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Indian Wells Tennis • WTA Ladies draw: Raducanu in section stacked with Grand Slam Champions

By Ricky Dimon

Emma Raducanu got a wild card into the BNP Paribas Open–and needed one because the entry deadline was before she won the U.S. Open.

What she didn’t get was a favorable draw.

The women’s bracket was revealed on Monday afternoon and Raducanu finds herself in the same quarter as Elina Svitolina, Petra Kvitova, Simona Halep, Elise Mertens, Jessica Pegula, Victoria Azarenka, and Sloane Stephens. Unseeded and therefore without a bye, Stephens will meet Heather Watson in round one and would then run into Pegula.

All four seeds in Raducanu’s eighth of the draw are Grand Slam champions. The 19-year-old Brit famously triumphed at the U.S. Open as a qualifier last month. Kvitova, Halep, and Azarenka are all multi-time major winners. The third round in Indian Wells could feature Kvitova vs. Azarenka and Halep vs. Raducanu.

Also in the bottom half of the bracket are 2020 French Open champion Iga Swiatek, Olympic gold medalist Belinda Bencic, and 2021 French Open runner-up Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.

At the top of the draw, Karolina Pliskova is the No. 1 seed. Pliskova is ranked third in the world, but No. 1 Ashleigh Barty and No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka withdrew from the penultimate 1000-point tournament of the season. Sabalenka tested positive for Covid-19 this past Saturday.

Pliskova could face either Bianca Andreescu or an in-form Anett Kontaveit in the fourth round. Potential quarterfinal foes for the top-seeded Czech are French Open and U.S. Open semifinalist Maria Sakkari and recent Chicago runner-up Ons Jabeur.

The other side of the top half is home to French Open champ Barbora Krejcikova, Chicago winner Garbine Muguruza, Toronto champion Camila Giorgi, and 17-year-old American Coco Gauff.

Women’s main-draw action in the desert gets underway on Wednesday.

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.