While much of the focus in the men’s draw will be on the match between Carlos Alcaraz and Rafael Nadal, the other half of that equation also offers up an intriguing matchup. Andrey Rublev looks to continue his impressive run of form against Taylor Fritz, who is seeking to make a Masters 1000 final for the first time.
Fritz is now in the semi finals at Indian Wells for the second time in two years after beating Miomir Kecmanovic 7-6 3-6 6-1 in the quarter finals. It hasn’t been the toughest run for him with the American avoiding both Matteo Berrettini and Alexander Zverev on the way here. The difference between those who can take the next step and those who can’t has been taking advantage of broken down draws and Fritz has aced it in that respect.
Rublev extended his winning streak to 13 with a 7-5 6-2 win over Grigor Dimitrov thanks to a strong serving performance and controlled power from the baseline. A third straight title would be a big deal for the Russian who has had sometimes unfair criticism when it comes to his performances in bigger tournaments. “Since the beginning, it was more about who would be the first one, who would start to lead the point, who would start to dictate to play more aggressive. Both of us would like to take our forehand and try to dictate, so it was just who’s going to be the first one.” he said.
Rublev will go into this one as the favourite but it is unlikely he will be able to tough out a victory without a performance close to his best. Both men are serving well and full of confidence but eventually it feels like the Russian will overwhelm his opponent in the longer rallies and eventually hit through him. “I think all the matches I’ve played so far, I knew that I can get away with… not ripping everything from the baseline. With him, there’s no question about it. So I think just knowing that, I’ll be leaning into my shots a little bit more, playing a bit better, more aggressive from the baseline. But I’ve got to keep serving the way I’ve been serving.” Fritz said on the matchup.
Prediction – Andrey Rublev in three sets