Emma Raducanu (L) and Leylah Fernandez
The WTA Tour travels to Indian Wells for the BNP Paribas Open scheduled to take place from October 6-17.
Some of the biggest names in the women’s game are in the draw for the final WTA 1000 event of the season. Leading the field at this year’s tournament is World No. 3 Karolina Pliskova, who will be joined by a host of top names, including defending champion Bianca Andreescu and Grand Slam winners Victoria Azarenka and Petra Kvitova.
The tournament will also feature a number of talented youngsters, including US Open winner Emma Raducanu. Here, we take a look at four players who will be making their debut at Indian Wells this year.
Marta Kostyuk first burst onto the scene at the Australian Open in 2018, when she became the youngest player since Martina Hingis in 2002 to win a main draw match at a Grand Slam event.
The 19-year-old has since worked her way up the rankings and is now on the cusp of breaking into the top 50 for the first time in her career. Kostyuk has been in decent form this year and even made it to the second week at Roland Garros.
The Ukrainian possesses a power-packed game that is tailor-made for hardcourts and she will fancy her chances in Indian Wells.
#3 Leylah Fernandez
Leylah Fernandez at the US Open.
Leylah Fernandez turned into an overnight sensation with her inspired run to the final of the 2021 US Open. Although she went on to lose in the summit clash to fellow teenager Emma Raducanu, her performances in New York propelled her to a career-high ranking of 28.
The Canadian will be making her main draw debut in Indian Wells as the 23rd seed. She has been placed in the fourth quarter of the draw and could face Roland Garros finalist Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in her second match.
Fernandez’s gutsy wins over the likes of Elina Svitolina, Naomi Osaka, Angelique Kerber and Aryna Sabalenka at Flushing Meadows would have filled her with confidence and she could well stage a few upsets this week.
#2 Emma Raducanu
The 2021 US Open champion Emma Raducanu
Emma Raducanu, Fernandez’s conqueror in the US Open final, will also be making her first appearance at the BNP Paribas Open this year.
Raducanu will enter the tournament with huge expectations following her maiden Grand Slam triumph at Flushing Meadows. Interestingly, Raducanu is yet to register a tour-level win outside of Grand Slam tournaments and that could well put some additional pressure on her young shoulders.
Raducanu will face either Aliaksandra Sasnovich or Maria Camila Osorio Serrano in her opener, while a potential clash against childhood idol Simona Halep looms on the horizon.
#1 Iga Swiatek
Iga Swiatek has never played in the main draw at Indian Wells.
Last year’s Roland Garros champion Iga Swiatek will also be playing in the main draw of the BNP Paribas Open for the first time in her career. The Pole had entered the qualification rounds for the WTA 1000 event in 2019 but failed to make it to the main draw.
Swiatek has been seeded second — her highest at a WTA 1000 tournament — and she will be one of the favorites to walk away with the title.
The 20-year-old suffered a few early exits during the North American hardcourt swing, and a strong showing in Indian Wells will be the perfect way to gain some momentum ahead of the final few weeks of the season.
Swiatek will open her campaign against the winner of the Petra Martic-Katie Volynets first-round match.