The ATP Masters 1000 event in Indian Wells reaches the penultimate round and the lineup of tennis stars set to take center court is impressive, beginning with the fascinating all-Spanish showdown between Rafael Nadal and Carlos Alcaraz and concluding with American Taylor Fritz squaring up to Russia’s Andrey Rublev.
Betting online markets are in full swing with a slew of tennis odds for the ATP Indian Wells semi-final matchups. We examine these odds and serve up predictions in this space.
ATP Indian Wells Semi-final Previews
Rafael Nadal vs. Carlos Alcaraz
The mouthwatering clash between Nadal and Alcaraz is aptly being billed as a matchup between the “Master and the Apprentice,” by multiple media outlets and tennis betting circles. If it lives up to expectations, it may well be one of the best contests of the 2022 season.
Nadal is a legend. A master of the game and, arguably, the best tennis player and sportsman Spain has known. Alcaraz at 18 years of age is Spain’s most promising talent and a rising star of the game. A NextGen ATP phenom that has already captured the imagination of tennis fans and critics the world over.
Are you ready for this?@RafaelNadal v. @alcarazcarlos03 @BNPPARIBASOPEN | #IndianWells pic.twitter.com/w4YpOi5x3S
— ATP Tour (@atptour) March 18, 2022
The pair met for the first time last season with Nadal crushing Alcaraz 6-1, 6-2 in the R32 at the Madrid Open, beating his compatriot on his 18th birthday no less. To date, it’s their only meeting.
Alcaraz admitted to being in awe of Nadal at the time and that playing against his idol was a dream come true. He also admitted it was difficult and challenging for those same reasons.
This time around Alcaraz hopes to be better prepared for what Nadal will bring to court. Nadal is in furious form, enjoying one of the best starts to a season in his career as he’s picked up three titles, including his 21st Grand Slam title in Melbourne.
The 35-year-old veteran picked up his 400th Masters victory in beating Nick Kyrgios in the quarterfinals 7-6(0), 5-7, 6-4 and, at the same time, his 19th win of the season to extend his unbeaten run in 2022.
Nadal is one Masters title shy of Novak Djokovic’s record 37 Masters titles. However, before he can look that far ahead, he must contend with his teenage compatriot who has burst onto the scene with the same kind of verve and swagger a teenage Nadal did more than 15 years ago.
Alcaraz blitzed his way through the tournament without dropping a set. He beat Mackenzie McDonald, Roberto Bautista Agut, Gael Monfils and defending champion Cameron Norrie. In reaching the semis, Alcaraz becomes the second youngest semifinalist in the tournament’s history since Andre Aggassi accomplished the feat at 17 years of age in 1988.
Nadal emerges as the favorite to win, but this match may well be closer than the tennis odds would have it. Sentimentalists would love to see Nadal triumph and advance into the final, if only to continue carving his legacy. That said, if Alcaraz wins, it wouldn’t be surprising at all given that he’s already looking Nadal’s heir apparent in the minds of many.
Pick: Nadal -155
Andrey Rublev vs. Taylor Fritz
The clash between Rublev and Fritz is cornered with the 24-year-old Russian at the sportsbook exchange, but the 24-year-old American will have the advantage of being the home favorite and quite likely the crowd favorite too.
Rublev has two titles to his credit after winning at back-to-back tournaments – the Open 13 in Marseille and the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships. He’s riding a 13-match winning streak into the Indian Wells semifinals after dispatching Dominik Koepfer, Francis Tiafoe, Hubert Hurkacz and Grigor Dimitrov without dropping a set. He also improves his record on the season to 18-2.
Rublev and Fritz are level 2-2 in their head-to-head series, splitting their meetings last year. Rublev beat Fritz in Dubai while Fritz returned the favor later in the year at the Paris Masters. The clash in Paris was decided by a handful of points as Fritz edged Rublev 7-5, 7-6(2).
Taylor Fritz backs it up. Returns to the semifinals at the @BNPPARIBASOPEN after last year's breakthrough run. Beats Kecmanovic 7-6 (5), 3-6, 6-1 to set up a Saturday match with Andrey Rublev
Win or lose he'll be the No. 1 American again on Monday#getty pic.twitter.com/pe3FHd2ja6
— Christopher Clarey 🇺🇸 🇫🇷 🇪🇸 (@christophclarey) March 18, 2022
Fritz has had to work hard to reach his second straight Indian Wells semifinal. Since his tournament opener, Fritz has gone the distance in three consecutive matches. In the quarterfinals, he needed three sets to overcome Miomir Kecmanovic 7-6 (5), 3-6, 6-1.
Bookmakers favor Rublev quite firmly in this matchup on account of his stellar form this season and undeniable quality. However, Fritz may well be the value play considering the fact that he’ll have home advantage.
The crowd is sure to be raucous and it will get behind the 24-year-old American to inspire him to victory. For that reason, this might be more of a tossup than most would have it for their tennis picks, especially if it goes the distance.