• Harrison, Mahut kick off Day 1 in Indian Wells

    3/8/12 6:56 AM | Ricky Dimon
    Harrison, Mahut kick off Day 1 in Indian Wells The first day of main-draw action in Indian Wells will feature Ryan Harrison and Nicolas Mahut. They are set for respective meetings with Flavio Cipolla and Vasek Pospisil.

    Flavio Cipolla vs. Ryan Harrison

    Harrison's breakout 2011 was highlighted by a fourth-round showing at the BNP Paribas Open, where he upset Milos Raonic before finally succumbing to Roger Federer. The 19-year-old American is back in Indian Wells this week looking to make another run. Harrison, ranked 72nd in the world, is in decent form this season with six ATP match victories and a semifinal in San Jose.

    Up first for Harrison on Thursday is Cipolla, whom he has never faced. Cipolla registers 10 spots behind his opponent at No. 82 in the world and he owns a similar 5-6 record for the year. The 28-year-old Italian is coming off a second-round finish in Dubai, where he ousted Ivan Ljubicic then went down to Janko Tipsarevic in three. Based on the relatively slow surface and the pressure on Harrison to defend points, Cipolla in three sets is the pick.

    (Q) Vasek Pospisil vs. Nicolas Mahut

    Pospisil and Mahut will also be squaring off for the first time in their careers when they do battle in the Indian Wells opening round on Thursday. Mahut is still going relatively strong at 30 years old with a No. 93 record and a 5-6 record for his 2012 campaign. The Frenchman, who advanced two rounds at the Australian Open and in Montpellier, is hoping to bounce back from a first-round Dubai loss to Feliciano Lopez.

    The week is already off to good start for Pospisil, who qualified for the main draw. The 21-year-old Canadian, however, had not qualified for an ATP event since the season-opener in Chennai and he is 0-4 at the ATP level in 2012. This is sure to be a big-serving affair and first-serve percentage will be crucial. Look for Mahut to prevail in three sets.

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