ATP Stars and WTA Grudge Matches On Tap At Indian Wells
The second round of the ATP begins Saturday at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells and that means some of the fan favorite top-seeded men will take the court, having received byes in the first round.
Novak Djokovic  is headlining the night session in Stadium 1, taking on American qualifier Bjorn Fratangelo. Their only previous meeting was also in the second round at Indian Wells, though back in 2016. Djokovic won 2-6, 6-1, 6-2. Last year, Djokovic lost his opening match at Indian Wells to Taro Daniel, but he has since ascended back to the number one ranking and can take further confidence in his prior success at the tournament. He holds five Indian Wells singles titles.
Alexander Zverev  will face Martin Klizan. The 29-year-old Slovakian lefty held a career-high ranking of 24 back in 2015 and had six titles, but the two have managed to evade each other in their careers so far.
The first match on Stadium 1 may well be the most competitive. Stefano Tsitipas  face Canadian wild card Felix Auger-Aliassime. At only 20 years of age, the young Greek has already at an incredible season, going into the tournament with a 15-5 record that included a semifinal win over Roger Federer in the Australian Open. Breaking into the top 10 only the week the tournament started, he is the first Greek ever to do so. Two years younger than Tsitsipas, Auger-Aliassime is a #NextGenATP player with a promising future. This will be their first meeting and may help set the tone for long careers that will have them cross paths often.
The WTA will wrap up its second round Saturday. One marquee match will be Petra Kvitova  taking on Venus Williams. The two first met in Memphis over ten years ago, when Kvitova was a qualifier and beat the top-seeded Williams in three sets. Going into the second-round match at Indian Wells, they have played each other seven times, with Kvitova leading their head to head 5-2. Their last match was a 2017 US Open quarterfinal, which the American won 6-3, 3-6, 7-6(2). The final match in Stadium 1 features will see Naomi Osaka  beginning her title defense against Kristina Mladenovic. Just about three weeks ago in Dubai, Mladenovic stunned the world number one in a 6-3, 6-3 victory. Osaka had just come off winning the Australian Open and splitting from her coach when she lost to the French player in her first match since Melbourne.