Whilst we have been treated to some superb Ladies WTA events over the last two months the Men’s has been somewhat lacklustre since the Australian Open. The prestigious Indian Wells is a welcome return as both tours drop the anchor in the picturesque Coachella Valley for a fortnight of premier tennis.
The talking point of the ladies draw is certainly the return to competitive tennis by two legends of the game in Serena Williams and Vika Azarenka. Bar an exhibition match in December it will be the first time Serena has played in over a year since the birth of her daughter Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr (the ‘Jr’ is key so that the name rolls off the tongue) in September 2017. We have her priced at 1/3 to beat Zarina Diyas in round one and 12/1 to win the tournament outright.
Azarenka on the other hand has been fighting custody battles back in her home country Belarus and takes to the court for the first time since Wimbledon last year. Having won two of the last six WTA Indian Wells’ she is a force to be reckoned with when on form but she will have to get past the useful Brit Heather Watson in the first round before any assumptions can be made on her form. We have her at 8/15 to win that matchup and 33/1 for the outright.
Having dissected the Ladies draw a few enticing bets come to mind:
Simona Halep definitely has the easiest draw of all the big guns and she looks to be cracking value to win her quarter with odds of 7/4. She has a bye in the first round and possibly journey woman Ying-Ying Duan in the second. Personally we think her biggest threat can come from the selfie queen Cibulkova in the third round and if she overcomes this (which she should) we fancy her to take the quarter pretty handily. Naysayers will say she has injuries concerns but we wouldn’t be overly concerned.
Back Lesia Tsurenko each way to win Indian Wells @ 80/1
Back Lesia Tsurenko each way to win her quarter of the tournament @ 25/1
A dark horse could be Lesia Tsurenko who is fresh off an impressive win at last week’s WTA Acapulco tournament and also reached a semi-final in January at the Hobart International. Indian Wells uses a pretty unique surface for its courts, Plexipave. The only other tournament throughout the year which uses this type of surface is, you guessed it, Acapulco. Clearly Tsurenko likes this court as it typically is a bit slower than usual and suits her game quite well. She is 80/1 to win which we believe is worth a little interest each-way as well as her quarter price at 25’s.
With no Rafa Nadal, David Goffin, Stan Wawrinka or J W Tsonga in this year’s field it is becoming the norm of late to expect depleted fields in the main draws of prestigious men’s tournaments.
Having recently regained the No.1 ranking, last year’s men’s champion Roger Federer returns to defend his title. He is situated in the top half of the draw and is 6/5 with us to lift the trophy again this year and with a more than favourable draw it is tough to bet against the ever young Federer. He has a bye to the second round where he could possibly meet Ryan Harrison, then, Benoit Paire, Fabio Fognini, Dominic Thiem and Grigor Dimitrov en route to the final.
The bottom half of the men’s draw seems to be far more competitive with the likes of Novak Djokovic, Juan Martin Del Potro, Marin Cilic, Kei Nishikori, Sasha Zverev and Lucas Pouille all vying for a spot in the final. The bottom quarter is certainly the most difficult bracket which could possibly yield Del Potro vs Djokovic and Isner v Cilic in the fourth round ties.
The slower courts here will certainly have more effect on the men’s as your typical big servers will be limited somewhat so be slightly weary about backing the likes of Dr Ivo Karlovic.
Juan Martin Del Potro looks to be in superb form at the moment and we like his chances at 12/1 on the outright and 3/1 to win his quarter and make his way to the semi-final both look worth consideration. Similar to the aforementioned Tsurenko he is fresh off a win at Mexico last week and will look to continue that hot streak into this week’s event.