INDIAN WELLS, USA – While an Australian Open showdown between Simona Halep and Caroline Wozniacki, not to mention the race for World No. 1 is on the cards, all eyes will be on Serena Williams‘ tour comeback.
The 2015 champion returned to the top spot after briefly losing it to Caroline Wozniacki, and is the top seed at Indian Wells for the first time. With not that much to defend after a third round exit last year, if Halep reaches the title, she will keep the top spot.
However the foot injury she sustained in Australia has caused her issues. To make the Australian open final after rolling her ankle in her opener in Melbourne was remarkable enough, but her run to the quarter-final in Doha came at a price with her pulling out of her semi-final and having to skip Dubai the week after.
It is not the easiest of paths for the Romanian – she could potentially face a more resurgent Dominika Cibulkova in the third round, against whom she trails in their head to head. She also trails her potential fourth round foe in Kristina Mladenovic – who seemed to have snapped her poor run of form.
The race to regain the World No. 1 spot is on, but defending semi-final points puts the pressure on the Dane. While she gamely went to St Petersburg straight from winning her maiden Slam at the Australian Open, she had a better run in Doha, losing a gritty semi-final to Petra Kvitova.
She will have to reach the final to have a chance of regaining the top spot, and if Halep wins her opener, Wozniacki will have to win the title.
She is pretty evenly matched against her potential third round opponent, Anett Kontaveit, and while Sloane Stephensalso managed to snap her losing streak earlier, Wozniacki’s head to head over the American should see her progress to the quarter-finals for a potential clash against either Caroline Garcia or Angelique Kerber.
The post Australian Open phase of proceedings has been a little more consistent for the Spaniard, whose start to the year was hampered by early injury. The final in Doha and semi-final in Dubai have been a bit more of a highlight, as it feels like her season has finally got started.
She has a surprisingly even head to head with her potential third round opponent in Agnieszka Radwanska, who has not exactly set the world alight this year, but at least seems to be getting a little more consistency compared to her struggles last year.
Round four could see her face Ashleigh Barty who has not been in action since the Australian Open. More was perhaps expected of the feisty Aussie in her home Slam and he pair have split their head to head with one win apiece.
The quarter-final could see her face an impressive Petra Kvitova, or Karolina Pliskovain the quarter-finals – neither of which are player she enjoys coming up against.
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