From a British standpoint Indian Wells has provided home fans with high hopes as Andy Murray, Dan Evans and Cameron Norrie reached the third round of the BNP Paribas Open event.
Today is a hiccup. It was not a great end to the trip. With a bit more focus, I could have been out of there in two sets Dan Evans
The Masters event itself has also provided much of interest with 27 of the seeds reaching their designated slots and those who were beaten, losing to players who have excellent records like the Springbok Kevin Anderson and Murray himself.
However on Monday, Dan Evans became the latest seed to fall leaving his compatriots to continue the British challenge.
Seeded 18, Evans, world ranked 22, knew he had a tough hurdle to clear when he faced the 11th seeded Diego Schwartzman for a place in round four and he looked to have secured that after battling through a tight opening set and then storming into a 4-2 lead in the second.
He saved break points in that sixth game but was unable to do so when he stepped up to serve again in the eighth, at which point the wheels came off for the British No.1. as Schwartzman held for 5-4 and then served out to not only level the match, but then dominate it as he swept through the decider without dropping a game.
The match itself lasted two-hours and 20-minutes with an exhausted Evans admitting that the break in the second set had been the deciding factor.
“I played some good tennis up until 4-3 really, and I sort of blew that game pretty badly,” he admitted after his second loss to the Argentine having also played him a few weeks ago in Cincinnati.
“My legs were fine,” Evans continued. “Three full sets isn’t an issue for me. Nor is five sets. I obviously played a pretty poor game at 4-3 and lost my focus.
“Then he got pretty hot and it just ran away from me really. It was more upstairs than downstairs. I feel like my game is in a good place.
“Today is a hiccup. It was not a great end to the trip. With a bit more focus, I could have been out of there in two sets.
“And we would be having a different conversation here and nothing about my legs. It was a bad end to the match.
“I thought for an hour and a half it was the best tennis I have played in a long time. My game is in a good place. I feel good – I have no issues with my game.”
It was left to Cameron Norrie later in the day, to keep the flag flying into the fourth round and he achieved that with an excellent victory over Roberto Bautista Agut, the 15th seed from Spain.
Seeded 21, the British No.2 world ranked 26, closed the gap in his efforts to overtake Evans for the top national spot, by going at least one round better than his rival at Indian Wells, with his 6-4 5-7 6-3 triumph.
But it had its ups and downs as Norrie was broken four times and saved 10 other break points which the Spaniard held, before making the last 16 where he will face American Tommy Paul who caused the upset of the day when he eliminated the fourth seed Andrey Rublev 6-4 3-6 7-5.
However Norrie, the San Diego finalist, broke the Spaniard six times as he continually pressed his opponent to continue the excellent run of results he has produced this season.
Today Tuesday, Andy Murray will attempt to join Norrie in the last 16 line up when he takes on the third seed Alexander Zverev in what will be their first meeting.
In other matches the sixth seeded Norwegian Casper Ruud was kept on court for almost three hours by South Africa’s Lloyd Harris before emerging the 6-7(4) 6-4 6-4 winner to record his 49th win of the season. His next opponent is Schwartzman.
US Open champion Daniil Medvedev also progressed with a 6-2 7-6 (7-1) victory over Serbia’s Filip Krajinovic and declared he is pleased to reach 50 wins this season.
The top-seeded Russian took to the court following a long rain delay and wasted no time in showing the kind of form that earned him a maiden grand slam title last month.
“I feel like I’m trying to play a little bit less … just playing the biggest tournaments, or the ones that will get me back into shape,” Medvedev said.
“So I’m really happy that I managed to get 50 (wins). It means I was doing pretty good in a lot of them.
“Filip is a really tough opponent. He’s always playing top tennis, tough matches, especially that second set. There were a lot of ups and downs, but a great level from both.”
Up next for world No.2 Medvedev is the Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov, who beat American Reilly Opelka 6-3 6-4 earlier in the day.
Playing at Indian Wells for the first time, Russian 19th seed Aslan Karatsev upset Canada’s 9th seed Denis Shapovalov 7-5 6-2, saving the only break point he faced in the match.
Eighth seed Hubert Hurkacz had little trouble with Frances Tiafoe, rolling past the American in straight sets 6-3 6-2.