitrov.
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