• Tomic, Gulbis take the court in Indian Wells

    3/9/12 4:58 PM | Ricky Dimon
    Tomic, Gulbis take the court in Indian Wells Bernard Tomic and Ernests Gulbis will contest their first-round matches on Friday in Indian Wells. They are taking on Gilles Muller and Michael Llodra, respectively.

    Bernard Tomic vs. Gilles Muller

    Tomic and Muller will be going head-to-head for the second time in their careers at the ATP level and for the third time overall when they do battle in round one of the BNP Paribas Open on Friday. Muller prevailed 3-6, 6-1, 6-4, 6-2 at the 2009 Australian Open and he also scored a 6-3, 6-4 victory in the Nottingham Challenger last season.

    This time around could be different because Tomic has truly emerged at 19 years old. The Aussie is up to No. 36 in the world and he reached the fourth round of his home Grand Slam. Muller, ranked 73rd, is just 2-6 for the year. The Luxembourgian lost in the second round in San Jose and dropped his Memphis opener to top-seeded John Isner. Muller has a chance at an upset if he serves well, but Tomic in three sets is the pick.

    Ernests Gulbis vs. Michael Llodra

    Gulbis and Llodra will be squaring off for the fourth time in their careers at the ATP level on Friday in Indian Wells. Although Gulbis had the upper hand at the 2008 French Open and last year at the Canada Masters, Llodra got revenge with a convincing 2-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 two months ago in round one of the Australian Open.

    Things have not really improved for Gulbis, The Latvian is down at No. 75 in the world and although he is coming off a quarterfinal performance in Delray Beach, he suffered a disappointing loss there to qualifier Marinko Matosevic. Llodra finished runner-up last month in Marseille and most recently got a bad draw in Dubai, where he lost his opener to Roger Federer. The 31-year-old Frenchman is playing well at the moment, so look for him to advance in straight sets.

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