World No. 49 Shelby Rogers is coming off an impressive victory over red-hot world No. 12 Jelena Ostapenko at the BNP Paribas Open, 7-5, 7-6 (9). For her efforts, the American veteran—who won a third-set tiebreaker in the first round—will look to defeat the talented Canadian teen Leylah Fernandez. Fernandez, the No. 18 seed at Indian Wells, advanced after leveling her opening-round match with Amanda Anisimova at one set all.
As comps go, you can't do much better than Rogers and Fernandez's last meeting: in the round of 16 of this very tournament, last year. In a battle, Rogers prevailed with an exciting 2-6, 6-1, 7-6 (4) victory. Rogers also won their only other tour collision, at the 2020 Lexington event, 6-2, 7-5. While Fernandez's star is on the rise, this match still seems like another one that Rogers should ultimately win.
While Fernandez is a smaller player, she packs a big punch with her forehand. That shot is a legitimate weapon, and it’s one she has used to overpower some bigger opponents—on top of Fernandez being a great defender and having a methodical approach to her matches. The only problem here is that it’s hard to envision her overpowering Rogers, especially when the 29-year-old is in this kind of form. She was moving really well in her victory over Ostapenko, so her fitness is not something that should be much of a concern against Fernandez, even though she's had more mileage on her so far in Indian Wells.