BNP Paribas Open Women’s Top Seed Goes To Krejcikova

Barbora Krejcikova (photo: Jürgen Hasenkopf)

INDIAN WELLS/WASHINGTON, March 8, 2022 (by Michael Dickens)

The BNP Paribas Open women’s singles main draw reveal took place Monday at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. While the top seeds announced were few on surprises – with just three of the current Top 20 missing in action – World No. 2 Barbora Krejcikova was selected as the No. 1 seed following the withdrawal last week of World No. 1 Ashleigh Barty. World No. 3 Aryna Sabalenka is seeded second followed by Iga Swiatek, Anett Kontaveit, Paula Badosa, Maria Sakkari, Karolina Pliskova and Garbiñe Muguruza to round out the top eight seeds.

With a 96-player draw, there are 32 seeded players who will receive first-round byes. It also means there are some intriguing first-round matches, perhaps, none bigger than 2018 Indian Wells champion Naomi Osaka, now ranked 78th, facing 2017 US Open champion Sloane Stephens, who is currently ranked 38th.

Stephens and Osaka last played each other in the 2018 WTA Finals, ranked No. 6 and No. 4. Some observers, like The Guardian’s Tumaini Carayol, wrote on Twitter: “It felt like the start of a new, dynamic rivalry at the top. Now, they’re both unseeded at Indian Wells.”

Pliskova was the top seed last year, when the tournament was rescheduled and played in October due to the pandemic. Now, she’s playing her first event of 2022 after injury ruled her out of playing in the Australian Open and other Australian Summer Swing events plus the recent Middle East Swing to Dubai and Doha.

Lyon finalist Dayana Yastremska of Ukraine, now ranked 103rd, who was given a wild card Sunday evening after Osaka moved into the main draw by direct entry, will play No. 66 Caroline Garcia in her first round match.

Besides Barty, No. 11 Danielle Collins and No. 14 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova will also miss the year’s second WTA 1000 event due to injuries.

The women’s main draw begins on Wednesday with the final scheduled for Sunday, March 20.

Monday’s BNP Paribas Open qualifying results

Thiem pulls out of Indian Wells, Miami

Dominic Thiem has withdrawn from both of this month’s ATP Masters 1000 events, the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells and the Miami Open presented by Itaú in South Florida. The BNP Paribas Open men’s main draw will be announced Tuesday and play in the Indian Wells tournament begins on Thursday.

The 28-year-old Austrian said on his Instagram page Monday that while he had “really good practice weeks,” his wrist is “perfectly fine” and his hand “is getting better and better,” he would rather restart his season on European clay.

“I’ve decided to pull out of Indian Wells and Miami to will start in the clay season, the surface where I feel most comfortable,” the 2020 US Open champion Thiem said. “It’s a perfect time to start there. I would have loved to play here in the States. I’m really sorry for my fans.”

The last time Thiem played at Indian Wells, he won the BNP Paribas Open in 2019 with a 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 victory over Roger Federer. His best result in Miami was a quarterfinal run in 2015.

Thiem, who has not played since retiring from a second-round match against Adrian Mannarino on grass in Mallorca, Spain last June after suffering a slight wrist tear, was limited to just 18 matches last year. He compiled a 9-9 win-loss record after going 31-9 in 2020.


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Because of his inactivity due to injuries, Thiem’s world ranking has dropped from No. 5 to No. 50.

Thiem attempted to begin his season last month in Cordoba, Argentina on clay. However, he suffered a separate right finger issue involving a strained ligament.

Tennis Channel debuts T2 channel

Tennis Channel and Samsung’s free streaming service, Samsung TV Plus, have launched a “groundbreaking” new TV channel in the U.S. called T2. It’s Tennis Channel‘s first free ad-supported TV (FAST) offering in the United States and Samsung TV Plus’s first channel to offer year-round live sports.

With matches and original programming not featured on Tennis Channel, T2 is now available to all Samsung TV Plus users with a 2017-or-newer Samsung smart TV and Galaxy mobile devices.

“The demand for top-level sports programming has grown even stronger as media platforms continue to evolve, and we couldn’t be happier to usher in T2, our new FAST standard, with Samsung TV Plus,” said Tennis Channel president Ken Solomon. “Thanks to the voluminous live-match content unique to tennis – daily, global events around the clock with often overlapping multi-court coverage – T2 lets millions of Americans watch live tennis from many of the world’s top events, all year long. There are more great matches than we can fit on Tennis Channel, making T2 and Samsung TV Plus’ innovative platform the perfect complement. It allows us to attract even more viewers to the game in an exciting new way, rising the tide for tennis fans, our existing distribution partners and the game’s stakeholders everywhere.”

Noteworthy …

Recently retired doubles specialist Horia Tecau of Romania announced Monday he will become the captain of Romania’s Billie Jean King Cup team.

Reigning US Open champion Emma Raducanu has been named as a brand ambassador for Vodafone in the United Kingdom to work with the Play Your Way to Wimbledon campaign.

By the numbers

According to the WTA website, the biggest jump among this wee’s Top 200 goes to Dayana Yastremska of Ukraine, who moved from from No. 140 to No. 103 after reaching the final of the Open 6ème Sens – Métropole de Lyon. It was her fifth WTA title match appearance and first since 2020 at Adelaide.

What they’re podcasting

“Quotable …”

“I mean, when she wins, she wins ‘big’. She doesn’t putz around. She ran through the [2020] French without losing a set, she dominated in Doha … when she’s on, she’s on. I think the conditions in Indian Wells are going to be similar to Doha. Slow conditions, even though the ball flies at altitude. Heavy conditions, so you have to hit through the court with a lot of power. She’s got a ton of topspin on the forehand, which paid off in Doha – and should pay off in Indian Wells as well.”

– Hall of Fame great Martina Navratilova on Iga Swiatek, whom she feels is one of the favorites to win Indian Wells, as quoted on the WTA website.