2019 BNP Paribas Open, Indian Wells: Rafael Nadal vs Filip Krajinovic, Preview and Prediction
The two have never met each other, and the gulf in their rankings suggests a possible one-sided match. However, on a closer look, it may actually turn out to be a competitive one for two reasons.
First, the Serbian has been a former top 30 player and his current ranking of 113 is more due to his long injury-induced layoff than a reflection of his ability on the tennis court, or lack thereof.
Secondly, Krajinovic has been in great form in this tournament. He has played five matches so far in the tournament, including two qualifying matches. And he has won each of those matches in straight sets!
He has defeated players with much better pedigree than his own. The twentieth seed David Goffin and the in-form Russian Daniil Medvedev are among the opponents who have faced defeats against the Serbian.
He was impressive in his match against Goffin, especially on his return game. He broke the Belgian six times, though he himself was broken thrice too. He did even better against Medvedev as he allowed the Russian to take only five games off him.
He broke the young Russian three times and was not broken even once. He will have to play even better in the next round as his opponent is the incomparable Rafael Nadal.
Nadal too has been quietly impressive in his two matches so far. He seems to have left behind the disappointment of the Australian Open final no-show and a shock loss to Kyrgios at Acapulco. He was imperious in his first match against Jared Donaldson, where he allowed the American to win just two games in the match.
In his next match against the twenty-fifth seed Diego Schwartzman, he displayed tennis of the highest quality. He was especially dominant on his serve. He won a whopping 81% on his first serve points and an equally impressive 73% on his second serve points.
His return game was outstanding as well, as he broke the Argentine four times, without ever allowing himself to be broken even once. He goes into his fourth round match against Krajinovic as the overwhelming favourite.
Prediction: Rafael Nadal to win in Straight Sets