Indian Wells R1 previews and predictions: Troicki vs. Dolgopolov, Harrison vs. Dzumhur

Dolgo beats Giraldo

An intriguing opener on Day 1 in Indian Wells will pit Viktor Troicki against Alexandr Dolgopolov. Ryan Harrison and Damir Dzumhur are also on Thursday’s first-round schedule in what will be a rematch of a Memphis quarterfinal.

Alexandr Dolgopolov vs. Viktor Troicki

Troicki and Dolgopolov will be going head-to-head for the third time in their careers and for the first time in almost six full years when they clash in round one of the BNP Paribas Open on Thursday. Both of their previous encounters have gone Troicki’s way; 6-7(4), 7-6(2), 6-1 on the hard courts of New Haven in 2010 and 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 at the 2011 French Open. The 39th-ranked Serb had been in contention for an Indian Wells seed, but consecutive first-round losses at 500-point events (to Richard Gasquet in Rotterdam and Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in Dubai) ended his hopes.

Dolgopolov started this season 1-4, but he is 7-2 in his last nine matches–including 7-1 not counting retirements (he pulled the plug early in last month’s Rio de Janeiro quarterfinals against Pablo Carreno Busta because of a hip injury). The 64th-ranked Ukrainian’s recent run features a title in Buenos Aires, where he ousted Carreno Busta, Pablo Cuevas, and Kei Nishikori along the way. Dolgopolov has dropped his opening match in the desert only once in six previous appearances and he reached the semis in 2014, so he has to like his chances of maintaining momentum.

Pick: Dolgopolov in 3

Damir Dzumhur vs. Ryan Harrison

Harrison and Dzumhur will be facing each other for the second time in their careers and for the second time during this American hard-court swing when they meet again on Thursday. They just squared off in the Memphis quarterfinals, a showdown taken by Harrison 6-3, 6-4 en route to his first-ever ATP title. The American, who registers just two spots off his career-high ranking at 45th in the world, is 7-2 at the ATP level this year and also captured a Challenger title in Dallas.

Dzumhur has been surprisingly relevant so far in 2017. In addition to his quarterfinal performance in Memphis, the world No. 67 from Bosnia and Herzegovina also faced Juan Martin Del Potro in the Argentine’s second match of the season (lost 7-6(5), 4-6, 6-3 in the Delray Beach second round) before making a run to the Dubai quarters that included an upset of Stan Wawrinka. Dzuhmur is playing well, but he struggled to come up with any offensive weapons necessary to hit through Harrison’s defense in Memphis–whereas Harrison has the serve and forehand firepower that can eventually wear down Dzumhur’s counter-punching.

Pick: Harrison in 3

69 Comments on Indian Wells R1 previews and predictions: Troicki vs. Dolgopolov, Harrison vs. Dzumhur

  1. Let me cut to the chase and predict Ricky’s predictions before he gets round to it:

    Top half
    Murray over Tsonga; Zverev over Wawrinka

    Bottom Half
    Querrey over Dimitrov; Djokovic over Federer

    Top half
    Murray over Zverev

    Bottom half
    Querrey over Djokovic

    Murray over Querrey

    • No way Ricky’s going to pick Querrey. I think he will pick Nadal over Fed and even Dimi over Querrey.

      • VR, Ricky always pick AGAINST Rafa when he faces the big four. He will most likely pick Djoko to beat Fed; Djoko to beat Kei and then Murray to beat Djoko in the final.

        • Strange that Ricky never picks Nadal against the Big 4 considering that until Djoko became a robot, Rafa had a very comfortable lead in his head to head against all of the Big 4.

          I doubt Ricky will pick Nadal to make the 4th round. He’ll probably pick Verdasco over Nadal.

        • Ricky picked Rafa to beat Fed AO the AO!

          We are talking about the big four who have dominated that game in this era – Rafa, Fed, Novak and Murray.

            • That was easy, Fed and Rafa were in the final and everyone knows their h2h. According to Ricky, Nadal should have lost in the 3rd round to Zverev.

        • Why would he?

          Rafa hasn’t won a hard court event since 2014.

          He’s also lost the last seven on hard court to Nole all in straight sets with only 3 of 14 sets going beyond nine games.

          Hard to argue against dem apples.

          I’d go out on a limb and pick Rafa (but I’m slightly more biased than Ricky).

          • Nadine wasn’t even talking about Rafa vs Djoko, but Rafa vs A Zverev, vs Raonic or even vs Dimi!

            • So? Ricky did pick Rafa to beat Querrey.

              Again, Ricky is going by recent performance with Rafa.

