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WTA: BNP Paribas Open
March 6 - March 19
The BNP Paribas Open kicks off on Monday with the women’s qualifying draw, so before that we look ahead to the tournament to come and what you should be looking out for in Indian Wells.
No doubt Serena Williams, a two-time Indian Wells winner and the world No. 1, is the favorite, the 35-year-old American having been outrageously good in Australia in January, where she captured an Open Era-record 23rd Grand Slam title. Indian Wells is Serena’s first tournament since that win in Melbourne.
Victoria Azarenka’s Indian Wells-Miami double was one of the WTA’s best feats in 2016, but the new mother is missing the event this year after giving birth to a son in December.
With Azarenka out, the field will have its work cut out for it against the best of all time. Serena’s older sister Venus, herself 36, made her first Grand Slam final in eight years at the Australian Open, while former Indian Wells winners Simona Halep and Caroline Wozniacki could be factors. Angelique Kerber hasn’t had the start to 2017 she’s wanted, but the world No. 2 had a solid run to the Dubai semifinals two weeks ago. Other contenders: Doha winner Karolina Pliskova (who is 15-2 this year); Garbine Muguruza, the 2016 French Open champ; the always-dangerous Dominika Cibulkova; 2015 finalist Agnieszka Radwanska; veteran Svetlana Kuznetsova; and Madison Keys, the American who is playing her first event of 2017 following an injury.