Some fascinating ties to look forward to in the second week in Indian Wells
Indian Wells is the best attended tennis tournament in the calendar outside the Grand Slams and the Californian crowd are set to be treated to some superb tennis over the next week.
With most of the big names making it safely into the second week there is plenty to look forward to with Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic once again leading the way.
Keep reading for our preview of all this week’s tennis action.
BNP Paribas Open – Men
There are likely to be some heavyweight battles in the second week at Indian Wells with the returning Marin Cilic one of only two major players to suffer an upset in the early rounds. The US Open champion played his first match of 2015 against Juan Monaco but went down 6-4 6-4 to the talented Argentinean.
Four time Indian Wells champion Roger Federer beat his rival Novak Djokovic in Dubai recently and as the top two seeds the pair could meet in next weekend’s final.
The Swiss former world number one is in the bottom half of the draw alongside Rafael Nadal and their rivalry could be renewed for the 34th time at the semi-final stage – and Federer’s run got a little easier after the surprise early defeat of Davis Cup teammate Stan Wawrinka.
Nadal is creeping back to form after a long spell out through injury but looked good on his way to the Buenos Aires title a couple of weeks ago. He may have to play world number six Milos Raonic in the quarter finals.
The top half of the draw also looks intriguing with Novak Djokovic the top seed. The Serb took his third title last year and is the man to beat but he has the inconsistent Andy Murray in his half and the pair could meet in the semi-finals.
Last week we suggested that you keep an eye on David Ferrer after his two recent titles and his potential match-up with Kei Nishikori could be one of the highlights of the last eight stage.
BNP Paribas Open – Women
The last time Serena Williams played at Indian Wells she was booed as she took the 2001 title. Having decided to return this year after a 14 year boycott Williams was visibly moved as she walked onto court to a standing ovation in her first round match.
The world number one was clearly shaken in the early moments but recovered to beat the tenacious Monica Niculescu 7-5 7-5.
After the match Williams said:
“I feel really good. I feel like the nerves have kind of gone away. I feel better.
I was a little nervous. The weeks leading up to it, days leading up to it, and eventually the hours it was a little nerve-wracking. But now I’m good that I was able to do this.
It definitely feels like one of the biggest and proudest moments of my career,”
There will be some terrific encounters in the women’s draw this week with all but one of the top ten in action.
Second seed Maria Sharapova looks set to play Victoria Azarenka and Ana Ivanovic before the semi-final stage and may then have to beat either Eugenie Bouchard or Caroline Wozniacki to reach the final.
The bottom half of the draw also features the in-form Italian Sara Errani, the dangerous Madison Keys and the rising star Caroline Garcia who has reached the final of her last two events.
In the top half of the draw it is Serena Williams’ tournament to lose although she will also find it tough.
Simona Halep recovered from losing the first set in her opening match to progress and looks to have a reasonably clear route to the last eight where she could face Britain’s Heather Watson who had one of the best wins of her career last week when she defeated world number seven Agnieska Radwanska.
It may also be worth keeping an eye on the talented Karolina Pliskova while last week we tipped Timea Bacsinszky at long odds after her two recent titles and she beat eight seed Ekaterina Makarova in round three.