WTA Indian Wells, 2nd Round Preview for Friday: Halep v Gavrilova, Safarova v Barthel

1. Simona Halep v Daria Gavrilova

HalepThere were rumours that Simona Halep may pull out of Indian Wells after a family tragedy, but that has not been the case as Simona will play her first match of the week on Friday.  She goes up against Daria Gavrilova, who is enjoying a great start to 2015.  After missing six months at the start of 2014 due to a torn anterior cruciate ligament, Gavrilova has been slowly working her way up the rankings.  She earnt her place in the main draw of the Australian Open by winning the wildcard play-off at the end of 2014.  Although she lost in the first round, she made notable impressions in both Brisbane and Sydney.  Gavrilova reached the second round in Brisbane, coming through three rounds of qualifying to reach the main draw.  In Sydney she earnt a superb win over Belinda Bencic and then pushed Angelique Kerber hard in a tiring three setter that finished in the very early hours of the morning.  I was really impressed by Gavrilova’s groundstrokes and her attitude on court.  Since Australia, Gavrilova has won back-to-back ITF titles and qualified for the main draw in Doha.  Halep hasn’t played since winning the tournament in Dubai.  She’s often a slow starter at tournaments so this won’t be an easy match against a very decent opponent.  I’m slightly concerned about putting a poll in after Romania destroyed my who will win IW poll… 😛

Prediction: Halep d. Gavrilova in 2 tight sets

2. Lucie Safarova v Mona Barthel

SafarovaLucie Safarova‘s first singles match at the 2015 BNP Paribas Open will be against Mona Barthel.  This ia tough one for me because Lucie and Mona are two of my favourite players.  This will be Lucie’s first appearance since winning her biggest career title to date in Doha.  Barthel beat Kristina Mladenovic in a wild first rounder, 6-3 5-7 6-4.  The match had plenty of twists and turns, but it was a good match.  Compared to some of the stats produced from matches on Wednesday, it was probably the best match of the day.  Barthel was the more solid player, but Mladenovic produced some magical moments at the net.  Barthel failed to serve out the match in the second set, but it was more Kiki zoning rather Mona doing anything wrong.  Mladenovic was just unable to sustain her form throughout the match.  Barthel showed her nerves again serving out the match in the third set, but she got across the finish line in the end.

Safarova leads the head-to-head, 2-1 and won their last match at the end of 2014 in Beijing, 6-3 6-3.  Mona has become a lot more defensive in her last couple of matches.  She’s been more consistent, but it also takes away from what can make her so great so i’m undecided if it’s the right move.  You never quite know what Lucie will deliver in the first match of a tournament but if she serves as well as she has done in the last month or so, she will be the favourite to come through.

Prediction: Safarova d. Barthel in 2 tight sets


WTA Indian Wells 2nd round predictions

Zarina Diyas d. Donna Vekic in 2 tight sets

Katerina Siniakova d. Svetlana Kuznetsova in 3 sets

Elina Svitolina d. Alison Van Uytvanck in 3 sets

Timea Bacsinszky d. Marina Erakovic in 2 tight sets

Ekaterina Makarova d. Elena Vesnina in 2 sets

Garbine Muguruza d. Irina Falconi in 2 sets

Karolina Pliskova d. Lara Arruabarrena in 2 sets

Carla Suarez Navarro d. Monica Puig in 3 sets

Barbora Zahlavova Strycova d. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in 3 sets

Camila Giorgi d. Heather Watson in 2 tight sets

Agnieszka Radwanska d. Alison Riske in 2 sets

19 thoughts on “WTA Indian Wells, 2nd Round Preview for Friday: Halep v Gavrilova, Safarova v Barthel

  1. Was there any truth in the Halep cousin story? Just wondering if it may affect her?
    Otherwise I don’t think she’ll have too much problem here.


    • Actually we don’t know what is true and what is not. Romanian press is not so reliable. We know that there is this tragedy in her family and we should respect her privacy and show her our support!


