This is the furthest Iga Swiatek has advanced at Indian Wells in her young career.

World No. 4 Iga Swiatek was our pre-tournament bet to win the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells, and we’re certainly not shying away from her after her best performance in the desert thus far. Swiatek faced world No. 29 Madison Keys in the quarterfinals on Wednesday, and won in colossal fashion, 6-1, 6-0. It only took Swiatek 57 minutes, which should give her some much-needed rest heading into her semifinal match-up with world No. 26 Simona Halep. All three of Swiatek’s previous matches in this tournament had gone to a deciding set.

Swiatek is a -205 favorite to beat Halep in this match, so we’re not going to suggest you pay that price to take her on the moneyline. Instead, play the -2.5 game spread. Halep won in three sets the last time these two played, but that was back at the 2021 Australian Open. These players are not on the same trajectories right now, as Halep is working to regain her top form, and Swiatek is very much playing her best tennis.

The Polish 20-year-old won a title at the Qatar Open last week, earning straight-set wins over Aryna Sabalenka, Maria Sakkari and Anett Kontaveit. Kontaveit is one of the best hard-court players on the planet these days, which just goes to show you where Swiatek’s game is. Swiatek also made it to the semifinals of the Australian Open before a disappointing outing against Danielle Collins, but she seems poised to continue marching through the field in Indian Wells.


Halep is one of the better defenders in the women’s game, so she’ll track down more of Swiatek’s balls than most players. But the 20-year-old’s aggressiveness and power should ultimately prove to be too much for Halep to handle, especially considering Halep’s serve can occasionally be a little faulty. Swiatek’s serving is one of the few holes in her game right now; she can occasionally be off with her first serve, and she is content to simply place her second serve in the box. But with Halep also being a player that is in danger of dropping service games, she’s not in a prime position to take advantage of Swiatek’s weakness.

This match could end up going to a deciding set, but we trust Swiatek to come out on top. And she should have a lopsided set along the way. it mean that the game spread would be within reach even in a do-or-die decider.

The Pick: Swiatek -2.5 Games (-140)