Indian Wells Day 1 Preview
Published March 06, 2012 11:29
INDIAN WELLS, CA, USA - With all 32 seeds receiving first round byes, a few of the WTA's rising stars will get some much-deserved time in the show court spotlight on the opening two days of the BNP Paribas Open. Among them are the talented young American duo of Jamie Hampton and Vania King, who take on Polona Hercog and Sara Errani respectively.
Wednesday, First Round
[WC] Jamie Hampton (USA #99) vs. Polona Hercog (SLO #38)
Head-to-head: Hercog leads 1-0
For Jamie Hampton, the BNP Paribas Open will be her first tournament as a Top 100 player. The breakthrough rounds off a quietly impressive start to 2012, and the latest test of her progress comes in the form of World No.38 Polona Hercog. While Hampton has been racking up the victories, Hercog has been struggling, arriving in California with just four wins to her name this year. Their only previous meeting saw Hercog come out on top in a close two-setter on the clay of Barcelona last year, but recent form suggests Hampton could be ready to turn the tables in California and claim the second Top 50 win of her career.
Vania King (USA #58) vs. Sara Errani (ITA #31)
Head-to-head: Errani leads 1-0
If Victoria Azarenka has been the WTA's star performer in 2012, Sara Errani has been its surprise package. The Italian thrust herself into the spotlight in January with a superb quarterfinal run at the Australian Open and has since gone from strength to strength, reaching the semifinals in Monterrey before lifting her third career title in Acapulco. Facing her first up in Indian Wells is the talented, yet enigmatic, Vania King. The American has all the shots to outfox almost anyone, particularly on a hardcourt, but she will need to be at her best to stand a chance of outmaneuvering the ultra-fit Errani.
Sorana Cirstea (ROU #48) vs. Iveta Benesova (CZE #43)
Head-to-head: Benesova leads 1-0
With four career Top 10 wins, Iveta Benesova is one unseeded player more than capable of a first week upset. However, before she can contemplate this, the Czech must first negotiate a tricky opening encounter with Sorana Cirstea. Both players have enjoyed solid starts to the year and will be looking to build some momentum in Indian Wells and Miami to take into the European clay court season. Benesova won the pair's only meeting to date, and her hardcourt pedigree - she has reached three finals and six semis on the surface - will see her start as favorite.