Never have I seen such an open field at a tournament of this stature. With Simona Halep’s and Naomi Osaka’s exits, the two top contenders are out. Now, some unexpected challengers have shown up. I doubt anyone expected Marketa Vondrousova or Bianca Andreescu to here – but, here they are! My predictions for who’ll be moving on the semifinals of this prestigious tournament:
WTA Indian Wells Quarterfinal Predictions
Garbine Muguruza vs Bianca Andreescu
Had Serena Williams not withdrawn, I doubt Garbine Muguruza would be here. Her play started slow against Williams and again against Kiki Bertens. It took more than two-and-a half hours of extended rallies for Muguruza to chalk up the win and take out Bertens. If she wants to see the semifinals, she need to come out of the gates at full force against the tournament-tough Canadian.
Bianca Andreescu has been on a tear. And that’s not just at Indian Wells. The Canadian teenager has won 14 of her last 15 matches and she’s booked a spot in her third straight quarterfinal. She just chalked up her 25th win of 2019, more than any other player on the WTA tour. I don’t think the big stage is too big and this red-hot player will not be cowed by this big moment. We’ll see plenty of momentum shifts, but I expect to see the Canadian outlast Muguruza’s upswings and move on the semis.
Prediction: Andreescu in 3
Elina Svitolina vs Marketa Vondrousova
Head to head: Svitolina 2-0 Vondrousova
Svitolina has had to play through some stiff competition to reach the quarterfinals. There have been no easy passes along Elina Svitolina’s route to the quarterfinals. After a first round bye, it took a contentious, three set match for her to move on to the third round. Her third round win came in straight sets, but it took her nearly two hours to defeat her former doubles partner. Pitted against Ashleigh Barty in the Round of 16, it took three close and combative sets to claim her quarterfinals spot. Perhaps the tight matches and extensive court time will serve to sharpen her game, or perhaps the fatigue will creep in. Against Marketa Vondrousova, Svitolina has little margin of error. In a three-set contest, Vondrousova upended Simona Halep with her all-court game. Running her side to side, tempting her into futile runs for delicate dropshots, Vondrousova outplayed #2 seed Simona Halep. The Czech teen has that rare combination of power and finesse, combined with whip-smart shot selection. I don’t see Vondrousova leaving just yet.
Prediction: Vondrousova in 3
Angelique Kerber vs Venus Williams
Head to head: Kerber 5-3 Williams No history
It’s back! That powerful first step which drives Venus quickly to any drop shot or to the opposite side of the court chasing down her opponent’s intended winner. This is the Venus of old – invigorated, commanding, and doing it without racking up free points on her serve. She has certainly earned her place in the quarterfinals. It won’t be an easy go as she meets defensive mastermind Angelique Kerber. She has the ability to negate Venus’ power, easily absorbing her pace. Coming off her hard-fought win against Aryna Sabalenka, Kerber is showing the prowess which led her to three Grand Slam championships. This is going to be a tough match, nearly impossible to call, but I give the slight edge to Venus. When she on, she’s on and is impossible to stop.
Prediction: Venus in 3
Karolina Pliskova vs Belinda Bencic
It was a match played with the precision of a Swiss watchmaker. Belinda Bencic wasn’t overcome by #1 seed Naomi Osaka’s power. In fact, using power of her own, with placement to boot, Bencic brought in a winning performance in little over an hour, to claim her spot in the quarterfinals. It was an error-laden match by the World #1 Osaka, but do not take anything away from the Swiss’ performance. Hopefully her accuracy remains when she meets #5 seed Karolina Pliskova. Pliskova worked through a tough three-set, two hour battle to overcome #21 seed Estonian Anett Kontaveit by a slim margin. Pliskova will need to keep her serve intact to punch her ticket to the semifinals. Bencic is confident, accurate, and enjoying a nine-match winning streak. I can’t pick against Bencic and think she’s headed to the semis, quite possibly the final.
Prediction: Bencic in 3