Kim Clijsters set for comeback, Emma Raducanu the top draw at Indian Wells

Three-time US Open champion and two-time winner at Indian Wells, Belgium’s former world No. 1 Kim Clijsters, will make her first appearance at the BNP Paribas Open in a decade. Clijsters, who received a wildcard into the main draw, will kick off her campaign against world No.53 Katerina Siniakova. The winner of that opener will face another former world No.1 Angelique Kerber of Germany.

According to the draw revealed on Tuesday (IST), Grand Slam champions Simona Halep and Emma Raducanu of Great Britain could face off in the third round. The BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells returns to the WTA calendar after a two-and-a-half-year absence. The main draw sets up some fascinating early encounters for the season’s final WTA 1000 event.

Four-time Grand Slam champion Clijsters, who won titles at Indian Wells in 2003 and 2005, still seeks her first tour-level win since her 2012 retirement season. She returned in 2020 and suffered close losses in her three matches last year to Garbine Muguruza, Johanna Konta and Ekaterina Alexandrova. In her season debut last week in Chicago, she fell in three sets to Hsieh Su-Wei.

A third-round matchup between two-time Grand Slam champion Simona Halep and reigning US Open champion Emma Raducanu could take place if they each win their second-round matches, while No.17 seed Raducanu would need to beat the winner of the match between Maria Camila Osorio Serrano of Colombia and Aliaksandra Sasnovich of Belarus.

Raducanu will be making her Indian Wells debut, as she returns to the tour for the first time since she stormed to her maiden Grand Slam title in New York. Ranked world No. 150 at that time, Raducanu became the first qualifier to win a Grand Slam singles title and has since shot up to No. 22 in the WTA rankings.

Another third-round clash between Grand Slam champions is a possibility, with Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic and Victoria Azarenka of Belarus seeded to meet if they win their second-round matches. No.7 seed Kvitova would first have to defeat either Arantxa Rus of the Netherlands or a qualifier, while 27th-seeded Azarenka will play the winner of the match between Magda Linette of Poland and Rebecca Peterson of Sweden.

World No.3 Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic and world No. 4 Iga Swiatek of Poland are the top two seeds for the event. Top-seeded Pliskova, who qualified for the year-ending Akron WTA Finals on Monday, will meet either Zheng Saisai or wildcard Caty McNally in the second round. World No.2 seed Swiatek, who is trying to claim her spot at the Akron WTA Finals in Guadalajara, will have a second-round encounter with either Petra Martic or wildcard Katie Volynets.

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