Indian Wells Day 3 Preview
Published March 07, 2013 11:59
INDIAN WELLS, CA, USA - After receiving first round byes, Friday will see the seeds in the bottom half of the draw make their bow at this year's BNP Paribas Open. Jelena Jankovic and Maria Kirilenko face tough matches against Svetlana Kuznetsova and Christina McHale, while last year's runner-up Maria Sharapova comes up against the experienced Francesca Schiavone.
 Maria Kirilenko (RUS #15) vs. Christina McHale (USA #48)
Head-to-head: Kirilenko leads 1-0
After bobbing in and around the Top 20 for over half a decade, Maria Kirilenko made a long-overdue play for the Top 10 in 2012. And the Russian, still just 26, has carried on from where she left off this season, reaching the fourth round at the Australian Open and winning the title in Pattaya City.
As one of the 32 seeds, Kirilenko received a bye through to the second round in Indian Wells, where she will meet talented young American Christina McHale. Twelve months ago, McHale's compact game took her to the fourth round and, with nine Top 20 career wins under her belt already, she is more than capable of another deep run.
 Maria Sharapova (RUS #3) vs. Francesca Schiavone (ITA #47)
Head-to-head: Sharapova leads 3-0
In last year's final, Victoria Azarenka inflicted a chastening defeat on arch rival Maria Sharapova in a surprisingly one-sided encounter. While time may have dulled the pain, Sharapova will be keen to set the record straight on this visit to the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.
Sharapova, the champion in 2006, kicks off against the third oldest player in the draw, Francesca Schiavone. On Wednesday, Schiavone defeated fellow Italian Flavia Pennetta for just her second hardcourt win in the past 12 months, and despite running the No.2 seed close in two of their previous three meetings, she will have to roll back the years if she is to trouble her this time.
 Jelena Jankovic (SRB #23) vs. Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS #46)
Head-to-head: Jankovic leads 6-5
Since winning the title here in southern California three years ago, Jelena Jankovic has won just two matches at the so-called 'fifth Slam'. And with the draw pairing her with a resurgent Svetlana Kuznetsova in the second round, she will have her work cut out adding to this tally in 2013.
Kuznetsova has already won 15 matches this season, with the latest coming against an outmatched Andrea Hlavackova in the opening round. Jankovic will be buoyed, however, not only by a recent title run in Bogotá but also by her past record against the Russian; four of the past five meetings have gone Jankovic's way, including a straight set win in last year's Fed Cup semifinals.