BNP Paribas Open, ??? Indian Wells, R2 Match Preview
(2) ?? Angelique Kerber vs ?? Andrea Petkovic
Angelique Kerber will begin her BNP Paribas Open campaign against compatriot and good friend Andrea Petkovic on Saturday. The German will return to the world number 1 position at the end of the tournament no matter what happens after Serena Williams was a late withdrawal from the event. Now that Kerber has been handed back the number 1 ranking, it will be interesting to see if her results will improve as if feel like there is suddenly less pressure on her shoulders.
After a disappointing time in Australia, Kerber showed signs of a form reversal in Dubai a couple of weeks ago, as she made it to the semi-final stage. The highest ranked player in the draw has a great opportunity to build a lead at the top of the rankings as she has no points to defend this week after a first round exit last year. The court surface may not suit Kerber, but there is no doubt that if she can produce her best tennis she will be one of the main contenders to win the title this week.
Andrea Petkovic has generally struggled in 2017. The German has been unable to win consecutive main draw matches in 2017 and notably suffered two very disappointing losses in Fed Cup tie against the USA last month. Petkovic received some luck in her opener against Vania King in Indian Wells, Petkovic led 6-0 2-0 before a clearly injury-hampered King retired. Petkovic now gets a shot at Kerber, an opponent she has generally struggled against.
Kerber holds a 7-3 head-to-head record over Petkovic, interestingly Petkovic has won 3 of the last 4 matches between the pair. The only recent match between the two was in Charleston in 2015, Kerber claimed a 6-4 6-4 win on the clay. I suspect Kerber will be too strong on this occasion. Petkovic is playing with little confidence at the moment and really lacks the weapons to hurt Kerber. If Kerber is anywhere near her best she will be far too strong in this match-up.