TennisSection previews the 2021 Indian Wells Open as Nikoloz Basilashvili takes on Cameron Norrie in the Final on Sunday, October 17th, 2021.
Will Cameron Norrie clinch the title? Will Nikoloz Basilashvili pull off the upset? This will be an interesting one, where we have a very surprising final with two players who are in absolutely exceptional form. Who will win the 2021 Indian Wells Open?
Nikoloz Basilashvili played a really good match against Taylor Fritz, beating him 7-6 6-3. He hit a brutal ball, serving at 70% and winning a lot of points on serve. His serving was huge, and his returning against Fritz was unreal, Fritz only won 43% of his second serve points, as Basilashvili was just crushing the second serve. This will be really crucial against Cameron Norrie, as Norrie’s serve is definitely not as good as Fritz’s, so if Basilashvili is able to crush the ball in those moments, he’ll have a lot of good shots to break. As for his serve, he is also a big server, and Norrie’s return is probably one of the weaker parts of his game, so Basilashvili will have to focus on keeping his serving percentage just as high as it has been in his last two matches. While Norrie is the favorite, he did get a little bit lucky to take out Dimitrov so easily, and it has to do with their respective playstyles. Norrie will not be able to do the same thing to Basilashvili, especially on a super slow court such as this one. Basically, Norrie just simply hit heavy topspin forehands to Dimitrov’s one-handed backhand, the reason Dimitrov had so much success was that he went away from hitting too much topspin, and constantly sliced. Because he couldn’t do that against the heavy topspin of Norrie, he was basically screwed. Basilashvili, however, has a huge two-hander, and he will be absolutely bludgeoning those shots, if he can also redirect his backhand down the line as well as he did today to Norries really flat and relatively slow backhand, he’ll be able to get into some exchanges where he is also hitting the fluff off the tennis ball from his forehand wing, which will definitely give him the edge in the rally going to his backhand, especially if Norrie can’t handle the power. While he isn’t the favorite on paper, he has the firepower and just maybe the right matchup and game plan to take out Norrie and become the 2021 Indian Wells Open champion.
Cameron Norrie got a very good win over Dimitrov, taking him out easily 6-2 6-4. As I have mentioned earlier though, he had a very favorable matchup, as he could simply spin his forehand to Grigor’s backhand, not allowing him to slice it back and keep the rally going as he’s done all week. He will not be able to bully Nikoloz Basilashvili in this way, Basilashvili hits an enormous backhand, and if he can keep the rally going crosscourt, Norrie will likely struggle with the power and not be able to spin it nearly as much as he could in his semifinals. Another important thing to consider is the mental factor, while these things could merely be coincidences, they should not be left ignored, Norrie’s has had a lot of tournaments this year where he’s done really well, and then, in the end, he got crushed. This happened just a couple of weeks ago in San Diego, where he lost 6-0 6-2 to a player who was hitting quite hard as well. Basilashvili has also shared similar inconsistencies, but sort of in the opposite way, as he has had tournaments where he’s lost in the first round, and tournaments that he’s won, and there have hardly been any in-betweens. In order for Norrie to win, he will have to change up the tactics a little bit, he will have to focus on hitting his backhand crosscourt to the forehand of Basilashvili, and then try to hit a lot of forehands down the line as well, if he can do that with a great amount of topspin, maybe lots of those balls will come back short, the thing is, it’s still a risky play, as Basilashvili will hit the ball really big early on and not really allow Norrie to bully him like that. That’s why I don’t think it’s a great matchup for Norrie, at least on a slow court, still though, just due to the form he’s in, it’s hard to discredit him, so it will be interesting to see if he can give Basilashvili a tough one as the two clash to win the 2021 Indian Wells Open.
Nikoloz Basilashvili and Cameron Norrie have met once before, with Cameron Norrie leading the head to head 1-0. Their one meeting came in Rotterdam this year, with Norrie crushing him 6-0 6-3. This may contradict a few things I’ve just said, but several things are important to note here. Basilashvili is inconsistent, and at that point in the year he wasn’t playing well, Rotterdam is also really fast, and Basilashvili has historically struggled on fast surfaces, as he needs lots of time to hit such a huge ball. Indian Wells is playing so slow this year, and Norrie’s balls will sit up for him, at least the forehand will, which will allow Basilashvili to just crush the ball and dictate play as he wants to. Norrie on the other hand, likely won’t be able to absorb the power, and even if he can, he won’t be able to produce nearly as much topspin, taking away the edge that he’s had over his opponents thus far. It’s a tough match to predict, especially in a tournament that has been so unpredictable, however, in the end, Basilashvili has a really good game to take on Norrie, and in the conditions that Indian Wells is playing at, it seems like he’ll be able to just edge out his opponent in this one and become the champion of the 2021 Indian Wells Open.
Free Tennis Pick and Prediction: Nikoloz Basilashvili to win in 3 sets.
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