It may only be a Stadium 3 match but one of the more fascinating matches on Day 3 of Indian Wells is between No.6 seed Jelena Ostapenko and Belinda Bencic. The pair were born within months of each other in 1997, competing together at junior level with the Swiss being more successful at that stage. However, this will be their first meeting at professional level.
Things have changed a bit at pro level with Ostapenko’s stunning French Open run putting her ahead of all her young rivals. The Latvian does struggle to remain consistent from week to week but has proved that her highest level is difficult to match for many on tour. 2018 has not been good for her so far, going just 3-4 and bringing a three match losing streak into the tournament – all of them coming in straight sets.
Bencic broke into the top 10 before Ostapenko but injuries cut that run at the top short. There were signs of a comeback over the past few months as she won WTA 125k tournaments back to back at the end of last year and led Switzerland to a Hopman Cup victory with Roger Federer. A surprise win over Venus Williams started off her Australian Open although she has come crashing back down to earth since then. She won a final set tiebreak to see of Timea Babos in the previous round after the pair split 6-1 sets.
Prediction – Belinda Bencic in three sets