WTA Indian Wells Draw Preview

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Serena Williams was the top seed during the draw ceremony of thistournament but pulled out earlier today with a knee injury. This means that Angelique Kerber will reclaim the world number 1 position but it also leaves the draw very open for someone unexpected to swoop up the biggest title of their career. ATP draw coming soon.

Section 1

Karolina Pliskova (3) v Bye

Monica Puig v Danielle Collins (wc)

Louisa Chirico v Francesca Schiavone (q)

Bye v Irina-Camelia Begu (29)

This is a nice section for Pliskova because she has the challenge with Puig but everyone else in the section is manageable. Puig could always cause an upset with her recent from but I think Pliskova should be fine. Chirico hasn’t won a match this season and Begu has only won one so those two could get some good wins this week but Schiavone would already be feeling comfortable on the surface after qualifying so I wouldn’t be surprised if she went through to the third round. Ultimately, I think Pliskova moves through to the fourth round with a win over Schiavone.

Section 2 

Kiki Bertens (18) v Bye 

Belinda Bencic v Tsvetana Pironkova 

Monica Niculescu v Sorana Cristea

Bye v Timea Bacsinszky (15)

This is an intriguing section  with two swiss girls in Bencic and Bacsinszky who haven’t had the best start to the season. Bencic has had a lot of tough draws so far this year but with Bertens on a 5 match losing streak she is a good chance for the third round if she gets past Pironkova. Cristea has started the year reasonably well in Melbourne but hasn’t won a match since and it will be interesting to see how she goes against Niculescu. I think the Bacsinszky second round will be good no matter who gets through but I think Cristea moves through to the third round based on how she played in Melbourne. My pick to make it to the fourth round from here is Bencic with a win over Cristea.

Section 3 

Elina Svitolina (10) v Bye

Kateryna Bondarenko v Qiang Wang

Yanina Wickmayer v Laura Siegemund 

Bye v Daria Gavrilova (24)

This section has a lot curveballs that could throw of the seeds and a lot fun matches could potentially happen. Gavrilova v Siegemund would be a great one to watch as they both have similar games and play with a lot of energy. Wang had a great tournament in Dubai and she could really challenge Svitolina if she bought that form into this tournament. Svitolina is one of the big favourites in this tournament as she is on a 13 match win streak. I think that Gavrilova could surprise Svitolina and the Aussie will beat the Ukrainian to reach the fourth round.

Section 4

Mirjana Lucic-Baroni (32) v Bye

Kayla Day (wc) v Kurumi Nara 

Catherine Bellis v Kirsten Flipkens 

Bye v Garbine Muguruza (7)

This draw is tough for Muguruza because Bellis is in form after taking out Radwanska in Dubai and if she gets past that Day or Lucic-Baroni would be a challenge. Lucic-Baroni had to pull out of Acapulco last week with gastro and I don’t think she will have recovered in time to play her best. Muguruza also has injury concerns with her left achilles but I think that if she doesn’t withdraw she’ll be feeling good. Flipkens could also be a challenge with her unusual game style but I’m going for Muguruza to get the fourth round with a win over Day.

Section 5

Dominika Cibulkova (5) v Bye

Jelena Ostapenko v Danka Kovinic 

Kristyna Pliskova v Bethanie Mattek-Sands (wc)

Bye v Daria Kasatkina (33)

This is a draw that I think will be manageable for Cibulkova as all of the players have weaknesses that Cibulkova’s game style can expose and break down. Katakana would be the other big contender of the section but she has been quite inconsistent this year so I don’t how she’ll be playing from match to match. The four unseeded players could have a good day and Mattek-Sands is probably the biggest threat with the home crowd. I still think Cibulkova gets through to the fourth round with a win over Kasatkina.

