The stars will be out in California this week as the BNP Paribas Open returns to the calendar in Indian Wells.
The Masters 1000/WTA 1000 event was not played in 2019 due to the Covid-19 pandemic and has been rescheduled this year from March to October.
While the change of date means several top players will not be competing, there are still plenty of exciting names and storylines to look out for over the next two weeks…
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Emma Raducanu

The US Open and Indian Wells. It doesn’t get much bigger than that for a one-two punch of tournaments for Raducanu, who will be playing this week for the first time since her stunning victory in New York last month.
The 18-year-old has never played a WTA 1000 event before, and this will only be her fifth main draw tournament on the WTA Tour. There will be plenty of eyes on her as she looks to back up her Grand Slam win and it will be fascinating to see how she performs. If she has a good tournament then she can move closer to a top-10 spot and will potentially be looking at a place at the season-ending WTA Finals in Mexico.
While Raducanu has been enjoying the spotlight since her US Open victory, she has also maintained that she is as keen as ever to get back on the court. “All the opportunities I am getting have been very fun, but where I really want to be is on the tennis court, as I’m just thriving out there…I am very excited to compete again.”
Raducanu is seeded 17th for the tournament and will get a first-round bye, meaning her opening match will be against world no 71 Maria Camila Osorio or world no 100 Aliaksandra Sasnovich on Friday or Saturday.

Emma Raducanu of Great Britain celebrates with the US Open winner's trophy after her victory over Leylah Fernandez of Canada in the final of the women's singles of the US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 11, 2021 in Ne

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Daniil Medvedev

If all eyes are on Raducanu in the women’s draw, so too will the focus be on newly-crowned US Open champion Medvedev in the men’s draw. With Novak Djokovic not playing, Medvedev will be the top seed and a deep run will be expected. His only court time since New York was at the Laver Cup where he didn’t look too rusty as he beat Denis Shapovalov in just 75 minutes.
“I didn’t know what to expect because after the US Open I didn’t play for a week-and-a-half,” he said afterwards. “I came here, practised as much as I could the last three days. I didn’t hit many balls but, surprisingly, I was feeling good. At first, it was not easy. The ball was not going as fast as I wanted. He was playing really good. Then I just couldn’t miss a ball anymore. I’m really happy about it.”
Medvedev has won four tournaments this year but has a 3-3 record at Indian Wells. He should be the one to beat, but there will be a new level of expectation on his shoulders.

Andy Murray

Murray has played a lot over the last two months with mixed results. The biggest positives are that he has been able to stay on court so much and be competitive against some of the very best players in the world. However, Murray has come up just short in matches too often for his like.
“I just need to start beating some higher-ranked players,” he said at the San Diego Open last week, where he was beaten in his second match by eventual champion Casper Ruud. “I’ve had opportunities in those matches against the top players I've played. I think I can beat them. I just need to start converting some of my opportunities against them.”
Will Murray get a breakthrough win against a top-10 or top-20 player at Indian Wells? It’s one of two Masters events, along with Monte Carlo, that Murray has never won, and his 68 per cent win-rate there is lower than at any other hard-court Masters. He will be hoping that he gets a decent draw that at least gives him a chance of getting into the second week.

Bianca Andreescu

This is a big tournament for Andreescu. It was in 2019 when she was a surprise champion, and now two-and-a-half years later she not only has the title to defend, but plenty of ranking points too. Andreescu has had a difficult season that has been disrupted by injuries, a positive Covid-19 test and a change of coach. The highlight so far was a run to the final of the Miami Open, and the best results of her career have come on hard courts in North America.
"Do I feel like a defending champion? Yes and no," she said ahead of returning to Indian Wells. "I'm sure when I get there and see my picture on the wall it will ring some bells. But so much has changed since then, you have no idea."
Can she pull something out after a first-round loss in her previous outing in Chicago? Another early exit could see Andreescu slip out of the top 40 and miss out on a seeding at the Australian Open.

Stefanos Tsitsipas

It’s been an odd summer for Tsitsipas. He made the final of the French Open – so nearly beating Djokovic in five sets – and reached two hard-court Masters 1000 semi-finals in Cincinnati and Toronto, but then became the pantomime villain at the US Open due to his lengthy bathroom breaks. He also sparked controversy when he suggested in August that he wouldn’t get the Covid-19 vaccine unless it became mandatory on tour, a decision he made a U-turn on shortly afterwards.
Tsitsipas will be the second seed at Indian Wells and has performed well at Masters events this year, making at least the quarter-finals in five of the first six. But can he rediscover his best form over the next two weeks?

Karolina Pliskova

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Karolina Pliskova

Pliskova has had a hugely successful career, reaching No 1 in the world and winning 16 singles titles, yet the biggest prizes have largely so far eluded her. She has lost in two Grand Slams, including at Wimbledon this year, and has only won two WTA 1000 events. With world No 1 Ashleigh Barty and world No 2 Aryna Sabalenka both out of Indian Wells, Pliskova will be the women’s top seed; can she deliver a standout performance?
She has enjoyed some success in her previous appearances, making the semi-finals in 2016 and 2017 and then the quarter-finals for the next two years. With a strong summer behind her, Pliskova will be one to track through the women’s draw.
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