Almost no one will believe that last year’s defending champion can repeat her run but Elena Vesnina will look to continue to prove the doubters wrong when she plays Angelique Kerber on Monday afternoon. They play second on Stadium 2 court following another WTA match.
Check out the Kerber vs Vesnina Head to Head
With her points for last year’s title removed, Vesnina is currently projected to land outside the top 40 in the rankings. It looked like it may be even worse when she dropped the first set to CiCi Bellis in her opener here. She came back to win in three, the nature of which was mightily impressive – winning the next two sets for the loss of just two games for a 2-6 6-1 6-1 victory. She was just 4-5 this year coming into Indian Wells and looks unlikely to return to the top 15 any time soon.
Meanwhile, Kerber has shown signs that her 2017 dip may be over in the past few months. She dropped from No.1 to outside the top 20 in just 6 months but is now back in the top 10. She is still over 1000 points behind No.8 but has plenty to target from April onwards to shoot up the rankings. She had to fight hard to make it into this round, beating Ekaterina Makarova 3-6 6-4 6-2 in a match that spanned two days. “I think I try to change a little bit my game today than yesterday,” Kerber said after the match, on the difference in night/day play. “I know what to expect, but it was completely different match. I mean, playing also night and day here, the temperature is a little bit different. I was practicing the last few days during the day, so it was also a little bit different.”
Given the rarity of Indian Wells rain, there should likely be no such issues for Kerber here. She does lead the head to head 3-2 against Vesnina, although one of those losses was at this tournament last year. “I played [Vesnina] again last year here,” Kerber commented. “So it’s another match that, yeah, I just can make it better than the last time. I will just try to continue how I played or like how my effort was today, to go tomorrow straight on court and play like I finished today.”
Prediction – Angelique Kerber in straight sets