IW Friday: Big Guns Kick Off Campaigns
Published March 07, 2014 12:11
Friday, Second Round
 Agnieszka Radwanska (POL #3) vs. [Q] Heather Watson (GBR #132)
Head-to-head: Radwanska leads 2-0
Last year was a miserable one for Heather Watson. Laid low for much of the campaign by a debilitating bout of glandular fever, her form and confidence nosedived. However, there have been encouraging signs of late, with a title on the ITF Circuit helping push her back up towards the Top 100.
In the opening round, Watson's tidy groundstrokes and sprightly movement proved too much for Belinda Bencic, and if she is to stand any chance of toppling No.2 seed Agnieszka Radwanska her game will need to be on song once more. The Pole is one of the WTA's most consistent performers - her last loss to a player outside the Top 100 came against her sister, Urszula, five years ago - and her cerebral game has proved too much for Watson in their two previous encounters.
 Victoria Azarenka (BLR #4) vs. Lauren Davis (USA #66)
Head-to-head: first meeting
Victoria Azarenka has not struck a ball in anger since Radwanska brought her two-year reign at the Australian Open to an end. A foot injury forced her to skip her usual trip to Doha and she returns outside the Top 3 for the first time since October 2011 and with a few question marks hanging over her.
Any nerves over how her foot will fare are likely to be allayed somewhat by her record in Indian Wells, where she has made the quarterfinals or better - including a title run in 2013 - on four of her past five visits. Davis has never recorded a win over a member of the Top 20, let alone the Top 10, but comes into the tournament on the back of a solid start to the season that has already featured a quarterfinal in Auckland and a third round run at the Australian Open.
 Roberta Vinci (ITA #14) vs. Madison Keys (USA #38)
Head-to-head: Vinci leads 1-0
After enjoying arguably the best year of her career in 2013, the first few months of the new campaign have been a harsh reminder to Roberta Vinci about just how competitive life on the WTA is; she is yet to win a match, picking up just two sets from six opening round defeats.
And things are not about to get any easier. First up in the desert is Madison Keys, whose big game and temperament is more than capable of extending Vinci's winless run. If this is to happen, Keys will need to avoid extended baseline exchanges by serving well and taking the initiative early on in the rallies.
Around the grounds…
Former champions Caroline Wozniacki and Jelena Jankovic kick off their challenges against Bojana Jovanovski and Yvonne Meusburger, respectively, while other seeds in action include Simona Halep, Sara Errani and Eugenie Bouchard.