WTA Indian Wells Tennis Picks, Predictions: Our 2 Best Bets for Kvitova vs Sakkari & Golubic vs Paolini
Clive Brunskill/Getty. Pictured: Maria Sakkari hits a backhand at the Indian Wells tennis tournament.
It has been a fascinating start to Indian Wells and the interesting matches keep coming on Monday.
I've identified two matches as having value for us to exploit, including a familiar name in Jasmine Paolini, who is being undervalued once again.
Here are two plays to think about from Monday's action in Indian Wells.
Match times are subject to change. Read here for advice on watching tennis matches.
Maria Sakkari (-225) vs Petra Kvitova (+188)
2 p.m. ET
Petra Kvitova played well in her come-from-behind victory over Aliaksandra Sasnovich in her first match of the tournament.
Kvitova won 81% of her first serves and broke serve on five occasions in the 6-7(4), 6-4, 6-4 win. However, the Czech will need to clean up her 12 double faults and 35% second serves won if she wants to win this match.
Kvitova overpowered Sasnovich with pace at times and had better rally tolerance than she had shown earlier this season. By her standards, Kvitova has really struggled this year, with a 6-6 record. She will be looking at Indian Wells as a chance to get her season going.
Maria Sakkari comfortably beat Katerina Siniakova to start off her Indian Wells campaign, winning 6-3, 7-5. However, the match against Siniakova wasn't the first exposure that Sakkari had to the Indian Wells conditions, as she made the final of the "Tie Break Tens" exhibition event.
Sakkari's win over Siniakova was a complete performance. She won 76% of her service points and was only broken twice all match. On return, the Greek won 47% of her return points and won 45/68 of the points on Siniakova's second serve.
Sakkari's game fits the slow Indian Wells conditions very well. She has great foot speed and the slow courts help her get to even more balls and become a wall from the baseline. In addition, she uses her heavy, deep forehand to dictate from the baseline.
I just fail to see how Kvitova is going to hit through Sakkari in baseline exchanges. Kvitova looked better against Sasnovich, but that was only one match and the only time the she consecutive matches this year was on the faster courts in Dubai.
Sakkari has a great balance of both defense and offense, which is important in Indian Wells. She will move Kvitova around the court and frustrate the Czech, forcing her to go for more on her shots in positions around the court that she's not comfortable with.
At a reasonable line of 3.5, look for Sakkari to cover.
Pick: Sakkari -3.5 (-120 via FanDuel)
Viktorija Golubic (-114) vs Jasmine Paolini (-105)
5 p.m. ET
Viktorija Golubic beat Yulia Putintseva in three sets to start off Indian Wells. Golubic will be looking to win consecutive matches for the first time since the Melbourne Summer Set 1 event, the Swiss' first tournament of the season.
Golubic's return was fantastic in her win over Putintseva. She won 52% of her return points, generating 13 break-point chances and breaking serve seven times. However, Golubic's own serve will have to improve, as she also won only 48% of her service points, which included only 8/30 of the points on her second serve.
Golubic has great variety and a beautiful one-handed backhand. The Swiss also has a high tennis IQ and understands the right shot to hit in a given situation. With that said, Golubic isn't going to blow opponents away with her power.
Paolini upset Aryna Sabalenka in her latest victory in Indian Wells. Despite looking overwhelmed with Sabalenka's power in the first set of the 2-6, 6-3, 6-3 win, Paolini got better and better as the match went on.
The Italian held Sabalenka to 35% of her second serves won and broke Sabalenka's serve four times. She was the more solid player from the baseline and had great precision in the shots she hit.
Paolini, like Golubic, is not going to overwhelm her opponents with power. However, she's very fast with a high level of anticipation, hits with good depth and consistency, and can hit into small windows around the court.
Thus far at Indian Wells, Paolini comfortably beat Katie Boulter, who had won ten-of-11 matches coming into the match, and now beat a top-three player in Sabalenka. She is clearly loving the conditions, which allow her to track down so many balls around the court and then put her opponents in trouble with the ensuing shot.
Golubic had a nice win over Putintseva to start off her tournament, but given that Putintseva checks in-and-out of matches regularly, it's not as impressive as it might appear. Golubic is also going to struggle to figure out ways to crack Paolini's defenses from the baseline.
Trust Paolini to win this match.
Pick: Paolini ML (-105 via FanDuel)