The WTA side of the tournament in Indian Wells is onto the third round on Day 5, yielding some exciting match-ups. As always, we here at LWOT will preview and predict every match. Who do you think will win?
WTA Indian Wells Day 5 Predictions
Madison Keys vs Alison Riske
Head-to-head: Keys 6-1 Riske
Keys had an absolutely stunning start to the season with a title in Adelaide and a semifinal run at the Australian Open, taking her from outside the Top 50 to inside the Top 30. The 27-year-old did not have a good February in Mexico, losing in the first round in Guadalajara to Harmony Tan and in Monterrey to Petra Martic. After a first-round bye in Indian Wells, Keys broke her three-match losing streak with a three-set win over Misaki Doi. Next up for her is Alison Riske, who Keys knows very well as they have faced off seven times before, including earlier this year in the Adelaide final. Keys won six of these matches with Riske winning their first meeting back in 2011 when her opponent was just 16 years old. The 31-year-old, however, made headlines after upsetting Garbine Muguruza in her last match. Despite that win and slower conditions, I expect Keys to win here.
Prediction: Keys in 2
Daria Kasatkina vs Angelique Kerber
Head-to-head: Kerber 5-4 Kasatkina
This will be the tenth match between Kerber and Kasatkina, the third at Indian Wells. The previous two were split with Kerber winning last year in October while Kasatkina only allowed the German two games in the 2018 quarterfinals. Kerber came into California winless this season with losses to Kaia Kanepi in Melbourne and Jil Teichmann in Doha before she beat Qinwen Zhang 6-4 in the third for her first win in four months. Kasatkina is 11-5 on the season, winning at least two matches at every tournament she has played this season outside of her first-round loss in Dubai to Iga Swiatek. The 24-year-old has pulled off some nice wins already this year, beating Madison Keys and Garbine Muguruza, though she also had a hard time in her first match here, similarly to Kerber. Wildcard Katie Volynets pushed Kasatkina to 7-5 in the third. With her form this season and the slow conditions in Indian Wells, Kasatkina is the favorite for me.
Prediction: Kasatkina in 3
Anna Kalinskaya vs Sorana Cirstea
Head-to-head: Kalinskaya 1-0 Cirstea
Lucky loser Kalinskaya has had her fair share of luck in this third-round run here. The 23-year-old got back into the competition after losing to Wang Qiang through Rebecca Peterson’s withdrawal due to a left shoulder injury. Kalinskaya’s first-round opponent, Harmony Tan, retired early in the second set and Kalinskaya faced 33rd seed Alize Cornet, who took the place of top seed Barbora Krejcikova after her withdrawal. Kalinskaya won and looks well on her way to equal her fourth-round run from last year. Standing in her way will be Sorana Cirstea, who is 10-6 on the season but has already put together a couple of runs this year, reaching the fourth round at the Australian Open and semifinals in Lyon. The 31-year-old got a bye and then beat Ajla Tomljanovic, but I consider Kalinskaya a slight favorite.
Prediction: Kalinskaya in 3
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Coco Gauff vs Simona Halep
Head-to-head: Halep 1-0 Gauff
This is Gauff’s second time in Indian Wells, first in the regular March date. The year has been a mixed bag for the 17-year-old with a couple of solid runs (semifinals in Adelaide, quarterfinals in Doha) but struggling for consistency. Halep has had some great times in Indian Wells, winning the tournament in 2015 and reaching the semifinals two other times. The 30-year-old is 12-3 on the season, winning a 250 in Melbourne and semifinals in Dubai while having her journeys cut short in the fourth round of the Australian Open and the first round in Doha. The Romanian beat Ekaterina Alexandrova in her opener and leads the head-to-head 1-0 over Gauff, ending the young star’s breakout run in the fourth round of Wimbledon 2019. Halep is a favorite for me with the surface but Gauff can certainly make the match interesting.
Prediction: Halep in 2
Main Photo from Getty.