Indian Wells holds fond memories for Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis as the site of his lone victory over Roger Federer. Now sitting two spots out of the Top 100, the 32-year-old is finding form again at the BNP Paribas Open, into the main draw for the first time in three years.
The former No. 8 in the ATP Rankings posted a convincing 6-1, 6-2 triumph over Frenchman Vincent Millot in the final round of qualifying on Wednesday to book his berth. It was eight years ago he brought down top seed Federer en route to the fourth round.
His best result remains a quarter-final run on debut in 2006 before Rafael Nadal ended his run. This will be Baghdatis' ninth Indian Wells main draw appearance.
French veteran Nicolas Mahut sits just one place above Baghdatis in the ATP Rankings and on Wednesday, he also won through qualifying – the first time he had done so in four attempts this season. The 36-year-old defeated Spaniard Ricardo Ojeda Lara 6-3, 6-2.
Japan's Taro Daniel will get the chance to claim his first tour-level win of 2018 (0-5 so far) after he beat American Mackenzie McDonald 6-4, 6-3 in the final round of qualifying. This is the first time in three attempts the World No. 109 Daniel has survived qualifying in the desert.
American World No. 200 Evan King, 25 from Chicago, was the first player to qualify for the 2018 main draw after he easily defeated third-seeded Israeli veteran Dudi Sela 6-0, 6-3. King, who will play just his fifth tour-level match, has played exclusively at the ATP Challenger Tour level in 2018 and has just one tour-level match win to his name in his career.
World No. 126 Tim Smyczek became the second American to win through qualifying when he defeated Belgian World No. 113 Ruben Bemelmans 6-3, 7-6(1). The 30-year-old has now survived Indian Wells qualifying in five of his six attempts.
In a clash of two men from India, the more experienced Yuki Bhambri scored a 6-4, 6-2 result over Ramkumar Ramanathan. The only other time Bhambri had won through qualifying in 2018 was at the Australian Open where he fell to Baghdatis in the opening round.