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My Tennis Life: Ajla Tomljanovic preps for Indian Wells

The BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells might not be a Grand Slam tournament, but it’s certainly treated like one. This is a 1000-level event for both the men and the women, which means a lot is at stake in the place known as Tennis Paradise. With a star-studded field, this isn’t a tournament you’re going to want to miss. And as always, we have you covered with some betting picks for this week’s field.

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The Men

FLIER: Andrey Rublev (+2200) The only person in the world that is playing better than Rublev right now is Rafael Nadal. The 24-year-old Russian has won each of the last two meaningful hard-court events, taking home titles at the Open 13 in Marseille and the Dubai Tennis Championships. With Rublev having so much momentum right now, it’s hard to find a better value than backing him at these long odds. He’s the seventh-ranked player in the world and you can turn $10 into $230 if he wins again.

FLIER: Roberto Bautista Agut (+10000) Bautista Agut won a title at the Qatar Open a few weeks ago, defeating Andy Murray, Karen Khachanov and Nikoloz Basilashvili in the process. The 33-year-old is one of the better hard-court players on the tour, and he’s as reliable as there is outside of the game's top tier. Bautista Agut might not ultimately have the juice to leave the desert with a trophy, but he doesn’t need to in order for you to win some money. At these odds, a deep run would allow you to start hedging late and guaranteeing yourself profits.

FADE: Alexander Zverev (+1200) Zverev is one of the best players on the planet, but his exit at the Australian Open was extremely disappointing. He was also unable to beat Alexander Bublik in the finals of the Open Sud de France a few weeks later, and then he was disqualified for his embarrassing behavior at the Mexican Open a few weeks ago. Inconsistent on-court play and an indifferent—at best—fan base will only add to the mental hurdles he has had trouble overcoming in big tournaments.

It's hard to know what to expect from Alexander Zverev these days.

It's hard to know what to expect from Alexander Zverev these days.

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FADE: Stefanos Tsitsipas (+1400) After Tsitsipas made an improbable post-surgery run to the Australian Open semifinals and followed it up with a runner-up finish in Rotterdam, it seemed as though the 23-year-old would be in for a huge 2022 season. Since then, he has lost to Roman Saflullin in the second round of Marseille and followed it up with a loss to Cam Norrie in the semifinals of Acapulco. The Greek superstar definitely raises his level on big stages, but it’s just hard to trust him heading into this event with such a wide range of results lately.

PICK TO WIN: Rafael Nadal (+350) As previously mentioned, Nadal is on top of the world right now. After beating Daniil Medvedev in the Australian Open final, the Spaniard proved that the two-set comeback was no fluke by beating him 6-3, 6-3 in the Mexican Open semifinals. Medvedev might be known as the best hard-court player in the world—but not right now. With the 35-year-old playing at such a high level, it’s interesting seeing him with odds this favorable. Why not roll with Rafa to take home the title in the desert for the fourth time in his career?

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The Women

FLIER: Jelena Ostapenko (+2800) Ostapenko is on fire coming into this tournament, so it’s a little surprising to see such a big number next to her name. The Latvian has made it to at least the semifinals of each of her last three events, and she won the Dubai Tennis Championships in the middle of February. On her way to claiming that title, the 24-year-old eliminated Sofia Kenin, Iga Swiatek, Petra Kvitova and Simona Halep. That just goes to show how good Ostapenko’s A-game is, and it’s just hard to lay off her at these odds. Her power can be impossible to overcome when she’s locked in.

FLIER: Elina Svitolina (+2500) Svitolina has had some decent results at Indian Wells in her career, as she made it to the semifinals of this event back in 2019. Svitolina isn’t exactly playing great right now, and there's the obvious situation in her native Ukraine, but these odds are just a little too long for somebody with her talent. It’s not hard to envision a scenario in which she harnesses that energy and uses it for the good; we just saw Dayana Yastremska make a run to the finals in Lyon.

FADE: Anett Kontaveit (+600) Kontaveit is one of the better hard-court players in tennis, but she’s definitely at her best playing indoors. The conditions at Indian Wells can sometimes get a little dicey, with heavy winds able to shake things up in a big way. With that in mind, it’s probably best to avoid throwing significant money on the Estonian here. Kontaveit also happened to get blown off the court by Iga Swiatek in the finals at the Qatar Open on February 26, when she lost 6-2, 6-0. That lasting image is a little concerning entering this event.

Emma Raducanu's first loss after her improbable US Open run came at the autumn edition of Indian Wells.

Emma Raducanu's first loss after her improbable US Open run came at the autumn edition of Indian Wells.

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FADE: Emma Raducanu (+2200) Raducanu is one of the most exciting players on tour, but she had to retire from her match against Daria Saville in the Abierto de Guadalajara on February 22. The 19-year-old is now going to head to Indian Wells while dealing with a nagging hip injury, and it isn’t even a guarantee that she’ll end up playing in this event. Of course, a full-strength version of the Brit would have a shot to take home the trophy here, but it’s just best to avoid risking anything on her at this stage.

PICK TO WIN: Iga Swiatek (+550) It’s never fun taking the favorite to win an event, but these are simply good odds. Swiatek was unbelievable at the Qatar Open towards the end of February, winning a title after earning commanding, straight-set victories over Daria Kasatkina, Aryna Sabalenka, Maria Sakkari and Kontaveit. The 20-year-old won her first Grand Slam title on clay in 2020, but she's really coming into her own on hard courts. Look for the Polish star to make a deep run this week, as she has proven that she can navigate her way through a tough draw.