4 min read
No. 1 Iga Swiatek will look to make history at the 2023 BNP Paribas Open, while second seed Aryna Sabalenka will try to replicate her play from the 2023 Australian Open.
2023 BNP Paribas Open Women's Favorites by UTR Rating
Favorites to win the 2023 BNP Paribas Open women’s singles title
(1) Iga Swiatek (13.24)
Last year, everything got rolling in Indian Wells for Swiatek. Her 37-match win streak reached double digits, and she won half of her first “Sunshine Double,” in which she became the youngest player in WTA history to win Indian Wells and Miami.
Now Swiatek, the top seed in the desert, will try to write more history as she looks to become only the second women’s singles player to defend her Indian Wells title, after Martina Navratilova in 1990-91.
(2) Aryna Sabalenka (12.97)
Sabalenka enters Indian Wells with the best winning percentage on the WTA (92.9%), having won her first 13 matches of the season, including her first Grand Slam title at the Australian Open.
Love is in the air❤️ https://t.co/ekQ6T7W9bM— Sabalenka Aryna (@SabalenkaA) March 7, 2023
In her only tournament since beating Elena Rybakina in the Melbourne final, Sabalenka reached the Dubai quarterfinals. Sabalenka is 4-3 lifetime in Indian Wells and lost her opening match a year ago.
Barbora Krejcikova (12.95), the 2021 French Open champion, beat Sabalenka (quarterfinals), American Jessica Pegula (semifinals), and Swiatek en route to the Dubai title.
Dismiss Pegula (12.95), though, and be prepared to live with regret. In three tournaments this year, the 29-year-old American made the quarterfinal, final, and semifinal. Rybakina (12.93), however, has struggled to find her best tennis since reaching her second Grand Slam final at the 2023 Australian Open. She is 3-2 since then but made the Indian Wells quarterfinals a year ago, falling to eventual finalist Maria Sakkari of Greece (12.69).
Sleeper picks at 2023 BNP Paribas Open
Can you be the only two-time champion in the draw and be a sleeper pick? Victoria Azarenka (12.74) is a contender at every tournament she enters, and the 2023 BNP Paribas Open is no exception. The 2012 and 2016 champion made the semifinals Down Under earlier this year and last returned to the Indian Wells final in 2021, where she fell to Spain’s Paula Badosa (12.44).
In back-to-back years, Badosa has found her best tennis in Indian Wells. Last year, as the fifth seed, she made the semifinals. But this year, she’s back under the radar as the 21st seed. Beware.
Last year, Sakkari (12.69) was a set away from joining Badosa as a BNP Paribas Open champion. The Greek fell to Swiatek 6-4, 6-1 in the final, and is overdue for a breakthrough on a big stage. Sakkari is looking to end a five-match losing streak in title matches.
To learn more about Universal Tennis, click here.
•UTR Ratings as of 1 p.m. EST, March 8, 2023.