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Indian Wells Day 3 Preview

Victoria Azarenka looks for win number 18 for the season as she kicks off her challenge for the BNP Paribas Open.

Published March 08, 2012 11:16

Indian Wells Day 3 Preview
Mona Barthel, Victoria Azarenka
INDIAN WELLS, CA, USA - After receiving first round byes, Friday will see the seeds in the top half of the draw make their much-anticipated bow at this year's BNP Paribas Open. Among those in action are Victoria Azarenka and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, who renew hostilities with familiar foes, and an in-form Angelique Kerber.

Friday, Second Round

Stadium 1
[1] Victoria Azarenka (BLR #1) vs. Mona Barthel (GER #37)
Azarenka leads 2-0
Victoria Azarenka and Mona Barthel will soon be getting fed up of the sight of one another. After locking horns at the Australian Open and Doha, their second round encounter in Indian Wells is the third time they have met this year. And although Azarenka has come out on top on both of these occasions, she will not be taking the talented German lightly. Barthel, who possesses an excellent serve and groundstrokes, an aggressive return game and superb movement, has all the tools to become a permanent resident of the Top 20. This was not enough to topple Azarenka earlier in the season, though, and it is debatable whether her game has matured enough to turn the tables just yet.

Stadium 3
Vania King (USA #58) vs. [13] Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS #20)
King leads 2-1
Two more players on familiar terms are Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Vania King. The pair shared a court for nearly two and a half hours in a second round epic at the Australian Open, and King, the victor on that occasion, will be confident of history repeating itself on Friday. Three years ago, Pavlyuchenkova's powerful groundstrokes took her to the semifinals in Indian Wells, but she has been some way off that form in 2012, failing to win a match since that defeat to King in Melbourne. Meanwhile, King looked at her attacking best disarming Sara Errani in the opening round, setting the scene nicely for what could be the tournament's first major upset.

Court 7
[18] Angelique Kerber (GER #19) vs. [WC] Sloane Stephens (USA #90)
first meeting
With two first round defeats in three appearances, Indian Wells has not been the happiest of hunting grounds for Angelique Kerber. However, after an excellent start to the season - highlighted by a maiden career title in Paris - the German will be looking to spruce up this record on her latest visit. If she is to do that, though, she must first get past Sloane Stephens. The American teenager has talent and athleticism to spare, and in the first round showed she has guts too, saving a match point to defeat Aleksandra Wozniak. Stephens will need all this and more to oust Kerber, who is starting to show the big match temperament to match her heavy baseline game.

Also on court…
In the evening session, No.3 seed Petra Kvitova looks for revenge against her conqueror last year, Barbora Zahlavova Strycova, while Agnieszka Radwanska, Li Na, Vera Zvonareva, Jelena Jankovic and Daniela Hantuchova are also in action.
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