Indian Wells, California

March 8 - 21, 2021

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Five Things to Watch: A Delightful Day 1 in Indian Wells

Maria Sharapova finishing a serve.

by Richard Osborn

Return of Masha

It’s been three years since Maria Sharapova last stepped onto the Plexipave courts of the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. But the hiatus is over. The former No. 1 and five-time Grand Slam champion — a two-time titlist at the BNP Paribas Open — will make her much-anticipated return on Wednesday afternoon (not before 5 p.m., in Stadium 1) against rising Japanese star Naomi Osaka. The Russian lifted the trophy here in 2006 and 2013.

It’s go time

In addition to the above referenced marquee matchup between 41st-ranked Sharapova and No. 44 Osaka, there will be a full slate of WTA singles and doubles matches throughout the grounds. Highlights include Stadium 1 contests between 2011 US Open champ Sam Stosur and American Lauren Davis (second match on), and wildcard entrant Eugenie Bouchard and American qualifier Sachia Vickery (third match on).

12 hungry men

A dozen main-draw spots remain up for grabs in the BNP Paribas Open men’s draw. Round 2 of qualifying will determine those slots on Wednesday, with top-seed Vasek Pospisil, Frenchman Nicolas Mahut, 2006 Aussie Open runner-up Marcos Baghdatis, and 2016 NCAA singles/doubles winner Mackenzie McDonald still among the hopefuls.

Wayne’s World

Join host Wayne Bryan (emcee extraordinaire and father of doubles standouts Bob and Mike Bryan) at the Tennis Garden Village Stage for the daily edition of Tennis Talk. Special guests include current ATP/WTA Tour players, as well as legends like Chris Evert.

Practice makes perfect

Nowhere on the ATP/WTA tours are the practice courts more intimate/approachable than those of the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, giving tennis fans a one-of-a-kind opportunity to get a close-up view of their favorite players in action. Roger Federer’s Tuesday afternoon warm-up session on Practice Court 1 drew a capacity crowd, as the defending champ readied himself for his opener against either American Ryan Harrison or Argentine Federico Delbonis.

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