Defending Champion Swiatek The Favorite At WTA Indian Wells; Gauff, Pegula, Sabalenka Contenders

by Staff | March 7th, 2023, 1:07 am
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Iga Swiatek leads a star-studded WTA Indian Wells field which begins this Wednesday. The world No. 1 and defending champion will be joined by Australian Open winner Arya Sabalenka and top Americans Jessica Pegula and Coco Gauff.

Following knee surgery, Ons Jabeur returns along with two-time champion Victoria Azarenka, 2021 winner Paula Badosa and Australian Open finalist Elena Rybakina.

A look at the Top 16 seeds: 1 Iga Swiatek, 2 Aryna Sabalenka, 3 Jessica Pegula, 4 Ons Jabeur, 5 Caroline Garcia, 6 Coco Gauff, 7 Maria Sakkari, 8 Daria Kasatkina, 9 Belinda Bencic, 10 Elena Rybakina, 11 Veronika Kudermetova, 12 Liudmila Samsonova, 13 Beatriz Haddad Maia, 14 Victoria Azarenka, 15 Petra Kvitova and 16 Barbora Krejcikova.


IGA SWIATEK QUARTER
Seeds: 1 Swiatek, 5 Garcia, 12 Samsonova, 13 Haddad Maia, 19 Keys, 20 Linette, 30 Fernandez, 32 Andreescu
Floaters: Collins, Pera, Siniakova, Liu, Kovinic, Niemeier, Cirstea, Raducanu
Notable openers: Katerina Siniakova-Jule Niemeier, Tamara Korpatsch-Danielle Collins
Projected 3R matches: 1 Swiatek – 32 Andreescu, 20 Linette – 13 Haddad Maia, 12 Samsonova – 19 Keys, 30 Fernandez – 5 Garcia
Notes: Swiatek could face fellow former champion Andreescu in second match. Garcia has been in form in the U.S. reached the US Open semifinals and winning the Texas WTA Finals last fall. Three US Open champions in section plus Keys and Fernandez made the finals in New York and Garcia the semifinals.

ONS JABEUR QUARTER
Seeds: 4 Jabeur, 8 Kasatkina, 10 Rybakina, 14 Azarenka, 21 Badosa, 23 Trevisan, 25 Martic, 28 Bouzkova,
Floaters: Putintseva, Davis, Stephens, Maria, Muchova, Vondrousova, Kenin
Notable openers: Yulia Putintseva-Karolina Muchova, Sloane Stephens-Sofia Kenin
Projected 3R matches: 4 Jabeur – 28 Bouzkova, 23 Trevisan – 14 Azarenka, 10 Rybakina – 21 Badosa, 25 Martic – 8 Kasatkina
Notes: After missing almost two months, Jabeur returns in section with former champions Azarenka and Badosa. Former Slam winners Stephens and Kenin meet in best first round match. Rybakina could be the favorite.

JESSICA PEGULA QUARTER
Seeds: 3 Pegula, 7 Sakkari, 11 Kudermetova, 15 Kvitova, 17 Pliskova, 24 Ostapenko, 26 Potapova, 27 Kalinina
Floaters: Rogers, Sasnovich, Giorgi, Kanepi, Parks, Fruhvirtova, Volynets, Mandlik
Notable openers: Mayar Sherif-Linda Fruhvirtova, Anna Kalinskaya-Alycia Parks, Aliaksandra Sasnovich-Kaia Kanepi
Projected 3R matches: 7 Sakkari – 27 Kalinina, 17 Pliskova – 11 Kudermetova, 15 Kvitova – 24 Ostapenko, 26 Potapova – 3 Pegula
Notes: Pegula leads the way along with 2022 finalist Sakkari. Young stars Fruhvirtova, Parks and Volynets could surprise and Rogers is always dangerous.

ARYNA SABALENKA QUARTER
Seeds: 6 Gauff, 9 Bencic, 16 Krejcikova, 18 Alexandrova, 22 Zhang, 29 Vekic, 31 Anisimova,
Floaters: Teichmann,Mertens, Kostyuk, Noskova, Cornet, Yastremska
Notable openers: Linda Noskova-Irina Camelia Begu
Projected 3R matches: 6 Gauff – 31 Anisimova, 22 Zhang – 9 Bencic, 16 Krejcikova – 18 Alexandrova, 29 Vekic – 2 Sabalenka
Notes: Australian Open champion Sabalenka will have a tough road with the in-form Vekic plus Gauff, Dubai winner Krejcikova and Bencic lurking.

Fourth Round projected matches:
No. 1 Swiatek – 13 Haddad Maia
No. 12 Samsonova – 5 Garcia
No. 4 Jabeur – 14 Azarenka
No. 10 Rybakina – 8 Kasatkina

No. 7 Sakkari – 11 Kudermetova
No. 15 Kvitova – 3 Pegula
No. 6 Gauff – 9 Bencic
No. 16 Krejcikova – 2 Sabalenka

The semifinals are projected to be Iga Swiatek-Ons Jabeur and Jessica Pegula-Aryna Sabalenka.

Prior to the end of qualies, no fewer than 20 American women will start in the 96-draw field.

Former champions: Azarenka (2), Swiatek, Andreescu, Badosa
Former finalists: Kasatkina, Sakkari

Last year in the final, top seeded Iga Swiatek cruised past Maria Sakkari 6-4 6-1 as part of her 37-match win streak.

LAST 10 INDIAN WELLS CHAMPIONS/FINALS
2022 Iga Swiatek d Maria Sakkari 6-4 6-1
2021 Paula Badosa d Victoria Azarenka 7-6(5) 2-6 7-6(2)
2019 Bianca Andreescu d Angelique Kerber 6-4 3-6 6-4
2018 Naomi Osaka d Daria Kasatkina 6-3 6-2
2017 Elena Vesnina d Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-7(6) 7-5 6-4
2016 Victoria Azarenka d Serena Williams 6-4 6-4
2015 Simona Halep d Jelena Jankovic 2-6 7-5 6-4
2014 Flavia Pennetta d Agnieszka Radwanska 6-2 6-1
2013 Maria Sharapova d Caroline Wozniacki 6-2 6-2
2012 Victoria Azarenka d Maria Sharapova 6-2 6-3


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