The Picks: Feliciano Lopez v Kei Nishikori, Simona Halep v Carla Suarez Navarro and more, at Indian Wells

Nishikori IW 15 TR MALT3006

March 18

Stadium 1

Feliciano Lopez v Kei Nishikori

Lopez is much more steady than he once was. His left-handed service is wicked, he has a sweet stroke on the net and can be cagey. But Nishikori has a tremendous backhand and won’t be afraid pulling himself too wide. He is way faster and will pull himself to and fro until the Spanish will become frustrated. Nishikori will win in two tough sets.

Simona Halep v Carla Suarez Navarro

Halep looked extremely impressive in taking down Pliskova yesterday, returning very well against the hard server. Now she has to be patient against Suarez, who has played very well this season and is moving forward very quickly. They are both very fast and both can rip the forehands, but the backhand Halep is more effective than the Spaniard is and will mix it up on her first serves. Halep will win in three sets.

Gilles Simon v Rafael Nadal

Does Simon have a real chance against Nadal, who is playing better than better? Perhaps, but he is going to play as well as he can against Rafa, who’s forehand in deep, extremely solid and oh-so lethal. Simon is a smart player and he likes to run around and changing long rallies, but in order to best him, you have to outlast him. Simon will come into the net more often, and he will be inspired, but Nadal will step on his shoes in three sets.

Stadium 2

Andy Murray v Adrian Mannarino

Mannarino has improved over the past year or so and the 26 year old doesn’t shy away. However, the Frenchman isn’t extremely powerful and isn’t quite sure how he will attack Murray. The Scot really wants to go deep here and he has looked pretty good this week, with his backhand has been legendary. Murray will win in straight sets.

Lukas Rosol v Tomas Berdych

Rosol is playing better now than he was at the Davis Cup and both he and Berdych should have played at home too. But Berdych decided not to, which helped the Aussies win at the DC, while Tomas could only shake his head. However, Berdych didn’t have to play there for hours and hours and he rested. Now he looks fresh and is ready to crack at the big boys. First, he will have not knock down a low-ranking player, which he will do, and beat Rosol in straight sets.

Milos Raonic v Tommy Robredo

This could be a very interesting match because the veteran Robredo looked tall when he took our Dimitrov on Tuesday. The Spaniard never quit. However, he likes long rallied and while he has improved his serves and backhands and can go deep, he won’t be able to aces after ace against Raonic, and swing away with his phenomenal forehands. Robredo will win a set, bit Raonic will grab it in three sets.

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