Monday’s schedule will be headlined by a blockbuster Williams clash that will take centre stage at night. There’s plenty of good matches and all-seeded clashes to look forward to. For a review of second round match action from the bottom half of the women’s draw, click HERE. Read on for a sweeping preview of Monday’s standout matches…
Match of the Day – Venus Williams vs. Serena Williams
In the match of the tournament so far, Venus and Serena will meet for the 29th time on tour on Monday. The fact that this clash will take place at Indian Wells is a monumental occasion and something that never seemed likely. It will be the first time that the pair meet since the 2017 Australian Open and the first time playing each other at a non-Slam event since 2014.
Venus won her first WTA match of the year with a 6-3 6-4 win over Sorana Cirstea, while Serena continued her impressive comeback with a 7-6(5) 7-5 victory over Kiki Bertens. Bertens played a good match and gave Serena a stern test, one which she passed with flying colours.
Serena leads the head-to-head, 17-11 and has won their last three matches. It’s difficult to give an opinion of how this one will pan out, particularly because there are so few data points for both players in 2018. I went for Venus in my Draw Challenge. I’m tempted to pick Serena, tentatively, based on her level through the first two matches.
Hipster match – Julia Goerges vs. Anastasija Sevastova
The number 12 and 21 seeds, Julia Goerges and Anastasija Sevastova respectively, will play each other for the sixth time on tour with Goerges leading the head-to-head, 4-1. The pair have infinitely different styles, but have both been consistent and successful on the WTA tour over the past year. From a break down, Goerges scored a very impressive win in the second round over the dangerous, Natalia Vikhlyantseva, 6-4 6-1. Sevastova needed three sets to get past Monica Puig.
Goerges’s hip injury didn’t seem to be an issue in her second round match and she seemed to pick up where she left off from in Doha. Sevastova has plenty of tricks up her sleeve, yet Goerges has dealt with them well in many of their previous clash. 60-40 in favour of Goerges.
50:50 Match – Sloane Stephens vs. Daria Kasatkina
A pretty solid candidate for match of the day #2 will see the number 13 and 20 seeds, Sloane Stephens and Daria Kasatkina take on each other in the desert. Stephens produced arguably her best performance since the US Open, getting up for a blockbuster clash against Victoria Azarenka with a 6-1 7-5 victory. Fresh off her run to the final in Dubai, Daria Kasatkina delivered a confident display to advance past Katerina Siniakova. Kasatkina led 6-2 5-2 when the Czech player called it a day due to a leg injury.
In their only previous match at Charleston in 2016, Stephens saved a match point to beat Kasatkina, 6-1 5-7 7-5. I don’t think that Stephens will underestimate Kasatkina having worked with Tennis Channel during Charleston last year where Kasatkina won the title. I’m really on the fence with this one because Stephens played so well on Sunday. Kasatkina’s in great form and I hope she can believe in herself. Can’t wait for this one!
The number seven seed, Caroline Garcia will be seeking a first ever win against the number 26 seed, Daria Gavrilova having lost all five previous encounters. Gavrilova has won three of their last four in straight sets with their most recent match coming in Strasbourg on clay last year. Garcia has improved so, so much since that last match and while not reaching the lofty heights of last season yet in 2018, has still delivered consistency beyond this time last year. Gavrilova seems to be battling herself a lot of these days. The Aussie did pick up a good win over Yanina Wickmayer in the second round, coming from 2-5 down in the first set to win, 7-6(3) 6-2.
I’m going for Garcia to snap the streak and beat Gavrilova for the first time.
Didn’t expect that…
In the most unexpected third round match in Indian Wells, the 18-year-old, Sofya Zhuk will play the American, Danielle Collins. The pair earnt career best wins on Saturday – Zhuk showed tremendous resilience to eventually beat Magdalena Rybarikova on her 12th match point, while a committed Collins beat Madison Keys in straight sets.
Collins leads the head-to-head, 3-0 and came from a set down to win in her last two. Their most recent match came in the final of Newport Beach at the start of the year where Collins won, 2-6 6-4 6-3. Before I saw the H2H I would have gone with Zhuk. This will be their first meeting on the WTA tour which could change things up. I’ll stick with my original instinct.