Can Fritz beat Verdasco to get to the fourth round of Indian Wells?

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Taylor Fritz survived a match point in the first round against his friend Reilly Opelka last round. (AP)

On Monday, Taylor Fritz is going to take on veteran Fernando Verdasco with a spot in the fourth round of the BNP Paribas Open on the line. 

This third-rounder between the 34-year-old Spaniard and the 20-year-old American should be one of the highlights of the Stadium 1 day session. Each is coming off a high-quality win: Fritz survived a match point in the first round against his friend Reilly Opelka, then straight-setted another Next Genner, and a likely future rival, Andrey Rublev.

Verdasco, who is coming off a runner-up run at the 500-level event in Rio, knocked off No. 3 seed Grigor Dimitrov in his opener and says that he is not thinking about retiring just yet.

''Tennis was always my life since I'm a baby. I always love this sport. I always love to play,” Verdasco said. “Of course you always have some crisis in your life that, you like to play but maybe you just want to go on a beach and just relax some days with friends. But actually, when I'm away for maybe a week, maybe 10 days, I miss it. And then I just want to go back to the court, to the gym, and work and try to keep improving and working hard to stay in the top level and being able to fight against the best players in the world."

Americans to Watch: Taylor Fritz

Fritz and Verdasco have played once, last year on hard courts in Winston-Salem, with Verdasco winning in three.

Last year, Fritz beat Marin Cilic to reach the third round at Indian Wells, then largely disappeared from view for the rest of the season. Can he take it a step farther this time? He'll need to play with the same fire, as well as the same forehand, that he has shown off in each of his wins in the desert so far.

Verdasco is the more experience player, but he's the more emotionally volatile one, too.

Winner: Verdasco

(Matt Cronin contributed to this story)


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