At Indian Wells this weekend, double competition got kicking in earnest, with both men and women battling in team fashion to earn a spot among the winners at the BNP Paribas Open. As the perennial tournament favorites, Bob & Mike Bryan are also big fan favorites, and hundreds of onlookers were disappointed on Monday night when rain washed away their chance to see the brothers in action.
Those evening clouds may have dispersed, but they still hung over the court on Tuesday when the Bryans were upended by unseeded Dominic Inglot & Franko Skugar, 3-6, 6-3, 10-3. The loss was equally stunning in its brevity, coming in at exactly 30 minutes. Inglot/Skugar dominated on the second serve, winning most of theirs as they Bryans dropped an uncharacteristic 60% of their own. Usually powerful from the service line, the brothers were as consistent as ever in placing the serve, but struggled to win it. Given five chances to break, Inglot/Skugar captured four of them, and the hometown favorites were suddenly out of the tournament.
Now the 1, 2, 3, and 4 seeds are out in Men’s doubles, leaving Colombia’s Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah as the team to beat in the men’s draw. Farah was a three time All American in both singles and doubles at USC beginning in 2007, and his partnership with Cabal extends as far back as the 2004, when they lost in the second round at Medellin, Colombia. They won their first of eleven doubles titles together in 2014 at Rio de Janeiro, plus four titles in 2016, and most recently captured the ATP Masters crown in 2018. They have won two hard court doubles titles, and are poised now to capture their third with a win this weekend in Indian Wells. Farah is the #10 ranked doubles player in the world, and he returns to the court with Cabal in tomorrow’s Stadium 3 nightcap.
He’s not the only USC alum still in the mix at The BNP. Kaitlyn Christian is in the quarterfinals with her partner, Long Beach’s Asia Muhammad, opposite Mertens/Sabalenka. More on this Wednesday match-up in tomorrow’s report.
Lastly, by way of update, the Men’s draw is completely wide open with #1 Novak Djokovic among those making surprise exits on Monday and Tuesday. Alexander Zverev, Kei Nishikori, Marin Cilic, and Daniil Medvedev are all been eliminated, opening the door for names like Monfils, Isner, and Thiem while #2 Rafael Nadal, #4 Roger Federer, and Stan Wawrinka remain in the hunt.
On the women’s side, a clash between #1 Naomi Osaka and #2 Simona Halep in on the minds of fans at Indian Wells, but Venus Williams – who defeated fellow American Christina McHale in straight sets to move to the Round of 16 – remains a crowd favorite.
And don’t miss legendary Los Angeles sportswriter Bill Dwyre’s take on the first weekend at Indian Wells Tennis Garden, a venue that has grown by leaps and bounds to become a monster tournament for players and fans alike.