My Tennis Life, Season 7 Episode 1: Taylor Fritz in Indian Wells

Carlos Alcaraz vs. Felix Auger-Aliassime

Here’s a shocker: Auger-Aliassime leads Alcaraz 3-0 in their head to head. Granted, one of those wins came when the Spaniard had to retire against him at the 2021 US Open. But the other two happened in 2022, a season when Alcaraz finished No. 1.

Does that bode well for FAA when they meet again on Thursday evening? Unlike most of Alcaraz’s opponents, he shouldn’t be cowed by the teenager’s electric athleticism; Auger-Aliassime has seen it, and handled it, before. He also may feel especially relaxed and confident after saving six match points against Tommy Paul on Tuesday night.

There’s only one problem for FAA: Alcaraz is really not going to want to lose to him again. Winner: Alcaraz


Two of the sport's brightest young talents collide in a tantalizing quarterfinal under the lights.

Two of the sport's brightest young talents collide in a tantalizing quarterfinal under the lights.

Iga Swiatek vs. Sorana Cirstea

Cirstea’s presence here is a surprise. The Romanian is 32 and ranked 83rd, and she started 2023 with four straight losses. But she got a break when Madison Keys retired against her in the second round, and she recorded a throwback, comeback win over Caroline Garcia on Tuesday.

Can she raise her game another level, or two, against Swiatek? Cirstea pushed her to three sets in their only meeting, last year in Australia. But that was before Iga became IGA. She’s been close to her all-caps form so far in Indian Wells. Winner: Swiatek

Taylor Fritz vs. Jannik Sinner

The American and the Italian have been on tour together for a few years, but they’ve faced off just once, at this tournament in 2021, when it was held in the fall. Fritz was on a roll that week, and he rolled over Sinner 6-4, 6-3 on his way to the semifinals. A year and a half later, he’s ranked eight spots higher than Sinner, No. 5 to No. 13.

Fritz has been asked all week about the pressure he feels defending 1000 ranking points as champion. After a slow start in his opener against Ben Shelton, he’s handled that pressure well, and hasn’t dropped a set. Sinner has been just as good, though, winning all six sets he’s played.

Where Fritz is looking to defend his first Masters 1000 title, Sinner is looking to win his first at that level. Each of these guys has mostly been in form in 2023, and each will bring about the same amount of heat, and occasional inconsistency, as the other. It feels like a consequential match for the rest of this season. Winner: Sinner