Best bets for ATP Indian Wells semifinals
The two semi-finals at the BNP Paribas Open are scheduled for Saturday 18 March. We see Daniil Medvedev against Frances Tiafoe and Carlos Alcaraz against Jannik Sinner.
Storylines that matter
Current world No. 2 Carlos Alcaraz, the 19-year-old Spaniard has a chance to reclaim world No. 1 by winning the tournament. He would snatch it from Novak Djokovic, who was forced to sit out due to his vaccination status. Should Alcaraz miss a title, Djokovic remains number 1.
Meanwhile, Medvedev is on an absolute rift, having won 18 straight games since Valentine’s Day, resulting in three consecutive titles in Rotterdam, Doha and Dubai. Medvedev is 19-2 this year and looking to extend his run to win his fifth ATP 1000 tournament and first at Indian Wells.
Then there’s Jannik Sinner, the 21-year-old Italian who is aiming for his first ATP Masters 1000 title and second title of the year after winning the ATP 250 Montpellier. This is the second Masters 1000 semifinal of Sinner’s career after losing to Hubert Hurkacz at the Masters 1000 Miami Finals in 2021. Earlier this month I wrote that Indian Wells could be one of three good spots for Sinner to win, so this upcoming match holds plenty of intrigue.
Frances Tiafoe is the only remaining American in the group. He also wants to win his first Masters 1000 title and holds a record of 33-33 wins/losses in such events. This will be Tiafoe’s first Masters 1000 semi-final, with his previous bests being two quarter-final losses to Felix Auger-Aliassime at the Paris 2022 event and to Denis Shapovalov in Miami in 2019.
Carlos Alcaraz -3 (-180 ML) vs. Jannik Sinner (+150 ML), OV/UN 22.5
These two young guns are split 2-2 in head-to-head duels, with Carlitos winning the last match. He defeated Sinner in five sets at the 2022 US Open, the only tough outdoor event they have played against each other. Sinner’s baseline strength is miles ahead of everyone and causes problems for all of his opponents, such as: We witnessed his quarterfinal match against Taylor Fritz.
The problem with this power is that it wears off as the game progresses. Sinner’s average forehand speed in the first set was 81 mph, dropping to 73 mph in the third set as conditions turned cooler and fatigue set in. In this match against Alcaraz, we know that Sinner’s power is too overwhelming on a faster surface like grass, but because of that power, Sinner is more likely to win the opening set. Once that power wears off, Alcaraz can take over. He is fit enough and the better slow court player of the two. He also has the best defense Sinner has faced while having the ability to generate his own pace. Once Sinner’s strength wanes, Alcaraz will lengthen rallies, rack up points and use his full-court play (volleyball, drop-shot, etc.) to claim victory. Grab your popcorn, it’s gonna be good.
Best Bet: OVER 22.5 games
Alternative bet: OVER 2.5 Total Sets (+135)
Daniil Medvedev -4 (-375 ML) vs Frances Tiafoe (+290 ML), OV/UN 22
Medvedev holds a 4-0 record over Tiafoe. Not only is Meddy in top form, having won three straight titles, he’s also been playing aggressive rally extension since his ankle mishap against Alexander Zverev in the round of 16. The most important factor in this matchup is the type of game plan that Tiafoe will present. Like most players, it’s over before it even starts if they don’t lean hard into the net game.
Medvedev is the second best baseline player behind only Djokovic. At this point, it’s pretty close who’s the best between the two. If you’re trying to beat the best baseline player from the baseline, it won’t work for you. Tiafoe will have the audience, but Medvedev is playing too clean.
Best bet: Medvedev -4cu games
Alternative bet: A Medvedev ML + Alcaraz ML parlay (-105) is intriguing