INDIAN WELLS, Calif. – The flow of the BNP Paribas Open is a strange one.
The players often arrive a week early to get ready – happily so, with the (usually) nice weather, and the opportunity to stay in a home rather than a hotel and put down roots for a bit.
The conditions also require some adjustment. They are an unusual mixture of a rather slow, gritty hard court and the desert air that makes the ball fly at times.
But for the seeded players, who have a first-round bye, it’s a long wait. That’s why many of them play doubles. At least then, they can get on the court a little earlier.
So finally, on Sunday, Canadian Denis Shapovalov got to play his first singles match. And he had a tough one, against American Steve Johnson.
But Shapovalov was impressive in getting through, 6-3, 6-4.
His next match is a bigger challenge, as the No. 24 seed faces No. 10 seed Marin Cilic.
Here’s what he said after the victory.
Seeds by the wayside
Shapovalov took advantage of a big Canadian contingent of fans, as Stadium 3 was packed for the spirited encounter.
The fans helped offset the popularity of Steve Johnson, a native southern Californian who had a lot of support.
That was especially true as he tried to mount a comeback late in the match. But it wasn’t to be.
Johnson’s racket paid the price.
Next up for Shapovalov is a big challenge, in a draw that did him no favors.
Other than that No. 10 vs. No. 24, there are rather few third-round matchups on the men’s side in which two seeded players are facing each other.
In theory, all 16 matches should have featured seeds.
In reality, the way things shook out, there are only three others: No. 2 Nadal vs. No. 25 Schwartzman, No. 8 Isner vs. No. 32 Pella and No. 7 Thiem vs. No. 27 Simon.
Everywhere else, there have been upsets – at least on paper.