              I could see why Ricky picked Zverev to beat Rafa at the AO. Zverev is a hot young player with a big serve and powerful groundstrokes who has the game to challenge Rafa. At that time Rafa had not been able to get past the early rounds in slams with the exception of RG in 2015. So it was not an unreasonable prediction. Rafa was down two sets to one and had to battle back in five sets to win. I wasn’t willing to pick against Rafa, merely saying that I thought he could win but that it would be tough.

              Ricky picking Raonic was also reasonable. Taking into account Rafa’s recent performances at slams and Raonic at that point at #3 in the rankIngs with his recent success, was again reasonable.

          • Yes, these are the facts. That was the point which I was making. Ricky is merely going with recent history. Rafa’s struggles in the last two years are not a secret.

            I would take the chance and pick Rafa at this time, but that’s me.

            It’s not a loyalty test.

  2. Yes I agree. I think Rafa has a good shot to beat Fed this time. I picked Dimi in my bracket. Querrey has not been able to follow up on big wins. I am not sure that he will get another result in a more competitive field.

    I picked Dolgo and Harrison in my bracket and will stay with them.

  3. No way Ricky is picking Verdasco over Rafa!

    That is not going to happen! Ricky will pick Novak over Rafa because he has been able to beat him in the last year or two. Should Rafa get a win against Novak and break the pattern, then Ricky might then pick Rafa against him.

  4. If IW conditions are traditional (slow hc, non-AO-tight-felt ball), I think Rafa will win his quarter. Rafa’s biggest challenge there would be Nole in QF (assuming both make it that far), and that one would be a coin flip with many factors, but if asked today, I’d pick Rafa.

    Nole looked much improved in his loss to Kyrgios so Ricky could go either way. As a Rafan who likes to antijinx (although not as much as me), he might lean Nole in that pick.

    Regardless, Rafa beats fed here if courts are traditional IW and I look forward to it.

    Dzumhur in three and Dolgo in two.


    • My feeling is that Rafa’s biggest challenge will be Novak in the quarterfinals, assuming they both get there. I do think it’s a toss up. But Rafa has to break the recent string of consecutive losses to Novak sometime. I think IW’s surface suits Rafa. I am hoping that Acapulco was just a blip and Rafa will show the form that he did at the AO.

      Ricky may well go with Novak over Rafa, given recent history.

      I do like Rafa’s chances against Fed at IW. He almost got him at the AO, on a surface that was more favorable to Fed.

  5. I’m just saying I know how Ricky’s mind works not whether I think Rafa can beat this or that player.

  6. I’m sorry, but I can’t help but laugh to myself when I picture Ricky reading arguments about who people think Ricky will pick for the tournament… 🙂 You guys are like Ricky’s Army haha! On a post that is supposed to be to discuss first round Harrison/Dolgopolov predictions, nonetheless. 🙂

    • Kevin,

      Well put! We should get back to the topic at hand.

      It’s really a pointless discussion to read Ricky’s mind. He is more than capable of making his own case if he so chooses.

      I made my predictions already for the upcoming matches and am done with discussing the whys and wherefores of Ricky’s picks!

      • lolll true NNY! I just wrote another long post.hahaha

        Ricky, can you please tell us who’s read your mind the best?

  7. Lol I agree with Kevin. This is turning out to be a funny conversation lol.

    Anyway, I don’t think Nadline is reading Ricky’s mind well enough here.

    Here is how Ricky’s thinking works in my view:

    -His top criteria is ‘until-proven-otherwise’. For e.g., he’s almost always picked Nadal on clay until someone can prove they are capable of beating nadal there. He picked against Nadal in AO (Zverev and Raonic) because he was like ‘until Nadal proves he is over that long ugly slump we’ve seen in the last two years’, it is not reasonable to pick Nadal against players whose brand of tennis has lately troubled the spaniard a lot. I don’ t think it was unreasonable to pick Zverev AT ALL. Rafa has lost to Raonic pre-AO and he had been so vulnerable in slams last two years! He even lost to lucas pouille at USO!

    Ricky then Picked Nadal to win in 4 sets over a red-hot Dimitrov! and then he picked Nadal over Federer in the final as well.

    Ricky would only go against the odds when the underdog is really on fire and the other player is not feeling confident.

    Ricky has almost always picked Rafa over Roger though!

    • That’s what I’m saying, Ricky stays faithful to past results, but with a tinge of bias against Nadal. Because with a 6:2 head over Raonic, 4 of them on hard one of them a 62 62 victory in the Canadian final and one bagel on clay, had Nadal not proved he could beat Raonic on hard. These victories don’t even include 2 wins by Nadal in Abu Dhabi back to back.

      This is not a serious discussion by the way and it’s not preventing discussion on the 1st round matches.

      • I just get such a kick out of people talking about Ricky as if he’s not in the room, when in reality he sees every one of these comments before everyone else! 🙂 There’s nothing wrong with it! It’s just very silly if you think about it from Ricky’s perspective… I actually find it entertaining!

