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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Monday October 11, 2020

 
Tommy Paul

Tommy Paul notched his biggest career victory on Monday night, toppling World No.5 Andrey Rublev at Indian Wells.

Photo Source: Getty

On a blustery evening at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden that saw many big names in American tennis miss the mark, inspiration came from an unlikely source: Tommy Paul.

Tennis Express

The 24-year-old knocked off No.4-seeded Andrey Rublev on Stadium 4 in front of a rowdy gang of fans that braved the chilly, windy and sometimes rainy evening to cheer for a milestone win for the World No. 60.

Paul was the last American hope after Coco Gauff, Amanda Anisimova and Frances Tiafoe had all fallen in the night session. Gauff fell in straight sets to Paula Badosa, Anisimova was routinely dispatched by 2021 Roland Garros champion Barbora Krejcikova and Tiafoe could do little to stop the momentum of Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz, but Paul, a gifted shotmaker with oodles of upside, gave American fans something to relish.


Rublev, on the other hand, wasn’t really himself in the match. He was irritable from the moment the match started, after a rain delay and a court change from Stadium 3 to Stadium 4, perhaps due to the winds that dragged down the level of play early, but gradually eased as the night went on.

The Russian, endowed with jaw-dropping power and one of the most feared ground games on tour, did manage to turn the tides on Paul and take the second set, and laterhe caught a break when Paul missed a very makeable backhand on his first match point at 5-3 in the third. He greedily took advantage of that Paul faux pas to break serve and level the set at 5-all.

Surely Paul’s chance had already passed… but the American’s jitters seemed to subside as he recalibrated and pushed past Rublev confidently, holding serve for 6-5 and then converting his fourth match point in the next game to lock up the biggest victory by ranking of his career.

Rublev is the highest seed to fall on the men’s side thus far at Indian Wells. He drops to 47-17 in the season and 3-1 against Paul.

Menacing Medvedev Still Streaking

Daniil Medvedev was made to work against Serbia’s Filip Krajinovic on Stadium 1 on Monday, but once again the Russian confidently found his way through his tricky adversary, just as he did at this year’s Australian Open when he topped Krajinovic in five sets (from two sets down).


It wasn’t Medvedev perfection from start to finish, but there were spurts of flawless tennis and when he wasn’t perfect the 2021 US Open champion from Russia demonstrated a keen ability to will himself to a higher level, as he did in the second-set tiebreaker, when he raced away from Krajinovic to seal the match, 6-2, 7-6(1).

The round of 16 is set on the men’s side at Indian Wells. Medvedev will next face Grigor Dimitrov, while Paul will take on Great Britain’s Cameron Norrie.

Also starring in the round of 16 on the top half: Aslan Karatsev, who defeated Denis Shapovalov, will face Hubert Hurkacz, while Diego Schwartzman gets Casper Ruud.

It’s the bottom half in action on Tuesday, as they’ll play their third-round matches, with a battle between And Murray and third-seeded Alexander Zverev the most highly anticipated. Stefanos Tsitsipas (v. Fognini), Gael Monfils and Matteo Berrettini will also be in action.

 

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