Sunday, March 11, 2018 - Sloane Stephens plays Victoria Azarenka in the 2nd Round of the BNP Paribas Open in Stadium 2 at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, California. (Jared Wickerham/BNP Paribas Open)
The draw is filled to the brim with delicious doubles teams, including wild card duo Eugenie Bouchard and Sloane Stephens. Good friends off the court, the two reached the final at Washington’s Citi Open last year. Bouchard claimed her first doubles title alongside Sofia Kenin in Auckland this season, so clearly the cross-boarders North American chemistry is palpable for the Canadian, a fan-favorite wherever she goes.
Ashleigh Barty and Caroline Garcia playing together is a surprise even though it shouldn’t be. Both players have a Grand Slam pedigree in the discipline, with the Frenchwoman owning multiple Slam titles and the Aussie a three-time Slam finalist by the age of 17 who just won her first last year at the US Open. Garcia famously defeated Barty in the final of the Premier 5 event in Wuhan, which remains the latter’s biggest final to date.
The Eastern European dream team of Elina Svitolina and Victoria Azarenka is another pairing that is sure to draw in a crowd, while the former Top 10 team of Karolina Pliskova and Julia Goerges, who have both seen massive success as of late on the singles court, are back in action together for the first time this season.
Make no mistake, the week-in, week-out doubles specialists in the draw deserve their recognition as well. Here at the BNP representing the excitement of the women’s doubles disciple is world No. 1 team Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova, as well as Australian Open champs Sam Stosur and Zhang Shuai. The Chan sisters, the Canadian-Chinese pairing of Gabriela Dabrowski and Xu Yifan, as well as last year’s WTA Finals doubles champions Babos and Kristina Mladenovic round out what is certainly the best draw the discipline has seen in 2019.