Emma Raducanu, Aryna Sabalenka: Who are the Indian Wells favourites?

Raducanu, Sabalenka

Often dubbed the ‘fifth Grand Slam’ of the year, the Indian Wells Masters is one of the most prestigious events on the tennis calendar.

Played in California at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, the competition has the second-largest tennis stadium in the world after the Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York and has the highest average attendance of any tournament outside of the four majors.

The singles main draw includes 96 players with 32 seeded competitors receiving a bye through to the second round.

While a number of stars, including Ashleigh Barty and Naomi Osaka will not compete this year, the majority of the world’s best players will be in action.

Here are the favourites for this year’s event:

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Emma Raducanu

Fresh off the back of her historic Grand Slam victory at the US Open, British number one Emma Raducanu has accepted a wildcard into the main draw.

The cut off for entry into Indian Wells came before her triumph at Flushing Meadows, but the wildcard means the teenager will no longer have to come through qualifying.

Raducanu is ranked 22nd in the world now and could still qualify for November’s season-ending WTA Tour Finals in Guadalajara, Mexico.

Though this will be just the fifth tour-level event of the Brit’s career, she enters the tournament as the world’s most in-form player and will no doubt be brimming with confidence.

The 18-year-old will attempt to navigate her way through the competition without a coach, however, after splitting with Andrew Richardson –– who guided her to glory in New York.

Raducanu

Victoria Azarenka

While she may be past her prime, Azarenka has a formidable record at Indian Wells and has won the tournament on two occasions.

The former world number one is a hard-court specialist and is still more than capable of stringing a successful run together in California.

That being said, the 32-year-old hasn’t won a WTA title yet this year and was knocked out in the third round of the US Open recently.


Aryna Sabalenka

Azarenka’s Belarusian compatriot Sabalenka may stand a better chance of lifting silverware at Indian Wells.

The 23-year-old is the new world number two and made the semi-finals at Flushing Meadows.

With Barty absent from the competition, Sabalenka will be the top seed for this year’s event.

Sabalenka

Bianca Andreescu

Andreescu is the defending champion at Indian Wells, having followed her 2019 US Open win with victory in California.

It’s been a challenging year for the 21-year-old, who has struggled with injuries and failed to challenge at any of the majors, but this tournament could be the start of a resurgence at a venue she loves.

With 1000 ranking points on offer for winning the final, Andreescu has more incentive to perform at this event as she looks to further her chances of qualifying for the Tour Finals.


Leylah Fernandez

Though Andreescu remains the highest-ranked Canadian in the world, Fernandez is fast catching her compatriot.

The 19-year-old scored victories over three top five players at the US Open, including Osaka, Sabalenka and Elina Svitolina, en route to the final.

If the teenager can replicate that form in California, she’ll no doubt be in contention to claim her second WTA title.

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