Indian Wells: Iga Swiatek heads field; Sloane Stephens to face Sofia Kenin
Also in this quarter are 2021 US Open champion Emma Raducanu, No.12 Liudmila Samsonova, No.13 Beatriz Haddad Maia, No.19 Madison Keys, No.20 Magda Linette, No.30 Leylah Fernandez and Danielle Collins.
- United States
Main-draw play at the WTA 1000 event in Indian Wells starts on Wednesday with World No1 and defending champion Iga Swiatek leading the field. Swiatek's run to the title last year was part of her 37-match winning streak, the longest of the 2000s. Bianca Andreescu, the 2019 champion and the No32 seed, might be Swiatek's third-round opponent. She is one of the four past Indian Wells champions in the field.
5th seed, the second Top 10 seed in the opening round is Caroline Garcia. Emma Raducanu, the 2021 US Open champion, Liudmila Samsonova, Beatriz Haddad Maia, Madison Keys, Magda Linette, Leylah Fernandez, and Danielle Collins are all included in this quarter. Ons Jabeur, the fourth-seed, will start the second period. Jabeur, who withdrew from the entire Middle East swing due to an injury, will face either Maryna Zanevska or Lauren Davis in the second round in her first match since the Australian Open.
The Round of 16 matchup between No. 8 seed Daria Kasatkina and No. 10 seed Elena Rybakina is possible. In 2018, Kasatkina finished second to Naomi Osaka at Indian Wells. Rybakina, the defending Wimbledon champion, will undoubtedly play Sloane Stephens or Sofia Kenin in the second round of the tournament.
In an all-American first-round encounter, Stephens, the 2017 US Open champion, and Kenin, the 2020 Australian Open champion, will compete. Stephens prevailed 7-5 in the third set on their lone previous encounter in Toronto last year. The two other former Indian Wells champions in the field, Victoria Azarenka and Paula Badosa, are in this quarter. No.14 Azarenka, the titlist in 2012 and 2016, could potentially meet Jabeur in the Round of 16.
No.21 Badosa, who defeated Azarenka in the 2021 Indian Wells final, is a possible third-round opponent for either Rybakina, Stephens or Kenin. 3rd seed American Jessica Pegula, who is currently ranked first, is in the lead. In the second round, Pegula might compete against Camila Giorgi, who won the Merida title two weeks prior. This would be a replay of the Washington, D.C. final of 2019, which Pegula won.The No. 7 seed in this quarter's Top 10 is Maria Sakkari, who finished second to Swiatek at Indian Wells the previous year. In the second round, Sakkari will compete against the victor of an all-American fight between Shelby Rogers and Katie Volynets.
Veronika Kudermetova, No. 11, Petra Kvitova, No. 15, the former World No. 1 Karolina Pliskova, Jelena Ostapenko, the 2017 Roland Garros champion, rising American Alycia Parks, and rising teen Linda Fruhvirtova are also in this quarter. Aryna Sabalenka, who won the Australian Open this year, is the No. 2 seed and is located at the bottom of the draw. In the second round, she will take against either Alize Cornet or Evgeniya Rodina.
Before to her first loss of the year to the eventual champion Barbora Krejcikova in Dubai, Sabalenka had a 13-match winning streak to start the year. If both Sabalenka and No. 16 Krejcikova maintain their seeds, a rematch might occur in the Round of 16. Sabalenka might first play No. 29 Donna Vekic in the third round. Vekic recently won her fourth career title in Monterrey, and she currently has a 5-2 advantage over Sabalenka in their head-to-head matchup.
No. 6 Coco Gauff and No. 9 Belinda Bencic, who are both in the bottom quarter, could face off in the Round of 16. While Bencic has already won two championships this year, in Adelaide and Abu Dhabi, Gauff picked up her third career victory in Auckland in January. Looming in Bencic's portion of the draw is Marta Kostyuk, who has risen to a career-high World No.40 after winning her first title in Austin on Sunday.
The BNP Paribas Open kicks off two straight WTA 1000 events in the United States. The Miami Open will follow with a main-draw start date of Tuesday, March 21. (ANI)
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