        • It’s actually a compliment to Ricky that nadline and others find his picks so important.

          On another note, with few exceptions, Ricky doesn’t see the posts before anyone else.

          • Actually, I’m not into predictions at all. I’ve always said they are as good as whistling in the wind. I don’t mind who anyone picks but I often take issue with why people pick who they pick.

          • Nobody claimed you were into predictions though did they.

            You were into criticizing others that like to make predictions with no justification of those criticisms.

            Again, you said Ricky NEVER picks Rafa on hardcourt (since Nole’s 2011 transformation), which was wrong.

            So when should he have (assuming he’s not a blind fan)?


      • Raonic ended 2016 playing really well and Rafa had two real bad years and he was not even making slam quarters regularly. Rafa lost to Raonic right before AO so actually the burden of ‘until proven otherwise’ lied with Rafa during the AO! He succeeded. Now, if you keep picking against him then you question the reasoning!

    • vr,

      I like your take on how Ricky makes his picks! Well done!

      I believe that Ricky also went with Rafa over Monfils at the AO. Rafa showed some real toughness and grit in that win over Zverev. That got the ball rolling. With each match you could see him getting better and better.

      It’s kind of funny and not to be taken seriously when all is said and done. But it is true that we talk about Ricky as though he’s not here and as if he doesn’t see all our comments himself!

      There is no need for anyone to get defensive either. I just had nothing more to say about why Ricky makes his picks. He has his reasons and usually is pretty straightforward about his reasoning. I don’t think he has a bias against Rafa either!

    • Really? Gee whiz, that’s a surprise! Like anyone here really thinks that predictions do have an effect on matches!

    • Actually in some sense they do.

      Many players don’t like being perceived as the favourite – i.e. the player predicted or expected to win. They like to put the pressure back on someone else and would rather play the underdog role to remove the pressure of expectations. Others relish the role.


  8. All I see is a very tough draw for Rafa! I wonder if it could have been any worse than this…probably not…

  9. AT 4:37 PM and AT 4:51 PM,

    Nadline and Lucky are both wrong (more usual with nadline, who just moves the goalposts when she’s proven wrong LOL):

    nadline10 MARCH 8, 2017 AT 3:42 PM
    Strange that Ricky never picks Nadal against the Big 4

    In his pre-tournament picks, Ricky picked Rafa over Nole in the final. Rafa lost to Klizan in the QF.

    luckystar MARCH 8, 2017 AT 4:37 PM
    Nadine wasn’t even talking about Rafa vs Djoko, but Rafa vs A Zverev, vs Raonic or even vs Dimi!

    nadline10 MARCH 8, 2017 AT 4:51 PM
    lucky star, Exactly.

    Yes that’s exactly what she was talking about…
    nadline10 MARCH 8, 2017 AT 3:42 PM
    Strange that Ricky never picks Nadal against the Big 4

    Get your stories straight LOLOLOL!!!


    • Dear Hawkeye, my comment at 4.37pm was referring to Nadine’s comments at 4.16 and 4.17pm. Clearly she was referring to Rafa’s matches vs Zverev and Raonic; its not about potential meeting with Djoko which never happened.

      I don’t know how this conversation has continued for so long and so far now; Ricky can pick whoever he wants but it’s obvious that at start of any HC tournament, Ricky always pick Rafa to lose early, once against a potential tough opponent.

      He picked Rafa to beat Monfils only after seeing how he was able to beat Zverev; likewise when he saw Rafa beating Dimi the SHBHer in the SF and so thought that he would beat Fed another SHBHer whom Rafa owned all along esp in slams.

      At the start of any HC event Ricky would not pick Rafa to win the event, in the past two years; can’t blame him as Rafa’s results on the HCs left very much to be desired! Not even reaching a final could ensure a win, regardless of his opponent in the final! It’s unlike the Rafa in his heydays, when he had high success rate in finals!

      • Dear lucky, and much more clearly I was referring to:
        MARCH 8, 2017 AT 3:38 PM
        Ricky NEVER picks Nadal on hardcourt.

        When I said in the post you took out of context:

        MARCH 8, 2017 AT 4:29 PM
        Why would he?

        Rafa hasn’t won a hard court event since 2014.

  10. Troicki has a 3:0 h2h lead over Dolgo but that match could go either way depending on which Dolgo turns up. I can’t remember the last time I saw Harrison play so I’ve got nothing to go on but it will be a tough one against Dzumhur.

      • Then why did you say he NEVER picks Rafa on hard court against the Big 4?

        Note: This is a rhetorical question. Like a certain orange leader, you have “alternate” facts. Reality isn’t important (other than your own).

