WTA Indian Wells Tennis Picks, Predictions: Our 2 Best Bets for Rybakina vs Sakkari & Badosa vs Kudermetova
Robert Prange/Getty. Pictured: Paula Badosa celebrates at the Indian Wells Masters tournament.
The quarterfinals of Indian Wells continue with two more fascinating WTA matchups.
While both matches will be fun to watch, what’s more important is that they both have value for us to exploit.
Here are two plays to think about from Thursday’s quarterfinals action in Indian Wells.
Match times are subject to change. Read here for advice on watching tennis matches.
Elena Rybakina (+120) vs Maria Sakkari (-144)
2 p.m. ET
Elena Rybakina is putting together her first good stretch of play since making the Adelaide final in early January. In her latest victory to reach the quarterfinals of Indian Wells, she beat Viktorija Golubic in straight sets.
Against Golubic, Rybakina won 74% of her first serves and 65% of her second serves, only getting broken once all match. In addition, she held Golubic to just 58% of her first serves won.
Rybakina has not dropped a set this tournament and also has impressive wins over Alison Van Uytvanck and Victoria Azarenka. She’s done a great job this week of controlling the baseline with her powerful baseline game and using her huge first serve to set her up well in points. Rybakina has won a combined 75% of her first serves this week and has only been broken once.
Maria Sakkari has also not dropped a set this week. While she was fortunate that Daria Saville retired when Sakkari was 4-1* up in the first set, Sakkari’s straightforward wins over Katerina Siniakova and Petra Kvitova have shown that her level is quite high at the moment.
Sakkari has held every opponent this week to 40% or less of their second-serve points won. And, despite having played less than five sets, she’s broken serve nine times. Sakkari has also won over 75% of her first-serve points in all three matches and only been broken twice.
Sakkari’s game suits the slow, high-bouncing conditions very well. The Greek is fast and anticipates her opponents’ shots so well, with the slow court giving her even more time to track balls down. Sakkari is also able to dictate from the baseline with her heavy forehand.
This is a bad matchup for Rybakina on these courts. Sakkari is returning very well and has the game to blunt her power from the baseline before turning points around in her favor.
Looking at Elo ratings, Sakkari’s overall Elo is 82 points better than Rybakina’s Elo and her hard-court Elo is 87.3 points better than Rybakina’s.
We can trust Sakkari to cover this small spread.
Pick: Sakkari -1.5 games (-120 via FanDuel)
Paula Badosa (-233) vs Veronika Kudermetova (+185)
3:30 p.m. ET
Paula Badosa established herself as a top player last year when she won the Indian Wells title and she has continued her success in the desert this year. In her latest victory, Badosa took down Leylah Fernandez 6-4, 6-4.
Badosa won 79% of her first serves in the match against Fernandez and was only broken once. She also generated 12 break points on Fernandez’s serve and broke three times, holding Fernandez to 62% first serves won.
Badosa’s game works so well on these courts. She’s a good mover and is so solid from the baseline, hitting with consistent depth. The Spaniard also has a very high tennis IQ and understands the right time to play aggressively.
Veronika Kudermetova is playing excellent tennis this week. In the round of 16, Kudermetova beat Marketa Vondrousova in three sets to advance to the quarterfinals. Given how well Vondrousova’s heavy lefty game suited the Indian Wells conditions, this was an especially impressive victory.
Kudermetova won 76% of her first-serve points and was only broken once all match. The Russian did a great job of hitting with conviction and dictating play from the baseline. Vondrousova was playing that match on Kudermetova’s terms.
Kudermetova’s win over Vondrousova continued an impressive tournament for the Russian. Kudermetova had already beaten four-time Major champion Naomi Osaka in her first match and, while Marie Bouzkova retired with an injury in her next match, Kudermetova was leading when the retirement occurred.
Badosa will be too tough for Kudermetova in this match. Kudermetova did well in her win over Vondrousova, however, it’s important to note that the Czech lost her steadiness from the baseline as the match went on.
Badosa is more solid from the baseline and controls her power a little better than Kudermetova. And while Kudermetova has won their three previous meetings, playing Badosa these conditions represent a completely different challenge for the Russian.
In addition, Badosa’s overall Elo rating is 146 points better than Kudermetova’s Elo and her hard-court Elo is 125.5 points better than Kudermetova’s.
At a spread of only 3.5, Badosa is the play.
Pick: Badosa -3.5 games (-122 via PointsBet)
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