Indian Wells Preview Day 7
Published March 12, 2012 11:59
INDIAN WELLS, CA, USA - Day 7 of the BNP Paribas Open will see all 16 players remaining in the tournament take to the court, including No.1 seed Victoria Azarenka, reigning champion Caroline Wozniacki and home favorite Christina McHale.
Tuesday, Fourth Round
 Victoria Azarenka (BLR #1) vs.  Julia Goerges (GER #15)
Head-to-head: Azarenka leads 2-1
After scraping through her opening match against Mona Barthel, normal service was resumed on Sunday, when Victoria Azarenka swatted aside the challenge of Svetlana Kuznetsova for the loss of just three games. This took her win streak to 19 matches, the best start to a WTA season since 2003.
Next up is the hard-hitting Julia Goerges, who has carried the form that saw her finish runner-up in Dubai a few weeks ago into Indian Wells, defeating Elena Baltacha and Anabel Medina Garrigues in straight sets. All three of the pair's previous meetings came last year, and while Azarenka holds the advantage here, having emerged victorious in the last two of these, Goerges has the game and, more importantly, the belief - thanks to two career wins over No.1-ranked players - to cause a shock.
 Ana Ivanovic (SRB #16) vs.  Caroline Wozniacki (DEN #4)
Head-to-head: series tied 2-2
Three former champions remain in the draw at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden and the evening session's final match pits two of them against one another. The players in question, Ana Ivanovic and Caroline Wozniacki, may know what it takes to triumph here, but both almost made premature exits on Monday when they trailed by a set to Ksenia Pervak and Sofia Arvidsson respectively before coming back to win.
Who will make the most of their reprieve remains to be seen, although the psychological edge belongs to Wozniacki, who won both of their most recent encounters, including a straight set triumph in Dubai a fortnight ago. Ivanovic, though, is gradually regaining the form that took her to World No.1 and a French Open title back in 2008 - she is currently at her highest ranking since late 2009 - and a win over Wozniacki will further signal her intent to return to these former glories.
 Christina McHale (USA #35) vs.  Angelique Kerber (GER #19)
Head-to-head: first meeting
Christina McHale's rise up the ranks over the past 12 months has been steady rather than spectacular. However, those not familiar with the talented 19-year-old at the start of Indian Wells certainly are now. On Sunday, McHale caused the first major upset of the tournament, weathering a barrage of early winners to stun No.3 seed Petra Kvitova in three sets. McHale managed to subdue Kvitova by marrying superb length from the baseline with an excellent serving display that saw her regularly clocking deliveries in excess of 110mph.
More of the same will be required to see off Angelique Kerber, who, like Kvitova, has the heavy groundstrokes to dictate from the back of the court. Despite her recent good form - last month she lifted her maiden WTA title in Paris - Kerber almost didn't make it past the first hurdle in Indian Wells, and her troubles with Sloane Stephens, whom she trailed 62 51 40-15, will fuel McHale's belief that back-to-back upsets are far from impossible.
Also on court…
Joining McHale in the fourth round is fellow American Jamie Hampton, who comes up against on No.5 seed Agnieszka Radwanska. Radwanska's fellow Top 10 players Maria Sharapova, Marion Bartoli and Li Na are also in action, taking on Roberta Vinci, Lucie Safarova and Klara Zakopalova, while the final quarterfinal spot will go to the winner of the all-Russian clash between Maria Kirilenko and Nadia Petrova.
For more on today's matches, see our Match Notes in the Press Center.