Will Serena Williams win her eighth Miami Open? Can Maria Sharapova make it sixth time lucky? Find out who wtatennis.com contributor Ravi Ubha's picking in his expert predictions...
WTA Staff

She returned to Indian Wells after a 14-year absence and went undefeated. But Serena Williams didn't leave California with the title. Unfortunately for Williams, in case you missed it, a knee injury meant the 19-time Grand Slam winner withdrew prior to her semifinal against eventual champion Simona Halep. Williams remains in the draw at the Miami Open, a tournament she adores - and has won a record seven times. But how will the knee hold up?

Time for a look at the draw.

First Quarter: A Familiar Feel
Hmm, is this Groundhog Day? Williams faced Monica Niculescu in her opener in Indian Wells and, yes, could take on the Romanian entertainer to begin her quest for title No.8 in Miami.

Williams crushed Zarina Diyas in California and the Kazakhstani is the first seed Williams is scheduled to play; and once again Angelique Kerber or Svetlana Kuznetsova are potential fourth round foes for the World No.1. Kerber and Kuznetsova didn't make it that far in Indian Wells, however, with Sloane Stephens surfacing instead.

Much in this quarter, of course, hinges on Williams' fitness. If the knee is okay, she's the considerable favorite, although Garbiñe Muguruza, Ana Ivanovic and a seemingly rejuvenated Sabine Lisicki all present danger since they've topped Williams.

Two of the trio left Indian Wells disappointed. Muguruza lost her rematch with fellow WTA Rising Star Karolina Pliskova, while Ivanovic fell in the second straight tournament to Caroline Garcia. Lisicki, meanwhile, slugged and battled her way to the semifinals, a surprising outcome given the German was 1-6 entering Indian Wells.

Prediction: Muguruza def. Kuznetsova

Second Quarter: Blockbuster Early Matches?
Nicole Vaidisova is back on the big stage. Having resurfaced last year, Vaidisova played her first WTA main draw in five years in Monterrey in early March, exiting to Ivanovic. Now, as the beneficiary of a wildcard, the former World No.7 makes her first appearance in Miami since 2009. If her first round opponent could be a little bit unknown - she'll confront a qualifier - the Czech would oppose Halep in the second round.

Halep is indeed coming off the biggest title of her career, but even if she'll have around a week between matches to recover from her exertions, doing the Indian Wells-Miami double is difficult.

About the only player to have made a dent in Miami during Williams' reign has been Victoria Azarenka - she triumphed in 2009 and 2011. But guess who Azarenka might play in the second round? Sunday's finalist in Indian Wells, Jelena Jankovic. You'd expect Azarenka to have the upper hand, despite Jankovic's form and her recent Miami results looking good in odd-numbered years. Azarenka owns a 5-1 record in her last six matches against the bubbly Serb.

In line with the theme of possible early blockbusters, Stephens could play Madison Keys in the second round in a battle of young Americans and Eugenie Bouchard has a likely opener against 2013 quarterfinalist Roberta Vinci in the Italian's first tournament since ending her doubles partnership with Sara Errani.

Prediction: Azarenka def. Bouchard

Third Quarter: The BFFs To Meet?
Maybe the jet lag was too much to overcome for Caroline Wozniacki in Indian Wells. A three-time finalist - but also heading to California after winning in Malaysia - Wozniacki fell in the third round to Belinda Bencic (who needed that victory). Wozniacki's record in Miami isn't as good as in Indian Wells but it's been fairly consistent. Extra time to prepare for Miami is bound to help the Dane.

If she survives the opening rounds, the former No.1 might run into Venus Williams in the fourth round. And based on their head-to-head record, Venus would surely be confident. How else to describe a 6-0 record with one set lost (though it did come in January in Auckland)? Note, too, that the first seed Venus Williams could play is Samantha Stosur, and Venus leads that series 6-1.

With Serena piling up the wins in Miami, it's easy to forget that Venus won the title in 1998, 1999 and 2001 (and she didn't play in 2000).

The Road To Singapore standings see Halep, Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova and Pliskova in the top four. Who's fifth? Carla Suárez Navarro. With Wozniacki's great friend Agnieszka Radwanska struggling, Suárez Navarro must be the favorite to get to the quarterfinals from the top half of the section.

Prediction: V.Williams def. Suárez Navarro

Fourth Quarter: Garcia Gunning For Another Top 10 Win
Sharapova has won just about everything: All four of the majors, Indian Wells, Madrid, Rome, Cincinnati and Beijing. About the lone huge events she hasn't won - events that have been around for a while, that is - are the Rogers Cup and Miami Open. Sharapova gets her 10th crack at Miami this week, new 'app' in tow, and when glancing at her immediate path you can't help but notice the third round.

The Russian, if the seeds hold, would battle Caroline Garcia. It was at the French Open in 2011 that Garcia made a name for herself, leading Sharapova by a set and break in the second round. Even though Sharapova rallied, Andy Murray saw enough of Garcia to claim she'd be a future No.1.

All the pressure weighed down Garcia for a while - as she pointed out - but now the Frenchwoman appears to coming into her own. Garcia's win over Ivanovic in Indian Wells proved what happened in México was no fluke, and in truth, the result would have been as emphatic if Garcia had taken her opportunities in the second set.

Sharapova, though, beat Garcia in 2013 and 2014 with minimal fuss, dropping no more than three games in a set.

Whoever emerges from the bottom four brackets is likely to encounter Pliskova, the Czech who leads the tour in aces. And another player who's been praised by Murray.

Prediction: Sharapova def. Makarova

Semifinals: Azarenka def. Muguruza, Sharapova def. V. Williams.

Winner: Azarenka