INDIAN WELLS, CA, USA - After Wednesday's drama, Day 2 at the BNP Paribas Open has a lot to live up to, and with a lineup that includes home favorites, rising stars and stellar doubles partnerships it is unlikely to disappoint.
Thursday, First Round
Irina Falconi (USA #100) vs. Alexandra Dulgheru (ROU #57)
Head-to-head: first meeting
With seven players in the Top 100, Romanian tennis is currently enjoying one of the most successful periods in its history. And someone who has more than played their part in putting Romania on the WTA map is Alexandra Dulgheru. However, the two-time title winner and former World No.26 is a bit short on form and confidence at present, having won just one main draw match this year. Meeting her first up in Indian Wells, though, is Irina Falconi, another player struggling for wins. The American wildcard starts as underdog, but with the help of a fast court and a partisan crowd she has the tools to spring an upset.
Ekaterina Makarova (RUS #42) vs. Bethanie Mattek-Sands (USA #75)
Head-to-head: tied 1-1
On Thursday, Ekaterina Makarova will take to the court for the first time since her surprise quarterfinal run at the Australian Open in January. A wrist injury has sidelined the talented Russian since Melbourne and her return comes against the dangerous Bethanie Mattek-Sands. In a match that pits baseliner (Makarova) against net-rusher (Mattek-Sands), both players will be eager to prevent the other from establishing an early rhythm. The reward for the victor in this intriguing clash of styles is the challenge of dethroning reigning champion Caroline Wozniacki.
Also on court...
Last year's quarterfinalist Shahar Peer faces Lesia Tsurenko, recent Memphis winner Sofia Arvidsson takes on Eleni Daniilidou and Gisela Dulko meets Jelena Dokic. Meanwhile, in the doubles competition Australian Open champions Vera Zvonareva and Svetlana Kuznetsova, Dulko and Paola Suárez and Victoria Azarenka and Petra Kvitova are all in action.