After a year and a half of waiting, tennis is finally back in the California desert! The fall edition of Indian Wells comes with much anticipation as the last WTA 1000 event of the year. With the massive changes in the WTA landscape since the 2019 event, fans are treated to an entirely different event landscape, especially after this year’s US Open results. As always, we here at LWOT will be offering our predictions for every match, including Sloane Stephens vs Heather Watson, Andrea Petkovic vs Yulia Putintseva, and Madison Keys vs Kaia Kanepi.
WTA Indian Wells Day 1 Predictions
Mai Hontama vs Jasmine Paolini
Head-to-head: first meeting
Both players have made big gains this year, Hontama succeeding at the ITF level and picking up two ITF titles, Paolini progressing out of the ITF/125k circuit to become a regular tour player. Paolini comes into this match feeling good after dominating her two qualifying matches and capturing her first career title three weeks ago in Portoroz. Hontama is coming off a career win over Shelby Rogers in Chicago and also won her two qualifying matches in straight sets, though she spent a good bit longer on court than Paolini. Hontama has collected a lot of hard court wins this year but most have come against lesser competition in ITF tournaments. Paolini has been in good form and plays good hard court tennis, and her extra freshness will allow her to wear down Hontama from the baseline and win the match.
Prediction: Paolini in 2
Elena-Gabriela Ruse vs Alize Cornet
Head-to-head: first meeting
Youth vs experience here, with Ruse in the midst of her career-best year and Cornet still playing good tennis at age 31. Ruse is at her career-high ranking after winning her first career title and making another final this summer. Cornet has been up-and-down this season but had a recent highlight by making the final in Chicago. The Frenchwoman is used to Indian Wells, coming the the desert for the ninth time. Cornet is a solid hard court player, while both of Ruse’s two finals have come on clay. Cornet’s experience and abilities on the surface will give her a significant edge to win this match.
Prediction: Cornet in 2
Shelby Rogers vs Anhelina Kalinina
Head-to-head: 1-0 Kalinina
Rogers has had mixed results this year but seems to have found her groove of late. The American reached the Round of 16 at the US Open, losing to the eventual winner Emma Raducanu, and followed it up with two impressive wins in Chicago. Kalinina had an incredible summer, winning 14 consecutive matches on clay before the season turned back to hard courts. The slower courts at Indian Wells should help Kalinina, but court speed does not completely make up the surface distance, shown by her drastically different results. Rogers is talented and has potential to make a run at the end of the year. Rogers will have the home crowd behind her and is both more used to the bigger stage and should have more motivation to win the match. Kalinina will give her a bit of trouble but ultimately Rogers will prevail in the end.
Prediction: Rogers in 3
Magda Linette vs Rebecca Peterson
Head-to-head: 2-0 Peterson
Peterson has won both their meetings, both played in 2019 on clay and hard courts. Both players have had similar form in the weeks leading up to Indian Wells and fare similarly on hard courts. With about the same figure and style of play, this match is sure to be close and could lean either way. While Linette is more highly ranked, Peterson has improved her ranking more of late. Linette’s consistency is a concern, while she was able to beat Daria Kasatkina she also lost to Jil Teichmann last week. Peterson has also gone through stretches of inconsistency but has notched more high-quality wins recently. This match is close to a toss-up, but Peterson has looked better against quality opponents recently and both players will need to come out with their A game to get the win. Peterson has shown more of that of late and will pull out the upset.
Prediction: Peterson in 3
Main Photo from Getty.