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Djokovic, Dimitrov Headline Tuesday Action

Indian Wells, U.S.A.

Djokovic© Getty ImagesNovak Djokovic faces Alejandro Gonzalez for a place in the fourth round.

World No. 2 Novak Djokovic headlines Tuesday’s action at the BNP Paribas Open as the bottom half of the draw takes centre stage. The Serb, who is one of eight seeds taking to court today, goes up against Alejandro Gonzalez for the first time. The Colombian arrived in Indian Wells with an 0-6 career record on the ATP World Tour, but has since posted back-to-back victories – both in third-set tie-breakers – over Adrian Mannarino and Ivan Dodig to reach the third round.

John Isner, the last American left standing in the draw, will look to reach the fourth round in Indian Wells for the fourth time in his career when he takes on world No. 49 Yen-Hsun Lu. The pair has met twice before, with the American prevailing on both occasions, including in the Auckland final at the beginning of the year, which Isner clinched in two tie-break sets. The World No. 13’s best showing here came in 2012 when he reached the final (l. to Federer). 

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The Bulgarian and Latvian clash for the third time in a month on Stadium 1 today with their FedEx Head2Head series tied at 1-1. The pair both reached personal landmarks last month, breaking into the Top 20 in the Emirates ATP Rankings for the first time. Dimitrov achieved the feat thanks to a quarter-final appearance at the Australian Open (l. to Nadal) and a title-winning run in Acapulco (d. No. 7 Murray and No. 21 Anderson), while Gulbis broke through to No. 18 after clinching a fifth career title in Marseille (d. Tsonga), before dropping back to No. 22 this week.  

Dominic Thiem, who is contesting his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event, will bid for a place in the fourth round when he takes on Julien Benneteau. The 20 year old has qualified into four tour-level events this year, breaking into the Top 100 in the Emirates ATP Rankings for the first time last month at No. 99. The Austrian enjoyed a standout year in 2013, reaching a maiden quarter-final in Kitzbuhel and a second in Vienna, before becoming the youngest player to finish the year ranked in the Top 125. His coach, Gunter Bresnik, also works closely with Gulbis.

Three of this season’s highest performers on serve are in action today. Isner, Cilic and Gulbis all feature among the top five ace leaders in 2014 going into this week (see chart). Isner also sits top of the standings for first serve percentage (71%); Cilic is third in first serve points won (81%); while Gulbis managed to win 100% of points behind his first serve in his opening match against Joao Sousa.

1 Ivo Karlovic 270
2 Marin Cilic 247
3 Kevin Anderson 198
4 Ernests Gulbis 191
5 John Isner 156



Alejandro Gonzalez (COL) vs [2] Novak Djokovic (SRB)

FedEx Head 2 Head: First ATP World Tour meeting

Gonzalez won back-to-back matches in a third-set TB to advance to the 3R. The Colombian clinched his first ever ATP World Tour win in the 1R, saving four MPs before edging past Adrian Mannarino 5-7, 6-4, 7-6(6). He repeated the feat in the 2R, upsetting No. 31 seed Ivan Dodig 6-4, 2-6, 7-6(5). 
• Gonzalez, who is making his ATP World Tour Masters 1000 debut, had gone 0-6 in Tour-level matches before this week. Earlier this year, he fell in the 1R at the Australian Open (l. to Ferrer), Vina del Mar (l. to Lorenzi), Buenos Aires (l. to Chardy), Rio de Janeiro (l. to Cuevas) and Sao Paulo (l. to Starace).
• Gonzalez ended a season in the top 100 of the Emirates ATP Rankings for the first time when he finished 2013 at No. 91, jumping 152 places from the previous year. He contested five Challenger finals during the year, winning titles in Salinas, on home soil in Medellin and Sao Paulo. 
Djokovic collected the 550th win of his career as he saw off Victor Hanescu 7-6(1), 6-2 in the 1R, saving five of five BPs in the process. 
• Djokovic is making his ninth appearance in Indian Wells (30-6). He has lifted the title here twice, in 2008 (d. Fish) and 2011 (d. Nadal). The Serb has fallen in the SF the last two years in a row. 
• Djokovic is bidding to reach the 4R at Indian Wells for the eighth year in succession today.
• Djokovic’s two previous competitive outings this year came at the Australian Open where he reached the QF (l. to eventual champ Wawrinka) and in Dubai where he advanced to the SF (l. to Federer).
• Djokovic finished 2013 in the top three for the seventh year in a row, winning seven titles in nine finals (2nd-most in career). He ended the year on a 24-match winning streak. 
• Djokovic reached three Grand Slam finals for the third year in a row in 2013, highlighted by winning his sixth major at the Australian Open
• On June 1 last year, Djokovic became the 40th player in ATP World Tour history to record 500 match wins after he defeated Grigor Dimitrov in the 3R at Roland Garros. 
• The world No. 2 has spent 101 weeks during his career at No. 1 in the Emirates ATP Rankings. 


