Watson & Robson carry women’s hopes at Indian Wells

By Ros Satar

British hopes lie with Heather Watson and Laura Robson as the tour progresses into US swing with the largest tournament outside the majors.

Indian Wells differs from the other “regular” tour events in that (like the Slams) it runs over two weeks and hosts a starting field of 128.

They even have a mixed doubles event!

The Brits find themselves on opposite sides of the top half of the draw.

Robson would potentially have to come through seeds such as Julia Goerges (21), Nadia Petrova (10), Caroline Wozniacki (8) and world no. 2 Victoria Azarenka (1).

Watson’s path could include Angelique Kerber (4) as her second round match, with potential later rounds including Lucie Safarova (16), and either Ana Ivanovic (11) or Sam Stosur (7) heading up the other quarter.

However, after some battles in previous tournaments against lower ranked players, both will be looking to get off the mark efficiently in their first round matches.

Watson faces Romania’s Irina-Camelia Begu (53).

The pair have never met, and are not too far apart on the rankings, and with Begu having had a career high of 38 (12 September 2011).

Watson is at her highest ranking of 39 (25 February 2013) so this could be a close run match.

But Watson has recently shown her tenacity and ability for digging in and grinding out a win, and she will need every ounce of that grit if she comes through this match to face the 4th Seed, Kerber.

Watson teams up with her regular tour doubles partner, New Zealand’s Marina Erakovic, and they will face the seeded American pairing of Raquel Kops-Jones and Abigail Spears (7).

Robson starts her campaign off against Sweden’s Sofia Arvidsson (49).

Again, neither have met before on the tour and with only 6 places in rankings between them, this could be a close run match for Robson, who has hopefully recovered from a chest infection that troubled her during the Middle-East swing.

Robson has the potentially easier path through the draw, but a lot will depend on her health and fitness, having also been troubles with a shoulder problem since the Australian Open earlier this year.

Eurosport coverage starts on Sunday 10th March.

Picture Credit: Keith Allison (Creative Commons Licence)