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Mikhail Youzhny News
Mikhail Youzhny entered the Indian Wells Challenger last week but was forced to retire during his first round match against Henri Laaksonen due to the abdominal strain. Youzhny was trailing 6-7 0-2 before he decided to pull out.
The veteran Russian has suffered three first-round defeats and three second-round defeats from the six tournaments that he entered so far in 2018.
Surprisingly, Mikhail Youzhny has never done well at the Indian Wells, even during his prime years. The former World #8 has appeared here 12 times in the past but could not progress beyond the third round in any of them.
Joao Sousa News
Joao Sousa finished his previous two seasons with a minus W/L ratio and his start to the new season hasn’t been encouraging as well.
The Portuguese is currently on a three-match losing run, and all three losses have come in three sets with him winning the first set in two of those encounters. His recent loss to Pierre Hughes Herbert at Dubai last week was particularly disappointing, considering the former World #28 had multiple match point opportunities to close out the match.
Joao Sousa fought back from a set down to win their only previous meeting which came in the first round of ATP Kitzbuhel (Clay) in 2017. However, this first round clash is evenly poised and presents an excellent opportunity to Youzhny and Sousa to register a rare win. That said, the Russian’s retirement at the Indian Wells Challenger last week could be a setback for him.
Joao Sousa to win