[15] Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) vs [20] Ernests Gulbis (LAT)

FedEx Head 2 Head: Series tied 1-1

2014 Rotterdam (The Netherlands) Hard R16 Ernests Gulbis 6-4 7-6(3)
2014 Acapulco (Mexico) Hard QF Grigor Dimitrov 4-6 7-6(2) 7-5

Dimitrov advanced to the 3R for the second year in succession with a 6-4, 6-3 win over Robin Haase. The Bulgarian fired down nine aces and won 20 of 23 first-serve points. 
• This is Dimitrov’s third visit to Indian Wells. His previous best showing came last year when he reached the 3R (l. to Djokovic). 
• Dimitrov broke the top 20 for the first time in February after a QF appearance at the Australian Open (l. to Nadal) and a title-winning run in Acapulco (d. No. 18 Gulbis, No. 7 Murray and No. 21 Anderson). The Bulgarian became just the second player born in the 1990s to win multiple ATP World Tour titles, after Raonic, who has five titles to his name.
• At 22, Dimitrov is the youngest player in the top 20 in the Emirates ATP Rankings. 
• After posting a 1-18 record in his first 19 matches against top 10 opposition, Dimitrov has now gone 4-7 against top 10 opponents since April last year. 
• Since working with coach Roger Rasheed last October, Dimitrov has compiled a 21-5 match record with two titles in seven tournaments. He also advanced to his first Grand Slam QF at the Australian Open.
• In 2013, Dimitrov improved his ranking for a sixth year in succession. He became the first Bulgarian to win an ATP World Tour event when he defeated Ferrer in the final of Stockholm.
Gulbis won 100% of points (25/25) on first serve and didn’t face a single BP as he dispatched of Portugal’s Joao Sousa 6-3, 6-3 in his opening match. 
• Gulbis is making his seventh successive appearance at Indian Wells. His best showing came as a qualifier last year when he reached the 4R (d. No. 9 Tipsarevic in 2R, l. to Nadal in 4R)
• Gulbis moved to a career-high No. 18 in the Emirates ATP Rankings last month after winning the title in Marseille at the weekend. He posted back-to-back top 10 wins over No. 9 Richard Gasquet in the SF and No. 10 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the final, improving his record to 5-0 in title games.
• Gulbis opened his season with a QF showing in Doha (l. to Nadal). At the ATP World Tour 500 event in Rotterdam, he defeated today’s opponent, Dimitrov, and No. 4 Juan Martin del Potro en route to the SF (l. to Berdych).
• The Latvian finished 2013 in the top 30 for the first time since 2010, jumping 115 spots from the previous year. He equaled his year-end best ranking (No. 24) and won a personal-best 37 matches. 
• Gulbis won two titles in 2013 – Delray Beach and St. Petersburg. His win in Delray Beach marked the first time a qualifier captured an ATP title since Jarkko Nieminen won Sydney in 2012. 
• Gulbis has three top 10 wins to his name this year. 

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