As the Indian Wells Masters approaches its business end, we’re left with eight men standing, in what promises to be a thrilling quarterfinals day in the Californian desert. But who will book themselves a spot in the semifinals?
MEN’S SINGLES QUARTERFINALS PREVIEW
Cameron Norrie vs Diego Schwartzman
Head-to-head: Norrie 2-1 Schwartzman
Britain’s Cameron Norrie has had a wonderful year so far, reaching a career-high No.26 singles ranking and winning his first ATP singles title at the Los Cabos Open. He would like to keep the momentum going as he looks to reach his first Masters 1000 semifinal.
Norrie’s rise can be attributed to his solid counter-punching ability, along with a never-say-die mentality. His weapon of choice remains a heavy topspin forehand, but his ability to stay in the rallies with consistent groundstrokes and retrievals, mixed with sudden injections of pace midway through the rallies, can frustrate just about any opponent. He would have to bring out his A-game if he wants to beat his quarterfinals opponent, who’s been in good touch as of late.
Diego Schwartzman is one of the cleanest hitters of a tennis ball on the men’s tour, and despite his diminutive stature, is capable of generating effortless power off both wings. The slower conditions in Indian Wells works in his favor as well, buying him more time to cleanly hit through the ball. The Argentinian would be further bolstered by his win over the San Diego Open champion and the No.6 seed, Casper Ruud, who he took out in straight sets in the Round of 16.
Prediction: All three of their previous meetings have taken place on a hard court, and they’ve all gone to a decider, with Norrie winning their last two encounters. This one should be no different, as both men seem equally poised to take this one, with very little separating them. However, the slower conditions, and the fact that he’s coming off a Top-10 win against an in-form Casper Ruud, should give Schwartzman a slight edge. Official Pick: Diego Schwartzman in three sets.
Grigor Dimitrov vs Hubert Hurkacz
Head-to-head: Dimitrov 0-0 Hurkacz
It has been said numerous times before, and it almost sounds clichéd at this point, but Grigor Dimitrov remains a prime example of unrealized potential in tennis. His win against world No.2 Daniil Medvedev in the Round of 16, yet again, showed Dimitrov’s undeniable talent on a tennis court and what he’s capable of when on song. Dimitrov overcame a 4-6, 1-4 deficit and won 11 of the last 14 games in his Round of 16 contest to oust the reigning US Open champion and earn his first victory over a Top-2 opponent since 2016.
Hubert Hurkacz, contrastingly, is enjoying the best year of his career, having won three ATP titles this year, including a Masters 1000 title in Miami. Hurkacz owns a BIG serve and moves quite well for someone of his stature (6 ft 5 in). He’s very much adept at mixing his defense with offense and also has a knack for finishing points with serve-and-volley.
Prediction: As with any Grigor Dimitrov matches in recent years, it’s hard to predict which version of him turns up for this match. But there has been an uptick in the Bulgarian’s form, as evidenced in his recent run to the semifinals of the San Diego Open (where he lost to eventual champion Casper Ruud), and his huge win against top-seeded Medvedev in the previous round. This one might age poorly, but assuming Dimitrov backs up the form he’s been showing lately, he starts as the marginal favorite going into this one. Official Pick: Grigor Dimitrov in three sets.