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The Top 3 all play in one day session today

Rafa, Roger and Joker

March 14, 2012 | 03:29 AM

Joker, Rafa and Roger all playing 4th round matches on the same court, in the same afternoon session, in a big tournament?

It's may be as good a ticket as you'll ever see, if you can get it, and in the world's 2nd largest tennis stadium (Indian Wells), there won't be a seat empty. This may not ever happen again, but why now - and why not share the wealth with the evening session attendees? Are they sick of seeing the same old top three?

Here's what's up with this, I think...

The #4 seed (Murray) is out, as is #5 Ferrer, at the hands of Denis Istomin today in straight sets, 4 and 3.

The line up in stadium 2 at IW isn't shabby either:

- #6 seed Tsonga will take on David Nalbandian, who upset #10 Tipsarevic in 3 sets.

- # 7 seed Berdych will take on #12 seed Almagro.

- #11 seed ISNER plays unseeded Matthew Ebden of Australia

- #13 seed Simon plays unseeded American Ryan HARRISON.

Who does this leave for the evening session in stadium 1?

DEL POTRO. He plays unseeded Denis Istomin., and is about a 5 to 1 favorite in Sackmann's prediction model on

This IS only the 4th round, and the top few seeds at this level event can be expected to advance without great difficulty:

- FEDERER, who won his 75th match in a row against competition ranked 20 or below, plays #50 Thomaz Bellucci, who is not as likely to end his streak as #27 Milos Raonic seemed today when he took a 1st set breaker 7-5 (Fed went on to win 6-1, 6-4). Fed has never played Thomaz, who is a powerful lefty like you-know-who, but without much consistency. And the Austrian's peak ranking was 2 years ago, at #21. Fed's odds are at least 6 to 1, in Sackmann's predictions.

- JOKER plays #45 Pablo Andujar, a man whose played all of 27 matches on hard courts - and lost 20! His only H2H with Joker came on clay in '07 (he won 4 games). Sackmann's predictions give Joker about a 25 to 1 chance of advancing.

- RAFA unquestionably has the most difficult opponent in #21 Alex Dolgopolov (Dogman). There only previous hard court meeting in singles came last year in Miami when Dogman won a disappointing 3 games. But if their doubles match last night was any indication, the Dogman will be as lose as ever against Rafa, which means anything can happen in a given point. In the match, it's a 1 in 4 chance., according to Sackmann. Popular support sends Betfair's odds longer on an upset in any of these matches.

WHY does Charlie Pasarell schedule the top 3 in the DAY session?

Probably for the same reason he scheduled #4 Caroline Wozniacki in the night session twice in a row:

The Day sessions go for over 2x the cost of evening sessions (older population attending, colder temps at night).

After one evening watching an endless 3rd set between Caroline and #56 Sofia Arvidsson last night, tonight I could barely bring myself to watch her play Ana Ivanovic, one of my favorites.

Mercifully, Ana beat her soundly in 2 sets, 6-4, 6-2, in less than 90 minutes.

So maybe the reason we see Na Li in today's evening session is that Caroline isn't around to put there anymore, and people still really want to see the top 3.

Sorry Delpo... you have your fans, and I'm one. See you later...


Indian Wells 3.13.2012

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