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.
Elina Svitolina (UKR) - WTA No. 6, UTR No. 4 (13.32)
Bianca Andreescu (CAN) - WTA No. 60, UTR No. 7 (13.24)
Bianca Andreescu has been turning heads all week. She has lost just fifteen total games in her last four matches, and she has a knack for demolishing her competition. The Canadian is making huge statements with the scoreboard, and Svitolina knows this isn't going to be easy..
Andreescu was a multi-sport athlete growing up and her athleticism is certainly not tennis specific. But her opponent, Elina Svitolina, has been rock solid all year. This will be Andreescu’s toughest test yet. No one she’s faced so far is playing at the same level as the Svitolina. The Ukrainian has played back to back grueling three-setters, including the longest match of the tournament, a three-hour and 12-minute match against Ashleigh Barty. So considering Svitolina will be slightly fatigued, I expect Andreescu to capitalize in yet another statement win.
Rafael Nadal (ESP) - ATP No. 2, UTR No. 2 (16.16)
Karen Khachanov (RUS) - ATP No. 13, UTR No. 21 (15.52)
Of all the players capable of beating Rafael Nadal at full health, excluding Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic, Karen Khachanov might be your best bet. I saw Khachanov up close in person this week, and he is absolutely humungous. He stands every bit of 6'6''. For reasons unknown, Khachanov switched to a HEAD racquet after winning his first Masters 1000 title in Paris. But after a horrific start to the season, Khachanov has found his groove again with his trusty Wilson Blade.
Meanwhile, Nadal’s go-to game plan of ripping high-bouncing forehands out of his opponent’s strike zone does not work against Khachanov. The Russian is too tall. His backhand is also his more stable wing. But although Khachanov’s game matches up well against Rafa, look for the Spaniard to run the Russian ragged and win in two close sets.