The seeded players begin play in the $10.1 million BNP Paribas Open Friday, including the second seeds in both the men’s and women’s singles draws, Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece and Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus.

Tsitsipas, third on the Association of Tennis Professionals singles rankings, will face 87th-ranked Jordan Thompson of Australia in the second match on Indian Wells Tennis Garden’s Stadium 1 Court.

“This tournament always has such good energy when you can play in these courts,” said Tsitsipas, whose best performance in his previous five appearances at Indian Wells was reaching the quarterfinals in 2021. “The fans are incredible.

“For me it has been a while since I stepped on a court and played a match, so it is great being back here. I might not be at the best with the way I am feeling on the court right now, but I am pleased to have the opportunity to compete.”

The 24-year-old Tsitsipas is 13-2 in singles play in 2023, with the losses coming to Novak Djokovic in the Australian Open final and Jannik Sinner in the second round of the Rottendam Open, his most recent tournament.

Tsitsipas is 2-0 against Thompson, part of a 16-1 record against Australians not named Kyrgios, with the only loss coming in the 2021 Paris Open when he retired in his second-round match against Alexei Popyrin trailing 4-2.

The 28-year-old Thompson was a 6-3, 6-1 winner over Frenchman Gael Monfils in a first-round match Wednesday, improving his 2023 record in tour-level singles matches to 2-4.

Thompson is 1-13 against top 10 players with 11 consecutive losses since a victory over Andy Murray in the first round of the Queen’s Club Championships in 2017.

Third-seeded Casper Ruud will face 38th-ranked Diego Schwartzman in the first match on the Stadium 1 Court. Schwartzman was a 6-1, 6-2 winner over fellow Argentine Federico Coria Wednesday for his second victory in eight tour-level singles matches in 2023.

Sabalenka, second on the Women’s Tennis Association rankings after winning the Australian Open, her first Grand Slam singles title, will face Russian Evgeniya Rodina in the second match on the Stadium 2 Court.

Sabalenka will be playing for the first time since her first loss of 2023, a 0-6, 7-6 (2), 6-1 loss to eventual champion Barbora Krejcikova Feb. 23 in a quarterfinal of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.

Sabalenka is 2-0 against Rodina, winning 6-2, 6-7 (5), 7-6 (5) in a quarterfinal of an International Tennis Federation tournament in Saint Petersburg, Russia in 2016 and 6-2, 6-2 in a first-round match of the 2017 Tashkent Open.

The 33-year-old Rodina defeated 68th-ranked Alizé Cornet of France, 6-3, 6-2, Wednesday, her third victory in six tour-level matches since returning to play in the 2022 U.S. Open after not playing for more than three years during her second maternity leave.

Rodina is winless in 10 matches against top-10 players.

Other women’s matches in the afternoon session include the 16th-seeded Krejcikova beginning her quest to win a second consecutive tournament when she faces Ukrainian wild card Dayana Yastremska in the second match on the Stadium 3 Court, and 2022 BNP Paribas Open finalist Maria Sakkari, the tournament’s seventh seed, facing American Shelby Rogers in the third match on the Stadium 1 Court.

Russian Daniil Medvedev, the fifth seed in the men’s draw, will play the first night match on the Stadium 1 Court, facing San Diegan Brandon Nakashima for the first time at 6 p.m. American Jessica Pegula, the third seed in the women’s draw, will play the second night match on the Stadium 1 Court, facing Italian Camila Giorgi no earlier than 8 p.m.

In another evening match, sixth-seeded American Coco Gauff will face Spanish wild card Cristina Bucsa on the Stadium 2 Court no earlier than 6 p.m.

The afternoon session will begin at 11 a.m. and the evening session at 5 p.m.

The top-seeded man, Carlos Alcaraz, and the top-seeded woman, Iga Swiatek, are scheduled to begin play Saturday.

Both the 32 seeded men and 32 seeded women received first-round byes.

Friday’s losers will receive $30,885 while the winners are guaranteed at least $55,770.

Murray was among Thursday’s winners, defeating Argentine Tomas Martin Etcheverry, 6-7 (5), 6-1, 6-4, in a three-hour, 12-minute match, winning a deciding set for the seventh time in seven opportunities in 2023.

“In some of the matches I managed to win this year, I felt like I was fortunate in some of them, whereas today I really had lots of chances in that third set,” Murray said after the win, referring to his eight break chances in the final set.

“I wasn’t getting them and was getting really frustrated. He was coming up with some big serves at times but I also felt like I made some poor decisions as well. The more chances that went by the more you think about it. I did really well to keep going in the end… Another brutal match and glad I managed to get through it.”

Murray, the world’s top-ranked men’s player from Nov. 7, 2016 to Aug. 20, 2017 and three-time Grand Slam singles champion, is scheduled to face 15th-seeded Pablo Carreno Busta in a second-round match Saturday.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *