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WTA Indian Wells Tennis Picks, Predictions: Saville and Vondrousova the Value Plays (March 15)

WTA Indian Wells Tennis Picks, Predictions: Saville and Vondrousova the Value Plays (March 15) article feature image
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Robert Prange/Getty. Pictured: Daria Saville celebrates after winning a point at Indian Wells.

We are down to the final 16 players in Indian Wells! The round of 16 is upon us and the competition is getting intense in the desert.

Luckily for us, there are two matches that stand out as having value on Tuesday in Indian Wells. And yes, Daria Saville is being disrespected again.

Here are two plays to think about from Tuesday’s action in California.

Match times are subject to change. Read here for advice on watching tennis matches.  

Maria Sakkari (-455) vs Daria Saville (+330)

6 p.m. ET

Maria Sakkari put together a dominant performance in her 6-3, 6-0 win over Petra Kvitova yesterday in Indian Wells. Sakkari is yet to drop a set on her way to the round of 16.

Sakkari won 96% of her first-serve points and wasn’t broken all match. On return, Sakkari held the normally big-serving Czech to 49% of her service points won and broke serve on four occasions. Sakkari dominated from the baseline, with her consistent depth and heavy forehand too much for Kvitova to handle.

With that said, Kvitova was a mess out there. She struggled greatly with her rally tolerance and couldn’t seem to find a rhythm from the baseline. Sakkari’s 6-3, 7-5 victory over Katerina Siniakova is probably closer to what we should expect in this upcoming match.

Daria Saville is having a dream tournament in the desert. In her latest victory, Saville beat Elise Mertens 6-3, 4-6, 6-3. It was yet another impressive win for Saville, who has already qualified and beaten impressive players such as Shuai Zhang and Ons Jabeur this tournament.

In the win over Mertens, Saville held her to 50% of her service points won. She broke the Mertens serve six times and generated 13 break points during the match.

The Aussie’s baseline game is on fire this tournament. Saville has a great understanding of how to play in these slow conditions. Her speed and anticipation are world-class and she’s shown incredible rally tolerance this week. She’s also using her forehand effectively.

Sakkari will have a very different challenge than yesterday against Kvitova, as Saville will give her few free points and force Sakkari to try to hit through her.

Saville just beat a very solid baseliner in Mertens and has shown in this tournament that hitting through her is a massive challenge. Saville’s retrieving and counterpunching this week have been elite.

The Greek will have moments where she’s ripping her forehand and dragging Saville around the court, but given how Saville has been able to draw errors out of her opponents, I don’t think Sakkari will be able to do it consistently enough to cover this spread.

Pick:  Saville +5.5 games (-122 via PointsBet)

Veronika Kudermetova (+140) vs Marketa Vondrousova (-173)

11 p.m. ET

Veronika Kudermetova did a great job of staying focused during Naomi Osaka’s meltdown in her first match in Indian Wells. Then, in her next matchup against Marie Bouzkova, Kudermetova was fortunate to receive a retirement when she was leading 6-4, 0-2* (15-40).

Kudermetova has returned well this tournament. She’s held both Osaka and Bouzkova to under 65% of their first serves won and 50% or less of their second serves won. Kudermetova hits a clean ball, and while she won’t overwhelm opponents with pace, she can ramp up the power at times and doesn’t have any huge weakness.

In addition to her success this week, Kudermetova recently made the Dubai final, although she fell to Jelena Ostapenko at the final hurdle. Interestingly enough, her opponent today gave her a walkover in the Dubai semifinals

That opponent, Marketa Vondrousova, is almost certainly happier to be playing Kudermetova in the slower conditions of Indians Wells compared to the slick Dubai courts. In Vondrousova’s latest victory, she took down world number five Anett Kontaveit 3-6, 7-5, 7-6(5).

In the win over Kontaveit, Vondrousova won 71% of her first-serve points, while holding Kontaveit to 59% first serves won. The Czech also generated 17 break points against the normally-solid Kontaveit serve and broke six times!

Vondrousova’s game suits these courts very well. She has the time to set up on her groundstrokes and her heavy, lefty forehand can dominate from the baseline. Vondrousova’s  rally tolerance and defensive ability are also top-notch.

The conditions in Indian Wells suit Vondrousova’s game much better and Kudermetova is going to struggle to impose herself in this match against Vondrousova’s combination of excellent rally tolerance and heavy forehand.

When looking at Elo ratings, Vondrousova’s overall Elo is 89.7 points better than Kudermetova’s and her hard-court Elo is 118.2 points better than the Russian’s.

This spread is too small so look for Vondrousova to cover.

Pick:  Vondrousova -2.5 (-125 via PointsBet)

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