Section 6

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (19) v Bye

Anett Kontaveit (q) v Misaki Doi

Sara Errani v Mandy Minella (q) 

Bye v Barbora Strycova (17)

This section has two seeded players that are playing at a higher level than their seeding suggests and a third round between the two could be a great match. Both Pavlyuchenkova and Strycova have started the season well and even though Strycova doesn’t have that stand out result I think it is still coming together for her. I doubt Errani would be able to do much with the injury she’s suffering with but Doi could go on a run if it clicks for her. I think that Strycova goes through the fourth round with a win over Pavlyuchenkova.

Section 7

Johanna Konta (11) v Bye

Nicole Gibbs (wc) v Heather Watson

Evgeniya Rodina (ll) v Christina McHale

Bye v Caroline Garcia (21) 

This section is open considering that Konta has been struggling with a foot injury that forced her out of Dubai. I think that Watson could take advantage of that as she has played well in the past here but the same goes for Gibbs so it could be an interesting first round. Ultimately, I think if Garcia wins her opener over Rodina or McHale she will be able to get past whoever she faces in the third round so I think the Frenchwomen will go through with a win over Watson.

Section 8

Roberta Vinci (26) v Bye

Madison Brengle v Tatjana Maria (q)

Johanna Larsson v Camila Giorgi 

Bye v Svetlana Kuznetsova (8)

Kuznetsova should be able to capitalise on this weaker draw but you never know with her as she has been known to be very inconsistent. None of the unseeded players have really made much of a major impact at the start of this season so it looks good for the Russian. Vinci could always pose a challenge but the ball bouncing conditions in Indian Wells will not suit her so I don’t see her going very far. I think Kuznetsova reaches the fourth round with a win over

Section 9

Madison Keys (9) v Bye

Mariana Duque-Marino (q) v Patricia Maria Tig (q)

Naomi Osaka v Risa Ozaki (q)

Bye v Shuai Zhang (30)

This draw has a lot of potential people to make a run in the desert and it isn’t the ultimate draw for Keys to ease in to her season despite the good opening match for her. Osaka can beat anyone on her day but she could also easily get beaten by Ozaki in the first round as well. Zhang is another that could go on a run here with conditions that suit her quite well and recent form so I think that in the end it will be Zhang who goes through to the fourth round with a win over Keys.

Section 10

Carla Suarez Navarro (23) v Bye

Katerina Siniakova v Mona Barthel (q)

Taylor Townsend (wc) v Magda Linette (q)

Bye v Caroline Wozniacki (13)

This is a great section for Wozniacki because she has the opponents that are tough but she should be able to beat them still and carry her form in to this tournament. Suarez Navarro has been struggling with a back injury and missed a lot of this season so far and the draw hasn’t been kind to her. Two in form  players in Barthel and Siniakova who are enjoying the best tennis of their careers so far makes me think the Spaniard won’t win a match. Townsend and Linette can also get good wins on their day but I think that Wozniacki carries her form into Indian Wells and makes the fourth round with a win over Barthel.

Section 11

Samantha Stosur (16) v Bye

Julia Goerges v Ajla Tomljanovic 

Viktorija Golubic v Lauren Davis

Bye v Anastasija Sevastova (22)

This section of the draw is very open and any one of this people could be in the fourth round at the end of the first week here. Tomljanovic is still on the comeback trail but she looked good in the one full match she has played this year. Georges and Davis have both won titles and Davis is playing some of her best tennis and posting very consistent results. Sevastova had a good run in Dubai but hasn’t done much else and Stosur doesn’t have any notable results at all so anyone could come through this section. I think that Davis’s consistency will get her through to the fourth round with a win over Tomljanovic.

Section 12

Kristina Mladenovic (28) v Bye

Annika Beck v Eugenie Bouchard

Alison Riske v Donna Vekic (wc)

Bye v Simona Halep (4)

This draw could produce some epic matches as we have Mladenovic, Bouchard and Halep as three of the six players. Mladenovic has been on fire so far this year and has already made two finals and enjoyed a lot of great wins, including won over Karolina Pliskova. Bouchard has played well at times but at other times she hasn’t kept her focus and has seemed to fas away. Halep has a lot of uncertainty around her as she’s been injured and hasn’t played since her opening round loss in Melbourne. I think Mladenovic makes it to the fourth round with a win over Halep.

