World number 2, Rafael Nadal will begin his 2019 ATP Indian Wells Open in the second round after receiving an opening-round bye due to his high seeding. Rafael Nadal’s first match will against Jared Donaldson from the United States.
Jared Donaldson enters this match having beaten Tatsuma Ito in straight sets in the previous round. It was a dominant display by Donaldson as he won 91% of his service games while breaking Ito’s serve on 3 occasions. The serve was the biggest strength for Donaldson as he hit 7 aces and won over 70% of the points played during his service games. This is expected to be a much tougher match for Donaldson as Rafa is a significantly stronger player.
Rafael Nadal enters this match in relatively poor touch after he was beaten in the second round of the Mexican Open last week. Nadal has only played 1 tournament since the Australian Open and while that is standard for a top player, the Spaniard is possibly lacking court time. Nadal made the final of the Australian Open earlier in the season and he has looked good during most of his matches this season. Rafael Nadal’s record at the Indian Wells Open is exceptional as he has won this title 3 times with the most recent being in 2013.
Rafael Nadal and Jared Donaldson have played each other once in the past. The match was played in 2017 at the Shanghai Masters where Rafael Nadal won in straight sets.
All in all, I am going to pick Rafael Nadal to win this match. Jared Donaldson had a strong opening round win but the American is a level below Nadal in terms of quality. Nadal has an exceptional record at Indian Wells and I see him making the next round of the tournament with some ease.