The women’s singles main draw for the 2022 BNP Paribas Open has been revealed, and it features several key clashes of perennial stars, including defending champion Paula Badosa, 2018 champion Naomi Osaka, as well as rising American Coco Gauff and 2022 juggernauts Jelena Ostapenko and Iga Swiatek.
As the ink on the drawsheet dries, let’s have a look at five players who are angling for a deep run this year in Tennis Paradise. But first: a look at this year’s potential women’s singles quarterfinals (if the seeds hold)…
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Seen practicing around the grounds and snapping selfies with her French bulldog Butta, 2018 champion Naomi Osaka appears to be in the perfect headspace to rekindle the magic that took her to a breakout title in 2018. Osaka, now a four-time Grand Slam champion, won her maiden WTA singles title at Indian Wells as a rough-around-the-edges 20-year-old – then ranked No.44 in the WTA rankings.
This year she hopes to announce herself as a title contender despite the 78 ranking next to her name. Though she has only contested two events since last year’s US Open, Osaka showed signs of a return to top form in January when she reeled off five straight wins before falling to Amanda Anisimova in the third round at the Australian Open.
A Round 1 blockbuster 👀
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She’ll open her bid for a second title with a blockbuster opening match against Sloane Stephens, and would face No.21-seeded Veronika Kudermetova next. Osaka has a tricky path to the business end – she could face No.14-seeded Jessica Pegula in the third round, No.4-seeded Anett Konteveit in the round of 16 and No.5-seeded Paula Badosa in the quarterfinals, if the seeds hold.
Last October Badosa made Indian Wells her own personal Tennis Paradise when she became the first Spanish woman to win the prestigious BNP Paribas Open title. In 2022, the 24-year-old will bid to become the first woman to successfully defend her title in the California desert since Martina Navratilova in 1991, just five months after winning the longest-ever women’s final in tournament history over Victoria Azarenka.
Badosa, who owns a 9-4 record on the season thus far, is slated to face Tereza Martincova of the Czech Republic or a qualifier in the second round. The No.5 seed, who would face 32nd-seeded Sara Sorribes Tormo in the third round if seeds hold, finds herself in a loaded quarter of the draw that also includes Osaka, Kontaveit, No.10-seeded Ostapenko and No.18-seeded Leylah Fernandez.
The 2020 French Open champion is playing fiery tennis in 2022 – and back at her career-high ranking of World No.4 with a 14-3 record under her belt. Swiatek, 20, carries a five-match winning streak into her second main draw appearance at Indian Wells, and will be high on confidence after reaching the semifinals at the Australian Open before storming to the title at Doha last month, where she took out three top-10 players in succession as she claimed her fourth career title.
Third-seeded Swiatek will face either Clara Burel of France or Ukraine’s Anhelina Kalinina in the second round, and is looking forward to a showdown with Danish Teen Clara Tauson, the No.29 seed, in the third round. Her potential quarterfinal opponent is No.8 seed Garbiñe Muguruza.
The highest-ranked American in the women’s singles draw, 17-year-old Gauff might be best equipped to end America’s 20-year singles title drought in the Coachella Valley. Serena Williams and Andre Agassi each hoisted trophies at Indian Wells in 2001, marking the last two American triumphs. Another former champion, two-time winner Lindsay Davenport, believes Gauff could be the next.
“I feel like something is going to happen big for her here pretty soon,” Davenport said last week in a conference call to promote Tennis Channel’s coverage of the tournament. “She’s worked too hard, she’s too good for that not to happen. Coco Gauff is going to break through at a really big event really soon.”
Sitting in the top quarter of the draw, Gauff will face either American Claire Liu or a qualifier in the second round. Things will get tricky in a hurry for the No.16 seed – a third-round clash with 2015 BNP Paribas Open champion Simona Halep is in the offing.
Don’t look now but Ostapenko is closing in on the top-10 for the first time since September of 2018 after a torrid start to 2022. A semifinalist here last year, the 24-year-old took out No.2-seeded Swiatek in the process. At 14-4 on the season, the explosive Latvian is looking to wreak more havoc on the draw in 2022, and she’s playing well enough to do it. She recently reeled off nine consecutive wins that took her to the title in Dubai and a semifinal at Doha.
Tenth-seeded Ostapenko will face either American Shelby Rogers or Spain’s Nuria Parrizas Diaz in the second round after a bye, and could square off with either Canada’s Fernandez or Amanda Anisimova in third-round action.