The WTA BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells is back. It’s been two-and-a-half years since the last edition thanks to multiple pandemic related interruptions. Known at the “5th Major,” an exciting couple of weeks await in the Californian desert. Main draw action kicks off on Wednesday, and as ever we here at LWOT will be offering our predictions for every match, including Magda Linette vs Rebecca Peterson, Sloane Stephens vs Heather Watson, and Madison Keys vs Kaia Kanepi. Who will advance?
WTA Indian Wells Day 1 Predictions
Ludmilla Samsonova vs Kateryna Kozlova
Kateryna Kozlova eased through the qualifying draw with straight set wins over Tatjana Maria and Jasmine Paolini, dropping just four games in each match. The Ukrainian looms as a difficult first up opponent for Ludmilla Samsonova. Samsonova hasn’t played since a semi-final showing in Linz a few weeks ago. All of Samsonova’s best results in 2021 have been in quick conditions, including her title run on the grass of Berlin, a fourth round appearance at Wimbledon, and her semifinal appearance in Linz. The hard courts at Indian Wells are quite slow and bouncy, not the best conditions for Samsonova’s aggressive style of play. Kucova will be used to the unique conditions and has an unorthodox game to make things tricky for Samsonova here. Upset alert.
Prediction: Kozlova in 3
Ann Li vs Misaki Doi
H2H: Doi 1-0
Ann Li started the season on fire, but her form was fleeting. The American has been dealt a kind draw. Misaki Doi has been in miserable form for most of the season and looks very beatable here. It was Doi who defeated Li 6-3 7-6 in Charleston last year in their only previous meeting, that match was played on green clay, expect a different result on a hard court. Clay is Li’s worst surface; the hard courts are where she has done most of her damage. Li is the more solid of the two, her typical level should quite comfortably defeat Doi’s typical level of late. Doi will have a tough time hitting through Li and is unlikely to outlast her in the extended rallies.
Prediction: Li in 2
Tereza Martincova vs Ashlyn Krueger
H2H: First meeting.
Tereza Martincova is having her best season on tour. The 26-year-old reached the Top 100 for the first time earlier this year and now sits at #52 in the world thanks to winning 21 matches in her last ten events. Martincova had four WTA quarterfinals to her name before 2021; she has added five more this season, highlighting her rapid rise. The Czech should have little trouble beating local wild Ashlyn Krueger. The 17-year-old American has never won a Tour-level main draw match and is therefore yet to prove herself at this level. On paper Martincova wins easily, but it will be interesting to see if Krueger can rise to the occasion.
Prediction: Martincova in 2
Andrea Petkovic vs Yulia Putintseva
H2H: Putintseva 3-2
Yulia Putintseva arrives at Indian Wells fresh from a runner-up showing in Nur-Sultan. It was an agonizing ending to the tournament for Putintseva, defeated by Alison Van Uytvanck from a break up in the deciding set, unable to finish what would have been a meaningful triumph in her adopted homeland. It will be interesting to see how Putintseva responds now.
Andrea Petkovic won the most recent meeting between the pair, a 6-2 1-6 6-4 win on clay in Hamburg a few months ago. It was almost a decade ago when these two played their only previous match on a hard court, also in Indian Wells, which Petkovic won dropping just two games. Expect a very, very different result here. At this point in their respective careers, it is Putintseva who is the better player. The variety, movement and speed of Putintseva make her problematic for Petkovic. Putintseva wins in this match-up more often than not and should be too strong on this occasion.
Prediction: Putintseva in 3
Main Photo from Getty.