There will be no shortage of star power on display at Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Southern California on Saturday, as second-round singles action continues at the 2014 BNP Paribas Open.
In the women's draw, top-seeded Li Na and defending champion Maria Sharapova will make their debuts. Meanwhile, the men's singles second round will kick off with a handful of big names, including defending champion Rafael Nadal, four-time winner Roger Federer, reigning Australian Open champion Stanislas Wawrinka and two-time Grand Slam winner Andy Murray.
With the stars set to come out in full force on Saturday, let's get you set for another exciting day of tennis at Indian Wells.
|Stadium 1||(1) Li Na vs. Jie Zheng||2 p.m.|
|Stadium 1||Lukas Rosol vs. (5) Andy Murray||4 p.m.|
|Stadium 1||Paul-Henri Mathieu vs. (7) Roger Federer||6 p.m.|
|Stadium 1||(4) Maria Sharapova vs. Julia Goerges||8 p.m.|
|Stadium 1||(1) Rafael Nadal vs. Radek Stepanek||10 p.m.|
|Stadium 2||(3) Stanislas Wawrinka vs. Ivo Karlovic||8 p.m.|
*Click here to view Saturday's complete tournament schedule/matchups via BNPParibasOpen.com.
*Click here to view updated draws via BNPParibasOpen.com.
Day 3 Predictions
Defending Champ Nadal Will Start Fast
Reigning men's champion Nadal will begin his journey for a second straight title at Indian Wells on Saturday against Czech veteran Radek Stepanek.
Keep in mind that Rafa is 6-0 all time against the 35-year-old, beating him most recently at the Miami Masters two years ago. Nadal has lost just two sets to Stepanek since their first meeting back in 2004 and has never dropped a set in only two hard-court meetings.
Therefore, look for Nadal to cruise to a straight-sets win on Saturday, potentially setting up another tricky early round matchup in the third round on Monday, per The New York Times' Ben Rothenberg:
Another tricky player in Rafael Nadal's section: Alexandr Dolgopolov, who first plays Smyczek-Sock winner. Tough road for Rafa. #BNPPO14— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) March 4, 2014
Down the road, Nadal could potentially see Andy Murray in the quarterfinals and either Stanislas Wawrinka or Roger Federer in the semifinals.
The fact Nadal could then potentially face off against two-time Indian Wells champion Novak Djokovic in the final gives this tournament a Grand Slam feel.
Upset Pick: Lleyton Hewitt Over No. 17 Kevin Anderson
With the top 32 men hitting the courts for the first time on Saturday, there are sure to be a few notable upsets. One of the first second-round showdowns with the biggest upset potential will be Lleyton Hewitt vs. No. 17 Kevin Anderson.
The streaking Kevin Anderson lands nowhere near Berdych for once! He opens against Hewitt-Ebden winner, then Youzhny, Wawrinka. #BNPPO14— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) March 4, 2014
A two-time major winner, Hewitt survived a thrilling three-set match against compatriot Matthew Ebden in the first round on Thursday and will have had an opportunity to adjust to the playing surface. Not to mention Hewitt won the only past meeting between these players, beating Anderson in three sets in Stockholm back in 2012.
Regardless of which player prevails, it'll be a fun matchup to watch from a physical standpoint as Anderson is nearly a foot taller than his Aussie competitor. At 6'8", the South African is able to cover lots of ground and generate plenty of pace on his serve. But even at 5'11", Hewitt's scrappy style and immense crowd support will give him a puncher's chance in this matchup.
It's also worth noting that a win on Saturday would mark the 600th of Hewitt's career. With a win, the draw could potentially open up for Hewitt, as he would face the winner of Michael Russell vs. No. 14 Mikhail Youzhny in the third round.
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