Indian Wells Matches to Watch: Serena Williams vs. Garbine Muguruza

Indian Wells Matches to Watch: Serena Williams vs. Garbine Muguruza

Serena's quest for her first post-pregnancy title runs through a two-time Grand Slam champion.

Before each day's play at Indian Wells, we'll preview a pair of must-see matches. Our breakdowns will also include each players' UTR. What is UTR? Go to our Tennis Magazine feature and learn more.

Serena Williams vs. Garbine Muguruza

​Serena Williams (USA) - WTA No. 10, UTR No. 1 (13.36 )
Garbine Muguruza (ESP) - WTA No. 18, UTR No. 24 (13.05 )

Once again we have a matchup of Grand Slam champions in the early rounds. Serena owns a 3-2 head-to-head advantage over the Spaniard, but it was Muguruza who had the last laugh at the 2016 French Open, where she dispatched Serena in straight sets. 

But Muguruza has been playing some questionable tennis in the past year. Her ranking has dropped to 18 in the world, far too low for an athlete of her caliber. Look for Serena to punish the ball to the Muguruza backhand, which has looked shaky so far this tournament. If Serena serves well, this will not be close. The Serena serve is the best weapon the women’s game has ever seen. I am fully expecting Serena to lay the smackdown on Muguruza, and get some revenge for her loss three years ago.

Daniil Medvedev vs. Mackenzie McDonald

Daniil Medvedev (RUS) - ATP No. 15, UTR No. 3 (15.96)
Mackenzie McDonald (USA) - ATP No. 62, UTR No. 58 (15.14)

Welcome to the big leagues, Mackenzie McDonald. After a huge win against Juan Martin del Potro in Delray, McDonald will face off against heavy-hitting Russian Daniil Medvedev. By all accounts, both ATP ranking and UTR, Medvedev is one of the very best players in the world. 

The brutally slow and windy conditions in Indian Wells will help McDonald. Medvedev hits the ball very flat and deep, but these courts do not reward flat-ball hitters. This match is another great Litmus test for the former UCLA Bruin. I expect Daniil Medvedev to win this match in three tough sets, but don’t be surprised to see McDonald go shot for shot with one of the best players in the world.