The women’s draw gets under way on Wednesday.
Tournament winner from both the WTA and ATP have been a little more random lately. That can only be good for the sport.
No woman has defended the Indian Wells title since Navratilova did it in 1991. The omens aren’t good for Sharapova then!
The defending champion is in the top half of the draw. If she is to make it to the quarter final stage she will have to work hard. Goerges really shouldn’t beat her in the second round but the German has been coming out with the occasional decent performance of late. If Sharapova gets past her then potentially she will have Petkovic and then Stosur standing in her way. As long as Sharapova is fit then I can see her reaching the quarter finals. She hasn’t played since Paris in January and hasn’t looked as sharp as usual so far this season.
If Sharapova makes it as far as the quarter finals her most likely opponent is perhaps Kerber. Muguruza shouldn’t give her too many problems in the third round. In the 4th round she will probably meet the winner from Ivanovic v Stephens. The winner of that one really depends on which version of each player shows up. Stephens’ attitude and body language in her last match was very poor and her coach was clearly frustrated with her. He was wanting her to show some emotion but the wannabe superstar pretty much ignored him and was dumped out of Dubai by Safarova. A repeat of that sort of behaviour must give Ivanovic a great chance of reaching the 4th round.
Li Na played the World Tennis Day exhibition and looked pretty poor. Form in exhibitions should always be taken with a pinch of salt. She was awful though! She has been quite fortunate with the draw and will meet Lisicki in the 4th round assuming the German beats Pavlyuchenkova in round 3. Li will have had a chance to fine tune her game by then and I expect her to take her place in the quarter finals.
The draw for the other quarter final seems to favour Cibulkova. Like Li Na she is unlikely to be tested until the 4th round where her expected opponent should be Kvitova. With Kvitova’s inconsistency I would be favouring the pocket rocket to beat her to get to the quarter final.
Predicted quarter finals from the top half of the draw: Li v Cibulkova, Sharapova v Kerber.
Semi final: Li v Kerber.
The bottom half of the draw looks a little more open.
Simona Halep could have a tricky third round match with Safarova but must be favourite to reach the 4th round where Bouchard or Errani will be waiting. Bouchard’s form has been dire recently so Errani could give her some real problems.
Azarenka has a few banana skins between her and a quarter final place. Her last match was the Australian Open quarter final where she was bageled in the third set by Radwanska. Hantuchova and Pironkova are capable of upsetting her if she isn’t well prepared. If she gets as far as the quarter finals Halep will most certainly test her.
Lower down this half of the draw Jankovic and Wozniacki look the strongest contenders. They would meet in the 4th round if Jankovic can defeat Rybarikova and Wozniacki doesn’t slip up against Alison Riske in the second round or Kanepi in the third.
Who knows what sort of form Radwanska will bring to the tournament? Her last couple of matches weren’t great, especially the loss to Pennetta in Dubai. I don’t doubt she has been working hard to put right whatever the issues were.
We also don’t know if Cornet will continue her remarkable season which has seen her beat Serena to get to the final in Dubai. She also reached the semi finals in Paris in January.
Predicted quarter finals in the bottom half of the draw: Halep v Azarenka, Jankovic v Cornet
Semi final: Halep v Jankovic.
Predicted winner: Halep (beating Li Na in the final)
Of course injuries can soon make all of the above obsolete 😉