Britain’s Emma Raducanu faces a tough route to the final at this year’s Indian Wells Masters following Monday night’s draw.
Raducanu was granted a wildcard for the event after her historic victory at the US Open and is among the competition’s 32 seeds.
As a result, the teenager has received a bye through the opening round and will play her first match on either Friday or Saturday.
Her opponent will be the winner of Marie Camila Osorio versus Aliaksandra Sasnovich. Osorio is the world number 71 –– some 80 places higher than Raducanu prior to her triumph in New York. Meanwhile, Belarus’ Sasnovich has won almost four million dollars in prize money during her career and reached a US Open doubles semi-final in 2019.
While Raducanu will likely be the favourite against either of these two players, her potential opponents from there don’t get any easier.
Should the Brit progress to the third round, a mouth-watering clash against Romania’s Simona Halep could await.
Raducanu’s father was born in Romania and she previously cited the former world number one as one of her tennis idols growing up.
Halep offered praise of her own for the teenager on social media, describing her triumph in New York as an “extraordinary” achievement.
The 30-year-old has suffered a difficult 2021 –– missing both the French Open and Wimbledon through injury, which has led to her dropping from third to 17th in the rankings.
Nonetheless, the 11th seed won at Indian Wells in 2015 and has lots of experience playing in the California desert.
Raducanu’s compatriot Heather Watson also faces a tough draw and will face home favourite, Sloane Stephens, in the first round.
Watson is the world number 57 but hasn’t won a title since the Mexican Open in February 2020.
Britain’s Katie Boulter lost to American Reese Brantmeier in qualifying to dent her hopes of a spot in the main draw.
Boulter is coached by former British number one Jeremy Bates, who will also work with Raducanu in California for this event.
If Raducanu does manage to make it past the third round, she is likely to meet seeded opposition in each round from there onwards.
Here’s how the draw could shape up in full for the 18-year-old:
First Round: Bye
Second Round: Marie Camila Osorio/ Aliaksandra Sasnovich
Third Round: Simona Halep (11th seed)
Fourth Round: Petra Kvitová
Quarter Final: Elina Svitolina (7)
Semi-Final: Iga Świątek (2)
Final: Karolína Plíšková (1)