Indian Wells R4: (1) Serena Williams vs (Q) Kateryna Bondarenko
Serena Williams will continue her quest for her first Indian Wells title since 2001 on Tuesday when she takes on Ukrainian qualifier Kateryna Bondarenko in the fourth round. The world number 1 has shown glimpses of brilliance in her opening couple of matches at the BNP Paribas Open and looks like the clear favourite to claim the title this week and will certainly be a clear favourite in her this fourth round clash with Kateryna Bondarenko.
Serena started her Indian Wells campaign with a dominant 6-2 6-1 win over Laura Siegemund, Serena was completely untroubled in that match. The American was forced to work harder for her third round victory, overcoming a shaky start to defeat Yulia Putintseva 7-6 6-0. Putintseva twice served for the opening set but Serena really raised her level when it mattered most at the business end of the first set and was almost unplayable in the second set. Serena will look to carry her second set form into her fourth round clash with Bondarenko and beyond.
Kateryna Bondarenko’s resurgence has continued at the BNP Paribas Open. The Ukrainian stormed through the qualifying draw in Indian Wells before going the distance in all three of her main draw matches, Bondarenko has now won 8 of her last 9 matches. Bondarenko defeated Alison Van Uytvanck and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in her first two main draw matches before coming from a set down to defeat compatriot Lesia Tsurenko in gruelling encounter.
This will be the first meeting between Serena and Kateryna since 2009 where Serena recorded a comfortable 6-3 6-2 win in Cincinnati. Serena has a perfect 2-0 head-to-head record over Bondarenko having also beaten the Ukrainian in straight sets at the U.S Open in 2008.
It’s tough to see Serena being even remotely challenged in this match. The world number 1 is now ready to rumble having already claimed two victories. Serena is just moving into her prime whilst Bondarenko is likely to have very little left in the tank after some gruelling matches, not a good position to be in when heading into a clash with Serena. The world number 1 should win this match comfortably.