The BNP Paribas Open: Who to look out for in Indian Wells

Castor Chan reviews who to look out for at the BNP Paribas Open.

Castor Chan
12th October 2021
Image: twitter, @eurotennisopen
Most people will be aware of Wimbledon or Roland Garros, but the BNP Paribas Open may be a new name. What and when is the tournament, and why does it warrant special attention right now?  

Also called the Indian Wells Masters, the BNP Paribas Open, is regarded as the biggest tournament outside of the four Grand Slams. A tournament involving both the ATP and the WTA. It has been won, in the past, by names such as Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova. This year, the kicker is that none of the above names will be playing. Other notables that will not be present are Novak Djokovic to complete the Big Three’s absence, men’s defending champion Dominic Thiem and current womens’ No.1 Ashleigh Barty.

The tournament will be played over two weeks, October 4th-17th. As of writing, the competitors will be advancing through the round of 32. Having prolific players missing will mean that everyone will be looking to capitalise on the Californian tournament, and there will be a spotlight on a few rising and returning stars.

Emma Raducanu was a shock win at the US Open in New York, and she has since graced the carpets at the Met Gala and the No Time to Die premiere. Many believed her to be a stubborn obstacle in the way of Simona Halep and a potential quarter-finalist, but disbelief came when both Raducanu and Halep were defeated by Aliaksandra Sasnovich.

Other potential contenders for this year's title include 2019 Champion Bianca Andreescu, Garbine Muguruza and, veterans, Petra Kvitova and Victoria Azarenka. There are also a few young players vying for the finals, such as Leylah Fernandez and, Americans, Coco Gauff and Sloane Stephens. Gauff and Stephens, like Raducanu, recently experienced their own ‘breakthroughs’. (The former also was a finalist and part of the ‘New York fairytale run’ alongside Raducanu.)  

On the men’s side, the expected top performers are Daniil Medvedev (this year’s top seed), Alexander Zverev, and Stefano Tsitsipas. Dan Evans has knocked out veteran player Kei Nishikori, and Andy Murray clinched a win in three sets against the next-gen threat of Carlos Alcarez. Though labelling it his best match, since his hip surgery, he fought back from a lost first set. The Brit was booed on the court when he utilised a legal underarm serve to score an ace.

Matches to watch on Tuesday will be Azarenka v Sasnovich, Fognini v Tsitsipas, and Murray v Zverev. 

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