(13) Angelique Kerber vs Sloane Stephens
One of Friday’s most intriguing matches at the BNP Paribas Open features two ladies desperate to reverse their recent poor form, Angelique Kerber and Sloane Stephens. The two have combined for a total of 9 victories and 10 losses so far this season.
Angelique Kerber’s fall from grace has been sad to watch. The German is severely deprived of confidence and her attitude has been a little disappointing at times this year. Angie has suffered three first up defeats this year and will be desperate to avoid yet another early round exit this week in the Californian desert.
There is however reason for optimism, Despite suffering a first up loss last year, Angie does have a strong record at Indian Wells. The German is a two-time former semi-finalist, succumbing to the eventual champion in 2012, Victoria Azarenka and Caroline Wozniacki in 2013. Angie has been practicing hard over the last couple of weeks, working closely with Steffi Graf as she attempts to turn her poor recent form around.
Courtesy of a disastrous start to the year, Sloane Stephens finds herself just hanging onto a stop in the top 50. Sloane Stephens also looks to be deprived of confidence, the American is yet to beat a playing ranked inside the top 50 this year. Sloane picked up her first victory since hobart on Wednesday, an unconvincing 7-5 7-5 victory over Chanelle Scheepers. Just her third victory of the season and her first at the premier level.
Sloane has only ever gone past the second round on one occasion at the BNP Paribas Open. The American’s best result in Indian Wells was last year where she reached the quarterfinals before succumbing to the eventual champion, Flavia Pennetta.
Angelique Kerber won the only previous meeting between these two, a 2-6 7-5 6-4 victory at this event back in 2012.
This promises to be another extremely hard fought battle between two players desperate for a victory. This two are quite evenly matched, we can expect to see a lot of long, grueling rallies between these two wonderful movers.
Angie should have a slight edge, she does most things a little better than Sloane as more consistent. it’s hard to see Angie losing yet another opening round match especially considering she has had so long to prepare for this event. It’s not hard to picture Sloane suffering another early round exit.
Prediction: Angelique Kerber to defeat Sloane Stephens in 3 sets