Angelique Kerber survived a stern test in her tournament opener against Katerina Siniakova, finding the best of her unconventional lefty game to turn the tides when her back was against the wall deep in the third set. She’ll have an equally unconventional test up next in the form of 2018 BNP Paribas Open finalist Daria Kasatkina, through to the third round following a retirement win over Astra Sharma.
The charismatic Russian has always had a knack for outfoxing counterpunching players, making use of her topspin forehand to open up the court and dazzling crowds with her signature jumping backhand. Both she and Kerber have discovered some of their winning form in 2021 after underwhelming campaigns in their previous tournaments.
It’s an even four-wins-apiece head-to-head in this match-up, with the former World No. 1 getting the better of Kasatkina on the tour’s quicker surfaces and the latter dominating in slower conditions, including their 2018 clash here in the desert that Kasatkina won emphatically 6-0, 6-2.
Expect some highlight reel rallies and pin-point forehand placement as both these players compete for a spot in the round of 16.
American No. 1 Reilly Opelka meets popular Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov for the second time this year, bringing a clash of styles to Stadium 1’s second match that is sure to please the Southern California crowd.
Serving bombs off his 7-foot-tall frame, Opelka got the better of Dimitrov at their National Bank Open battle in August, winning their first career encounter 6-3, 6-4 before going on to reach his maiden Masters 1000 final at the Toronto showpiece.
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) August 11, 2021
One can expect more of the same, as the 16th-seeded American will be guaranteed to serve big – but don’t be surprised if you see him hanging tough with Dimitrov in the rallies as well. The big man has a deceptively strong baseline game and a surprisingly sound backhand despite his height. Dimitrov, the 2017 Nitto ATP Finals champ, has never made it past the third round at the BNP Paribas Open, but will need his full toolkit of shots (and maybe a little bit of luck on return) to maneuver his way into the final 16 for the first time.
Ons Jabeur’s breakthrough 2021 has been nothing short of spectacular. After making meaningful strides to improve her fitness, tennis and overall approach to her career, her decisions are paying dividends this season, which has seen her rise from World No. 31 at the start of the year to her current career-high of No. 14. The explosive shotmaker from Tunisia is still very much in the hunt for a spot at the season-ending WTA Finals in Guadalajara and currently sits at No. 9 in the Porsche Singles Race, one spot outside qualifying.
A good run in Indian Wells could be all she needs to cement her spot, and she’s off to an excellent start after battling past Anastasija Sevastova in the second round.
Standing in her way in Monday’s action is Danielle Collins, former college tennis star who has had a her own breakthrough this year, claiming her first (and second) WTA title and re-establishing herself firmly within the world’s Top 30.
Collins has found moderate success at the BNP Paribas Open in the past, reaching the fourth round as a wild card back ion 2018, but will need to make sure her audacious brand of tennis is at its very best if she’s to weather the onslaught of shotmaking off the Jabeur racquet.
Either way, you’re not going to want to miss this one, third up on Stadium 1 today.
Tiafoe has proven to be a tough out in the latter stages of this season and will hope to use his all-court athleticism and world-class backhand to keep Hurkacz out of rhythm in the slow night conditions in the desert. However, the quiet-but-competent Polish No. 1 has proven to be a consistently tough out this season, storming his way to a first Masters 1000 title and a maiden Grand Slam semi-final with his deceptively powerful serve and overall lack of weaknesses.
The American owns a slight advantage in his head-to-head with the World No. 12, having split meetings at the ATP Tour level but winning their Next Gen ATP Finals Clash in Milan in 2018.
Both have made improvements in their games since their last clash back in 2019, which was won by Hurkacz, but Tiafoe will have to bring his best tennis if he plans to outduel the Pole, who is in pole (sorry, had to) position to reach the fourth round in Indian Wells for the second time in his career.