      • nadline10 (AT 8:19 PM),
        In 2013, after Rafa’s comeback, Ricky picked Djoko to win 10 titles: Indian Wells, Miami, Madrid, Rome, Wimbledon, Montreal, Cincinnati, USO, Shanghai, WTF.
        Djoko won 2 of them (Shanghai, WTF) and Rafa – 6.

  11. hawkeye MARCH 8, 2017 AT 8:43 PM
    “On another note, with few exceptions, Ricky doesn’t see the posts before anyone else.”

    That is true, otherwise some of your posts wouldn’t make the cut. 😉 😉 😉

    • I agree about Delpo not winning that quarter. This time I think Steve is wrong. But then – it’s just a prediction!

  12. No way Delpo wins this quarter…I would go with Rafa all the way to the finals but don’t know what to expect when Rafa meets Nole…Novak even though not in his best still makes the biggest threat for Rafa IMO…

    • I hope you’re right Natashao.

      Steve Tignor was probably picking Delpo for a change, after picking the big three to win yet they failed to deliver according to whoever he chose to win. He chose Rafa to beat Fed at AO but he was wrong. I couldn’t remember who he chose to win AO at the start of it, probably one of the top two guys and he was wrong again.

  13. And I know many will say Rafa lost to Query and can’t be a sure thing for going deep, but IW is one of, if not the favorite, HC tourney for Rafa and I know he will play well!
    Vamos Rafa!

    • I have chosen to think that Acapulco was a blip for Rafa. He likes IW and the court conditions suit his game. I think he can go deep here, even with his tough draw. I am hoping to see the Rafa at the AO.

      I think Rafa can beat Fed if they meet in the fourth round. If Rafa meets Novak in the quarterfinals it’s a toss up. But I have to believe that Rafa will beat him at some point. IW could be the place.

      • I think whether Rafa or Roger plays Novak in the QF, Novak is in serious danger. I would give either Rafa or Roger a very good chance at that match. Djoker is so vulnerable right now. He could crash out before the quarters for sure. Del Po Zverev Kyrgios could all take him out.

  14. The opportune time to win big in a tennis tournament is at it’s infancy(that is if u bet), when there are a lot of matches to pick from.
    Everyone should be careful, bold and don’t be discouraged if you fail, just pick yourself up dust clothes and put a smile on your face because you might when BIGLY next time.

    If you don’t bet please don’t and don’t be encouraged by my comments that an ORDER sergeant.

  15. Am not done with my picks yet, because am combining ATP, WTA and the NBA.
    Am not a punctual man that’s my weakness, sometimes it because am working or waiting for the LINE of the game.
    I have weakened so many lovely relationships because of my lack of punctuality, I NEED HELP.

    Now getting back to business I like Ricky’s pick am not saying I agree with all of them because am not done with mine.

    On a good day Ricky normally gets 70%-80% of his pick right and that’s not bad when you compare his picks with yours.
    When am done with my picks my mission is to find the 20%-30% that would fail, I know that sounds negative & hard, some might even say that’s MISSION IMPOSSIBLE!
    Well, am the guy that turns impossibilities into possibilities, you just have to ask around.

    Wish you all the best in INDIAN WELLS!

  16. I would love to see A. Dolgopolov, F. Tiafoe & R. Harrison win and when you look at their odds they are the favorites to win because their odds are low.
    Odds can be deceptive at times but in this case I don’t think the are totally wrong because I think R. Harrison has what it takes win.
    Picking this 3 players to win in my opinion is not the best pick because their opponents are competitive, dangerous and tough, the over/under in my opinion is the best pick.
    Ricky picked this three players to win in 3 sets suggesting it might go OVER.
    It might go under, but am looking at the first set over/under 9.5 I believe A. Dolgopolov vs V. Troicki would go over 9.5 in the 1set and the odd is far better.
    Now there is something I call BURNING OF SLIPS, it’s were I play different slips with different picks, aiming at a particular odd with the same amount, the likelihood of you failing is low and winning HIGH if you’re smart, which I believe you guys are.
    For example A. Dolgopolov vs V. Troicki in my 1st slip am going with the over 9.5 in the 1 set with other games as well.
    In the 2nd= A.dolgopolov to win.
    In the 3rd= over 22.5 games in total am not 100% about this pick.
    In the 4th= V. Troicki to win just in case dolgopolov tanks.
    Now I add this match with other matches from the NBA, SOCCER and sometimes I just stick with tennis, especially when there are a lot of matches to pick from, am not done with my predictions so.


  17. I might even take the over 9.5 games in the first slip and the third slip am not comfortable with the over 22.5 games in total not saying it won’t come through, am just confident in the 1 set.
    If it goes under am going to waterboard V. Troicki.

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