Brandon Nakashima maintained his perfect first-round record at the BNP Paribas Open Wednesday when he defeated John Isner 7-6(7), 6-3 to set a meeting against fifth seed Daniil Medvedev.
The 21-year-old American, who earned opening-round wins in Indian Wells in 2021 and 2022, saved one set point in the first-set tie-break before he produced a strong defensive display in the second set to blunt the attack of his big-serving countryman.
Nakashima stood deep behind the baseline when returning the first serve, but looked to attack off Isner’s second delivery, timing the ball well to win 56 per cent (15/27) of points on the 37-year-old’s second serve.
“You know you are going to get some opportunities out there,” Nakashima said. “You know he is going to hit some big bombs once in a while. But you always go into it knowning you will have some opportunities. You just got to see them when they come and capitalise on them.”
Nakashima, who hit 26 winners and committed 15 unforced errors against Isner, is up three spots to No. 45 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings.
“This tournament is one of the tournaments I used to always to come to as a kid,” said Nakashima, who lives in San Diego. “It is super nice to feel at home here and have all my family and friends come out in support.”
Nakashima ended 2022 in perfect style, capturing the Next Gen ATP Finals crown. He has struggled to find his best form this year, though, earning just two tour-level wins.
The 21-year-old will be hoping his one-hour, 38-minute win against Isner can provide a springboard for his season. Medvedev will be a tough second-round test, with the former World No. 1 entering the clash on a 14 match winning streak.
Isner was making his 15th appearance in the Californian desert, with his best result a run to the final in 2012.
In other action, Ugo Humbert overcame Bernabe Zapata Miralles 6-2, 7-6(6), while Ilya Ivashka defeated Roman Safiullin 6-4, 6-2. There were also straight-set wins for Marcos Giron and Oscar Otte, with the American Giron triumphing 6-3, 7-5 against countryman Aleksandar Kovacevic and German Otte defeating Laslo Djere 6-3, 7-5.