Section 13

Agnieszka Radwanska (6) v Bye

Sara Sorribes Tormo (q) v Ekaterina Makarova 

Shuai Peng (q) v Lesia Tsurenko

Bye v Ana Konjuh (31)

Radwanska has been handed a really tough section as she tries to find form and really get some momentum this season. Peng has been playing really well this season and has posted good result after good result as has Tsurenko, her first round opponent. Konjuh can beat anyone on her day and Makarova, a former top 10 player could always go on a run. I think Radwanska might be overwhelmed by the big hitters and I think Peng goes into the fourth round with a win over Radwanska.

Section 14

Coco Vandeweghe (20) v Bye 

Lara Arruabarrena v Lucie Safarova 

Jelena Jankovic v Irina Falconi (wc)

Bye v Venus Williams (12)

This section is also pretty open as both seeds have uncertainty as to whether they can back up their Australia open semifinal for Vandweghe and final for Williams. There is also a mental factor here for Williams who boycotted this tournament from 2001 till 2016 and hasn’t won a match her in 16 years. Safarova has been playing so far this year and she as Jankovic are very dangerous unseeded players despite Jankovic not having the best start to the year. I think that Safarova will move through to the fourth round with a win over Williams, who will have to jump the mental hurdle of winning her opening match.

Section 15

Elena Vesnina (14) v Bye

Jennifer Brady (wc) v Shelby Rogers

Yaroslava Shvedova v Varvara Lepchenko (q)

Bye v Timea Babos (25)

This is another very open section and there’s room for someone who no one was really  expecting to go out on a run to the fourth round. Vesnina hasn’t got a massive result yet so she might be able to go out on a run her but Brady and Rogers played very well in Melbourne. Rogers knocked out Halep and Brady reached the fourth round so both girls will still have some confidence from that. Babos is all coming from winning her second WTA title in Budapest and she is looking to extend the winning streak here. I think that Vesnina is just the most talented out of this bunch and will go to the fourth round with a win over Babos.

Section 16

Yulia Putintseva (27) v Bye

Pauline Parmentier v Oceane Dodin

Vania King v Andrea Petkovic 

Bye v Angelique Kerber (2)

Ferber does have some challenges in her first week back at number 1 but this is a draw that she can navigate her through with some ease. I think Kerber will be playing without a lot of pressure because she knows no matter her result here she’ll leave with world number 1 and she’s not defending any points so there is nothing to worry about. A challenge she may face is having to play her best friend Petkovic in the second round, who’s game could trip up Angie. The other half of this section are to inconsistent to really bother Kerber or Petkovic so I think it is whoever make’s it out of the match. I think that Kerber makes it though to the fourth round with a win over Putintseva.

FOURTH ROUND MATCHES 

Karolina Pliskova defeats Belinda Bencic

Garbine Muguruza defeats Daria Gavrilova

Dominika Cibulkova defeats Barbora Strycova 

Svetlana Kuznetsova defeats Caroline Garcia

Caroline Wozniacki defeats Shaui Zhang

Kristina Mladenovic defeats Lauren Davis

Lucie Safarova defeats Shuai Peng

Angelique Kerber defeats Elena Vesnina

QUARTERFINAL MATCHES

Karolina Pliskova defeats Garbine Muguruza 

Svetlana Kuznetsova defeats Dominika Cibulkova

Caroline Wozniacki defeats Kristina Mladenovic

Angelique Kerber defeats Lucie Safarova

SEMIFINAL MATCHES

Svetlana Kuznetsova defeats Karolina Pliskova 

Angelique Kerber defeats Caroline Wozniacki

FINAL

Angelique Kerber defeats Svetlana Kuznetsova

Tomorrow morning I’ll try to do a match preview post and tomorrow afternoon I’ll do a review of play and I’ll do an ATP draw preview. Please email me an queries, comments or questions.

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