The second week of the WTA Indian Wells Masters gets underway, with the competition getting fiercer by the day. Some big names are already out, giving the opportunity for other players to make a statement run. As always, we will be offering up our predictions on the matches throughout the day’s play. We look at four matches in this article and four in a separate article.
WTA Indian Wells Day 6 Predictions
Victoria Azarenka vs Elena Rybakina
Head-to-head: First meeting
Neither player comes into this match in great form, so this could get interesting. Rybakina looks a great prospect, and made a great start to the year. However, she will be disappointed not to have put together any strings of results since the Australian Open began. Could this be the week she recaptures her form?
Azararenka isn’t the ideal opponent to face when hoping for a big run. She’s been one of the best and most consistent players on the WTA for many years, and there’s still more to come from her. This match is likely to go the distance given the patchy form of both–but I expect the more experienced and battle hardened Azarenka to find a way through this one.
Prediction: Azarenka in 3
Elise Mertens vs Daria Saville
Head-to-head: Mertens 3 – 1 Saville
Mertens leads the head fairly comfortably and looks in good form this week. A very comprehensive victory over a tough opponent in Kostyuk would’ve been the ideal start to the tournament. Her game can trouble a lot of the top players, but she’s up against an in form opponent and this won’t be easy.
Saville has pulled off an almighty run this week. Coming through qualifying, she took out two seeded players before triumphing over Ons Jabeur in a three set thriller. Though she’s been great, you have to feel that she’ll burn out at some point, and Mertens will make her work really hard. This could well go all the way, but Mertens should have more in the tank and enough to get the job done.
Prediction: Mertens in 3
Marie Bouzkova vs Veronika Kudermetova
Head-to-head: Bouzkova 2 -1 Kudermetova
Kudermetova managed a good win over Naomi Osaka, who sadly broke down due to some nasty heckling from the crowd. Still, she played some great tennis and is the 21st seed here. Despite a big ranking difference between her and her opponent, she is trailing on the head-to-head–though one of these matches dates back to 2015 so is hardly a relevant indication of the current match-up.
Bouzkova smashed her way through qualifying and played an unbelievable second and third set to take out 14th seed Jessica Pegula. She’s looking really good these days and should really be ranked much higher than she is currently. Not an easy one to predict this–their styles complement each other well and both are comfortable on this surface. I’ll go with Kudermetova though; she’s playing some nice tennis this year and she should be too solid.
Prediction: Kudermetova in 3
Marketa Vondrousova vs Anett Kontaveit
Head-to-head: Vondrousova 2 – 1 Kontaveit
Another enticing encounter here. Kontaveit has been magnificent on the WTA Tour in recent times, and it’s great to see her seeded so highly. She will no doubt be hoping to back this up with a strong run this week – and this is the kind of match she needs to get through. She was simply unplayable in Qatar, right up until she faced Iga Swiatek in the final. Her run was mighty impressive considering her dismantling of the in form Jelena Ostapenko.
Voundrousova has been playing great tennis recently, but injury problems have got in the way somewhat. She can turn up and give anyone trouble, and I expect she’ll do just that here. Kontaveit has been so impressive recently, especially in Qatar, that I can’t see her losing this early. She’ll be tested, but I don’t see her losing to someone ranked lower than her right now.
Prediction: Kontaveit in 3
Main Photo from Getty.