Iga Swiatek looks to defend title after dominating Middle East swing, Emma Raducanu looks to boost ranking
Top Seeds: Iga Swiatek, Aryna Sabalenka, Jessica Pegula, Ons Jabeur
British Interest: Emma Raducanu
INDIAN WELLS, USA – Iga Swiatek looks to defend her Indian Wells title after dominating events in the Middle East but the world number one faces strong competition from Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka.
After a disappointing Australian Open campaign, Swiatek has responded in emphatic fashion only losing one match in Doha and Dubai with the world number one now looking to defend her title in California.
The world number one has a comfortable opening couple of matches especially given Bianca Andreescu’s form recently. However matches against Beatriz Haddad Maia and Caroline Garcia have given her trouble in the past and could be difficult challenges on the slow Indian Wells hard courts. When it comes to the latter stages of tournaments, it’s tough to go against the Pole given her confidence but if the Australian Open champion stands in her way in the final then it will be a test for Swiatek in how she can deal with power and pressure especially on her vulnerable second serve. Overall the Pole will be the favourite in Indian Wells to win her second consecutive title as she looks to continue her dominance as world number one.
Sabalenka couldn’t have asked for a tougher draw as she could face an in-form Donna Vekicin the third round, who just won the Monterrey title. Furthermore another in-form player in Barbora Krejcikova could await in the last 16 with the pair recently meeting in Dubai which resulted in Krejcikova not only winning the match but winning the title. Should the second seed get past those tests then Coco Gauff awaits in the quarter-finals which is a match-up that hasn’t suited the second seed in the past. Overall a tough draw awaits and should Sabalenka set up a final with Swiatek then it’s another sign that Sabalenka’s mentality and ability to perform under pressure has improved drastically.
Pegula has a comfortable opening couple of rounds against Camila Giorgi and Anastasia Potapova before some tricky matches against Petra Kvitova and Maria Sakkari. Pegula will look to prove a point in Indian Wells as she looks to frustrate her opponents with her consistently accurate baseline game. However given her previous form in California and her projected draw, this could prove to be a tricky challenge if she wants to make another quarter-final this season.
Jabeur has struggled with injuries since the start of the year and the Tunisian will look to re-establish herself as a main contender with a deep run in California.
Jabeur’s Path to the Final
R1: Bye | H2H: N/A
R2: Lauren Davis | H2H: First Meeting
R3: Marie Bouzkova  | H2H: Jabeur leads 1-0
R4: Victoria Azarenka  | H2H: Azarenka leads 1-0
QF: Daria Kasatkina  | H2H: Jabeur leads 4-2
SF: Iga Swiatek  | H2H: Swiatek leads 3-2
F: Aryna Sabalenka  | H2H: Sabalenka leads 3-1
Jabeur has a very favourable draw and she may need it after missing the last few tournaments with a knee injury. The only obstacle that the Tunisian may face on her way to the semi-finals in California is Victoria Azarenka given her form to start the year. Otherwise this is a good draw for Jabeur and a golden opportunity for the fourth seed to win one of the biggest titles of her career.
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