Indian Wells, California

March 8 - 21, 2021

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Five Things to Watch Thursday: Federer, Williams Highlight Star-Studded Lineup

Venus Williams

by Richard Osborn
03/14/2018

Ageless

At 37, Venus Williams continues to defy Father Time. The 8th seeded American, who dispatched her sister Serena in a primetime third-round matchup, will play for a spot in the semifinals on Wednesday when she faces 27th seeded Spaniard Carla Suarez-Navarro in Stadium 1 (not before 5 p.m.). The seven-time major titlist leads their head-to-head, 5-3, her most recent win coming in the fourth round of the US Open last year.

Generation Now vs. #NextGen

Their Australian Open semifinal was cut short when rising South Korean Hyeon Chung was forced to retire with foot blisters. But Roger Federer will get another crack at the 21-year-old #NextGen standout with a Final Four spot on the line (7 p.m., Stadium 1). Federer, a five-time champion here, isn’t taking this matchup lightly. “It’s highly impressive what he does, and I think he’s going to be a great player,” said the Swiss. “I have a lot of respect for him as a player, and I think he’s going to be very successful.”

Stadium 1 Opener

Angie Kerber has moved on from 2017. A year after winning two Grand Slam titles (Aussie Open, US Open) and rising to the world No. 1 ranking, the German went into a tailspin. She failed to win a title, and fell out of the year-end Top 20. However, Kerber opened 2018 with a title in Sydney, and appears to have rediscovered her mojo. On Thursday, she’ll face the upset-minded Daria Kasatkina. Dasha, the 20th seed, has taken out both the reigning US Open (Sloane Stephens) and Australian Open (Caroline Wozniacki) titlists en route to the quarterfinals.

Borna Again

He’s just 21, but Borna Coric has been shouldering some heavy expectations for some time now. The Croat became a centerpiece for the ATP World Tour’s #NextGen campaign when he rose to a career-high No. 33 in 2015. But the wins haven’t been coming as frequently as expected of late, that is until this week. The blistering baseliner has been on fire at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. He dropped just nine games through his first three matches before outlasting American Taylor Fritz in the Round of 16. His road won’t get any easier, however, as he’ll next face 2017 US Open runner-up Kevin Anderson.

Dazzling Doubles

2017 titlist Elena Vesnina may have been eliminated from the singles draw, but the Russian remains very much alive in doubles. Vesnina and countrywoman Ekaterina Makarova, the gold medalists at the Rio Games of 2016, will face reigning Australian Open champs Timea Babos/Kristina Mladenovic in a Stadium 2 blockbuster, the winners moving on to the final.

Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina

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