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Indian Wells Tennis 2021: Men's Final Schedule and Predictions After Semifinals

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIOctober 17, 2021

AP Photo/John McCoy

Cameron Norrie and Nikoloz Basilashvili will face off in the BNP Paribas Open men's final after winning their semifinal matchups on Saturday in Indian Wells, California.

Norrie, the No. 21 seed, defeated No. 23 Grigor Dimitrov 6-2, 6-4. Basilashvili, the No. 29 seed, beat No. 31 Taylor Fritz 7-6 (5), 6-3.

The two men will face off in the men's final, which will start no earlier than 7 p.m. ET from Indian Wells Tennis Garden. The women's final, which will be between No. 21 Paula Badosa and No. 27 Victoria Azarenka, will begin at 4 p.m. Tennis Channel will be the television home for both finals.

The men's final should be an interesting matchup between two underdogs who have beaten tough opponents and looked quite dominant at times.

On paper, Norrie appears to be the favorite.

A look at Tennis Abstract's ATP ELO Ratings favors Norrie, who has a 1,846.6 hard Elo score and 1925.5 overall ELO score. Basilashvili is listed with a 1,725.8 hard Elo and 1785.0 overall Elo.

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For more of an idea of what that means as it pertains to predicting a winner, here's an explanation from Tennis Abstract:

A 100-point difference in Elo ratings implies that the favorite has a 64% chance of winning; 200 points implies 76%, 300 points implies 85%, 400 points implies 91%, and 500 points implies 95%. The overall rating ("Elo") doesn't consider surface, and the surface-specific ratings ("Hard" etc.) are based solely on matches played on a single surface.

That gives a solid edge to Norrie. From a head-to-head perspective, the two men have played each other just once, but Norrie earned an emphatic 6-0, 6-3 win at ATP Rotterdam on March 1.

Norrie won 70 percent of his first-serve points compared to just 48 percent for Basilashvili. He won 5-of-8 break points, while Basilashvili had just one break-point opportunity.

As far as current form goes, Norrie started this tournament with a trio of three-set victories. To his credit, he didn't break much of a sweat in any of the third sets with 6-0, 6-2 and 6-3 results there.

He's been dominant ever since, winning 24 of a possible 32 games in two straight-set wins over Diego Schwartzman (6-0, 6-2) and Dimitrov.

Basilashvili has alternated three straight-set wins with a pair of three-set victories. Tiebreakers have been his friend, as he's gone 3-0 in them this tournament. He also owns one of the most impressive victories this year at Indian Wells, taking down No. 2 Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-2, 2-6, 6-4 in the quarterfinals.

In the end, give the edge to Norrie, although it's far from given that he'll waltz to a victory. The guess here is that he takes the first set before Basilashvili wins the second in a tiebreaker. Look for Norrie to bounce back in the third with an early break en route to the title.

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