7 must-see matches on Super Saturday at the BNP Paribas Open

It’s a super Saturday of world-class tennis at the BNP Paribas Open. Every court at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden is packed with incredible matches, intriguing storylines and, of course, the promise of quality tennis โ€“ but we’ve (sort of) narrowed down the action to the Top 7 matches to watch. Did we miss something? Call us @BNPPARIBASOPEN on Twitter.

7. [32] Bianca Andreescu vs. [WC] Peyton Stearns

17:00 PST โ€“ Stadium 3. The 2019 BNP Paribas Open champion vs. the reigning NCAA champion โ€“ it’s a challenging matchup between two talented women just a year apart in age, but a world apart in their professional tennis journeys.

While Andreescu turned pro at a young age and won her first Grand Slam title just a few years into her career, Stearns took the college route, choosing to balance education and competitive tennis. The Canadian quality player will be an excellent test for the American wild card in this intriguing second round matchup.

6. [PR] Stan Wawrinka vs. [26] Miomir Kecmanoviฤ‡

Second after 11:00am PST โ€“ Stadium 6. It may not be the highlight of the day, but it has the makings of a great one in the intimate setting of Stadium 6 at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. Kecmanoviฤ‡ may not be a household name (yet), but the Serb has reached the quarterfinals in two of his three appearances at the BNP Paribas Open and is clearly giving his all in the desert. Wawrinka is a former finalist โ€“ and there’s no denying the quality he’s capable of when playing well, even if he’s past his prime.

5. [10] Elena Rybakina in regards to [WC] Sofia Kenin

Third after 11:00am PST โ€“ Stadium 2. Two Grand Slam champions at completely different career stages. On the one hand, you have Rybakina, who just completed a run to the Australian Open final in January after her first major title at Wimbledon last season. On the other hand, you have Kenin, who has the same Slam resume (one title, one final), but is currently on his way back from years of injury struggles.

If they both live up to what they’re capable of, this mix of styles and matching pedigrees could be the right popcorn pick.

4. Carlos Alcaraz vs. (P) Thanasi Kokkinakis

18:00 PST โ€“ Stadium 1. Last year’s semifinal was just the beginning for Alcaraz. After the BNP Paribas Open last year, the electrifying Spaniard won two Masters 1000 titles and his first Grand Slam title at the US Open. He will face a player ranked well below his quality against Thanasi Kokkinakis as the Aussie continues to bounce back from another round of injuries.

Wednesday, March 8, 2023 – Carlos Alcaraz practices with Frances Tiafoe during the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, California. (Jared Wickerham/BNP Paribas Open)

3. [PR] Karolina Muchova vs. [14] Victoria Azarenka

11:00 AM PST โ€“ Stadium 1. Maybe a little sleepy, but Karolina Muchova (entering this year’s event with an injury-protected ranking) is a joy to watch when her game is in full swing and capable of hitting any shot from anywhere on the court. Azarenka is a two-time champion here and a finalist in 2021 โ€“ she knows these conditions and thrives in them. This could be anyone’s game and is a great way to kick off a packed schedule on the Stadium 1 pitch.

2. [11] Jannik Sinner vs. Richard Gasquet

11:00 AM PST โ€“ Stadium 3. Speaking of great ways to kick off a jam-packed schedule, this Sinner-Gasquet clash is the opening slot in an excellent order of play at Stadium 3, but it’s also one of the prime-time matchups between two of the best backs in the men’s game. Expect plenty of ooh’s and ahh’s from the crowd, who won’t be able to resist admiring the quality of the shot-making โ€“ no matter who they’re rooting for!

1. [4] Taylor Fritz vs. Ben Shelton

Third after 11:00am PST โ€“ Stadium 1. The defending BNP Paribas Open champion, Fritz begins his title defense against compatriot Ben Shelton in a match that basically writes its own story. Long considered the future of American tennis, Fritz fulfilled years of promise by winning this title a year ago; a year later, Ben Shelton has the same expectations as Fritz.

Sunday, March 20, 2022 โ€“ Taylor Fritz reacts after winning the men’s singles title at the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, California. (Jared Wickerham/BNP Paribas Open)

Both play similar ‘American’ games with big serves and big shots, but Shelton’s lefty serve and explosive movement throughout the court offers a compelling contrast to Fritz’s smooth baseline hitting. It’s a clash of styles and stories that is sure to make for a successful encounter to close out our Saturday day session at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.

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