Belinda Bencic has enjoyed a fantastic 2021 season, highlighted by her gold medal run in Tokyo as well as quarterfinal appearances at the US Open, Madrid and Cincinnati. Resurgent feels like the wrong word to describe someone that’s just 24, but after a disappointing and injury-riddled 2017 and 2018 seasons, the Swiss has once again solidified herself in the world’s Top 10, a place she surely belongs.

Bencic will face off against Shelby Rogers in the second round, and according to DraftKings Sportsbook she is listed as a -200 favorite and projected to win by 3.5 total games.

Bencic is the more gifted player, but it will be fascinating to see how her ultra-flat, often on-the-rise game responds to the extremely slow conditions at Indian Wells. The court surface is playing like coarse sandpaper, and hitting a flat winner is proving to be borderline impossible. A shot hit with heavy topspin is far more effective than a flat strike in these conditions.

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GettyImages-1344840369

GettyImages-1344840369

While Rogers has never excelled in the desert—she owns a career 3-5 record at Indian Wells—she should be able to neutralize Bencic’s game with her raw power. Theoretically she should enjoy the conditions, as few players hit a bigger ball off the ground than Rogers. With the extra time to line up her shots, she should be able to keep Bencic on defense for most of the match. The Swiss is an offensive-minded player, and may get frustrated with the current conditions.

I’m certainly not expecting an upset for Rogers, but she should play the Swiss close, and if she takes a set she should cover her +3.5 game spread. Remember to bet small in the early stages of any tournament, but Rogers has more than enough game to make this a competitive match.

The Pick: Shelby Rogers +3.5 games