Denis Shapovalov, of Canada, serves to Lloyd Harris, of South Africa, during the third round of the US Open tennis championships, Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021, in New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
- The top half of the BNP Paribas Open men’s singles draw plays Monday, with 14 of 16 seeds still alive
- US Open champion Daniil Medvedev is the only player who’s an overwhelming favorite in his match
- Read on for analysis, news and predictions as the second week at Indian Wells begins
No. 1 seed Daniil Medvedev, the favorite to win the BNP Paribas Open, is the only player whose third-round match Monday appears to be a slam dunk.
Almost all of the other encounters set up as tight affairs, with the resultant fairly close odds.
In about 12 hours, for example, Norrie went from underdog to favorite against Roberto Bautista Agut.
BNP Paribas Open Round of 32 Odds – Oct 11
| Diego Schwartzman (ARG) vs.  Dan Evans (GBR)||-155 / +125|
| Lloyd Harris (RSA) vs.  Casper Ruud (NOR)||+205 / -260|
| Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) vs.  Reilly Opelka (USA)||-105 / -115|
| Denis Shapovalov (CAN) vs.  Aslan Karatsev (RUS)||-125 / +105|
| Cameron Norrie (GBR) vs.  Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP)||-140 / +115|
|Frances Tiafoe (USA) vs.  Hubert Hurkacz (POL)||+160 / -205|
| Andrey Rublev (RUS) vs. Tommy Paul (USA)||-575 / +400|
| Daniil Medvedev (RUS) vs.  Filip Krajinovic (SRB)||-1800 / +850|
Odds as of Oct. 11 at DraftKings
Denis Shapovalov vs Aslan Karatsev
It’s a first-ever meeting between two hard hitters, neither of whom has a ton of momentum coming into the match.
Shapovalov is the slight favorite.
Since the 22-year-old Canadian’s impressive run to the Wimbledon semifinals, he’s 3-6. His opener at Indian Wells against countryman Vasek Pospisil lasted just three games before Pospisil pulled the ripcord with a back injury. So there’s no way to gauge a potential turning of the tide.
How it started.
— Tennis Pig (@TennisPig) October 9, 2021
Meanwhile, Karatsev faded after a start to the season that literally put him on the tennis map for the first time at age 27.
But he did make the quarterfinals last week in San Diego.
Karatsev demolished Italian qualifier Salvatore Caruso in his BNP Paribas Open debut Saturday, losing just two games. Clearly his first career experience with the unique conditions was no problem.
So, relatively speaking, Karatsev in better form.
The Russian is a flat hitter who won’t necessarily get the ball high up enough on Shapovalov to trouble him that way. But the Canadian has been pretty adept at beating himself these days. And the Russian’s power strokes might well tempt him into a hitting battle he’s not consistent enough at the moment to win.
Best Bet: Over 2.5 sets (+135)
Andrey Rublev vs Tommy Paul
The Russian was noting the other day that the courts at Indian Wells made it nigh-on impossible to hit winners.
Of course, winners are Rublev’s stock-in-trade.
He was protesting a little too much; the Russian did manage to hit 31 of them in a 6-3, 6-4 win over Spain’s Carlos Taberner in his opening match.
Still, it took an hour and 36 minutes – evidence of how much harder Rublev has to work to win points than he’d like. So it could be in his head a little bit.
And Tommy Paul, despite his 3-0 record against him, isn’t the ideal opponent in these circumstances.
Paul is that rare American who actually likes the slower surfaces. Despite the rankings disparity (Paul is currently at no. 60), he gave Rublev plenty to handle in their two recent meetings on the slower red clay.
Andrey Rublev vs Tommy Paul Match History
|2021||Masters Madrid||Outdoor Clay||5-6 (5), 6-3, 6-4||Rublev|
|2020||Hamburg||Outdoor Clay||6-1-, 3-6, 6-2||Rublev|
|2018||Washington, D.C.||Outdoor Hard||7-6 (5), 6-4||Rublev|
The American is a great mover who will get a lot of balls back, ideally to Rublev’s backhand. And he will tempt the Russian into going for too much on a surface that makes this a challenge.
While Rublev is heavily favored, this matchup isn’t as clear-cut as it might seem.
Best Bet: Over 22.5 games (+115)
Grigor Dimitrov vs Reilly Opelka
The big-serving Opelka also is not a big fan of the slow Indian Wells surface. He’s also not, generally, a fan of the tournament.
But he’s had a good summer overall including a routine 6-3, 6-4 win over Grigor Dimitrov in Canada on his way to the final.
Dimitrov has had a tough time since the restart of play last summer. But he has shown some signs of life recently.
Dimitrov beat Karatsev in San Diego before losing in three tight sets to eventual champion Casper Ruud.
But it doesn’t feel like enough to justify his favored status in this match.
Best Bet: Opelka in two sets (+185)
Stephanie gets the straight dope from the tennis insiders. On court, she has represented her country internationally. A BA in journalism led to years on the MLB beat and a decade covering tennis globally. She’s written for Postmedia, the Guardian, the New York Times and also publishes OpenCourt.ca.