IW Tuesday: Down To The Last 16
Published March 11, 2014 12:11
INDIAN WELLS, CA, USA - Day 7 of the BNP Paribas Open sees all sixteen of the players remaining in the draw take to the court, including former champions Jelena Jankovic and Caroline Wozniacki, who face off in the early afternoon on Stadium 1.
Tuesday, Fourth Round
 Jelena Jankovic (SRB #8) vs.  Caroline Wozniacki (DEN #12)
Head-to-head: Wozniacki leads 5-4
With Victoria Azarenka and Maria Sharapova now out, opportunity knocks for several of the outsiders for the title. Among those looking to take advantage are Jelena Jankovic and Caroline Wozniacki, both of whom know what it takes to go all the way in the desert, having won in 2010 and 2011, respectively.
After a few years in the tennis wilderness, Jankovic returned with a bang in 2013, breaking back into the Top 10 thanks to a string of impressive showings. Whether these performances have instilled in her the belief to end a five-match losing streak against Wozniacki remains to be seen, but by keeping time on court to a minimum she has boosted her chances in a clash where fitness could be as important as shot making.
 Simona Halep (ROU #7) vs.  Eugenie Bouchard (CAN #19)
Head-to-head: first meeting
Simona Halep may have been the first player to secure her place in the last 16, but she did it the hard way, twice fighting back from a break down in the third set to defeat Lucie Safarova. That she pulled through in the end should have come as no surprise, though. Over the past 12 months, Halep has made a rather handy habit of winning, picking up seven titles that have propelled her rapidly up the rankings.
In fact, with all the exits and absences, the Romanian is now the third-highest-ranked player left in the draw. Next she faces another of the WTA's recent breakthrough acts, Eugenie Bouchard. The winning combination of attacking instincts on the court and girl-next-door charm off it has seen Bouchard rapidly establish herself as one of tennis' hottest properties. She has looked good in California, too, brushing aside Peng Shuai and Sara Errani in her opening two rounds.
 Petra Kvitova (CZE #9) vs.  Dominika Cibulkova (SVK #11)
Head-to-head: Kvitova leads 4-1
Petra Kvitova may hold a commanding 4-1 head-to-head lead over Dominika Cibulkova, but it is arguable whether she enters their latest encounter as favorite. A stop-start first few months of 2014 left Kvitova short of matches going into the tournament and, as evidenced by her see-saw match with Svetlana Kuznetsova, she is still playing herself into top form.
Cibulkova, on the other hand, is playing arguably the best tennis of her career. Still riding high on the confidence from her run to the final at the Australian Open, a few weeks ago the Slovak picked up the title in Acapulco and has experienced few problems here, defeating Donna Vekic and Ekaterina Makarova in straight sets.