    • I saw the funerals on many romanian tv stations.The problem is her cousin played tennis with Simona at the same club and with the same coach.Suicide is the worst thing in Romanian culture,orthodox priests refuse to give the same assistance as they do on any other funeral.29 y.o. had big debts because of a gambling problem.I believe gangsters knew he is related to Simona and gave him more credit than they usually do.


  2. And what if the IW poll will show itself as truthful? And Halep will win the tournament? Is it a rule that WTA Nr.1 should always lead the polls? Judging from the picture I saw from her last practice seems that Serena is showing yet her age.
    She won’t make it to the final…


  3. Hey, James – I understand your frustration with the poll results being skewed by overzealous fans, but as a Romanian myself, I can’t help being a little put off by your remarks. For better or worse, that’s what fans do, not just Halep fans, although Halep fans seem to be more active these days to the chagrin of other fans (I don’t know why your site got their attention all of a sudden). They didn’t do anything against the rules, though, they didn’t break any etiquette, as far as I’m aware.

    I suggest you ban votes from Romanian IPs, if you have the technical means and know-how to do that. It will help keep your polls unbiased, and it will also spare the occasional Romanian reader from indelicate comments.


    • Hi Iulian, to be honest, I’m very grateful that anyone would want to read my blog and contribute by voting in the poll. I’m not frustrated by the skewed poll and I certainly won’t be blocking anyone from the polls. I’m sorry you were put off by my comment, but I really didn’t mean it seriously and it was just a joke!


  4. Hi James, Im a regular follower of your blog and enjoy the write ups to be honest, and Im from South Africa. I would like to raise an interesting question though, why is it that in the womens matches, there
    are so many break of serves( unless its Serena you up against), I dont always think its the quality of the return but mere fact that they dont posses nearly enough power or quality on most of their serves, bare
    in mind there are a few that holds more consistently , do you or anyone else think that it comes from a
    coaching point or simply mental?


    • The reason there are so many breaks of serve on the WTA is because the womens players hit their serves far too flat, especially their second serves.


    • Thanks, Denzil. I’d agree with Andrew. The serve isn’t so crucial in the WTA compared to the ATP and there are few players with a really decent second serve. However, I disagree with those that use this as a criticism of the WTA. There have been some brilliant matches that have been absolute break-fests. Sometimes watching a serve dominated ATP match is not nearly as fun as a WTA match with lots of breaks of serves.


    • I began to appreciate women’s tennis more, because I think physically its just hard to maintain that consistency and power like the men. Could be height physique related? I don’t know, probably. But thanks to that, I find women tennis has evolved and they focus to also develop other strengths as their key weapons instead. For me, men tennis have already reached that level many years ago with Fed/Nadal/top50 etc. their skills are so varied and polished. I am finding just so interesting now about women tennis and the players.
      Actually thanks for raising this question, as it made me wonder why I was so intrigued by Edberg before.. his Serve, Volleys (all of it), graceful movements despite volleyer, backhand, sportsmanship… nothing more. With current Women Tennis, I actually find so much more things to be intrigued by e.g. in Halep, her play, misses, tactics, mentality and personality even. Not sure if I make sense here. oh well ;p Happy that Federer is still playing well.

      ps. Side topic : In Halep’s R4 this morning, she skidded twice, in R3 once, when she delivered very similar Djokovic type of run and winners… just wondering if it is typical of Adidas tennis shoes. Same happens to Djokovic we see so often.

      pps. thanks James for keeping the blog. It’s definitely not easy task to invest the time in it, and yet manage to keep it so friendly and open, and have good discussions on-going always… even though you don’t exactly moderate it. Kudos!


  5. Dear James,

    Ref Romanian fans – they are simply the best, this should be the conclusion you draw 🙂

    P.S. as you may see above, Simona’s fans are not only Romanian people 😉


    • This is true. Simona has a growing legion of fans across the world – I am one of them from the UK. On a well known women’s tennis forum that I am a member of, she has fans in her sub-forum from every continent (except Antarctica, LOL) and the countries represented are numerous. Yes, we’re ‘slightly’ obsessed with her but she gives us plenty of reasons to be so.


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