Saturday play brings some of the seeded players onto the court to start their run at Indian Wells. Here’s a look at four matches worth the watch.
WTA Indian Wells Day 4 Predictions
Petra Kvitova vs Venus Williams
Head to head: Kvitova 4-2 V. Williams
Venus’ opening round at Indian Wells was anything but comfortable, losing the second set to Petkovic 0-6. Not sure what was going on, but her service speed was in the 80s – far from her typical 90s to 100s. Her left foot barely left the ground in the service motion. This was not the aggressive, powerful Venus Williams we’re used to seeing. A medical timeout had her blood pressure checked which is never a good sign. But she played on and eventually dug deep to win this match. When she meets a red-hot Petra Kvitova in round two, she’ll need a lot more game from the start. Kvitova has made the finals in two of her last three tournaments. And, she is considered one of the players who can win this tournament. Unless Venus can correct Wednesday’s difficulties, this match will end quickly.
Prediction: Kvitova in 3
Kirsten Flipkens vs Danielle Collins
I can’t tell you how many times I think Danielle Collins can’t win the match. I’ll write a prediction about the it only to see Collins prove me horrifically wrong. So, this time out, I won’t betting against her. The World #25 University of Virginia alum has some serious weapons – raw power, good movement and the swagger of a champion. She’s taken out some top tier players, handing Angelique Kerber one of her most stunning losses at the Australian Open. Kirsten Flipkens won her opening round against Eugenie Bouchard. Her variety of shots along with a strategic game led her to a three set victory. But, those weapons won’t be enough against Collins’ power … and ambition.
Prediction: Collins in 2
Ekaterina Alexandrova vs Caroline Wozniacki
Head to head: Wozniacki 2-0 Alexandrova
Caroline Wozniacki hasn’t played a tournament since the Australian Open. She missed the Qatar Open and Dubai Duty Free thanks to a viral illness. For the first time in years, she’s dropped out of the Top 10. But, don’t count out this tournament tough Dane. Perhaps no one on the Women’s Tour can defend better than Wozniacki. After a first round bye, she begins her run to a second Indian Wells title taking on Russian Ekaterina Alexandrova. While Alexandrova won her opening match against Rebecca Peterson, it was a close three setter, which exposed her weaknesses. And it’s these very weaknesses upon which Wozniakci will capitalize.
Prediction: Wozniacki in 2
Naomi Osaka vs Kristina Mladenovic
Head to head: Osaka 1-1 Mladenovic
Having just won against her in Dubai, you’d think that Mladenovic likes her changes. And, I’d be tempted to agree except Osaka will come out firing, looking to cruise to a straight sets win. Osaka’s coaching change in the form of Jermaine Jenkins, once the hitting partner of Venus Williams, will serve to elevate her game. In order to win this match, Mladenovic will have to up her first serve percentage. Without a sharper servce, Mladenovic has no hope of competing. While Mladenovic will surely make it a match, I can’t see her ejecting the 2018 Indian Wells champion.
Prediction: Osaka in 3