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Five best WTA matches at the Indian Wells Masters

Tom Avery October 6, 2021
BNP Paribas Open - Day 2
Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

US Open champion Emma Raducanu makes her tennis return at the Indian Wells Masters tournament with the women’s main draw starting today (6 October).

The BNP Paribas Open returns to the WTA calendar after a two-and-a-half-year absence.

An intriguing third-round match-up between two-time Grand Slam champion Simona Halep and Raducanu could take place if they each win their second-round matches.

Raducanu, who will be making her Indian Wells debut, is 17th seed for the tournament, with the 32 seeded players all given first-round byes.

Defending BNP Paribas Open champion Bianca Andreescu and 2021 US Open finalist Leylah Fernandez are both seeded in the field, while former world number one Kim Clijsters has been given a wild card into the main draw.

Here are the five best WTA matches to have taken place at Indian Wells.

Steffi Graf v Serena Williams – 1999

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Steffi Graf was the dominant force in women’s tennis and already had 21 Grand Slam singles titles to her name.

Meanwhile, a certain Serena Williams was only at the start of her journey and had yet to win a major.

But Graf witnessed first-hand the stardom 17-year-old Williams was destined for.

In the 1999 final, the youngster outwitted the veteran in three thrilling sets, 6-3, 3-6, 7-5, after coming back from 4-2 down in the third set. It was the first of so many majors for Serena Williams.

Vesnina v Kuznetsova – 2017

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The all-Russian 2017 final between Elena Vesnina and Svetlana Kuznetsova turned into a three-hour marathon.

Only a year after falling in the first round of qualifying at Indian Wells, Vesnina showed she was much more than a doubles specialist.

The 2016 Olympic gold medallist (doubles) came from a set down to win 6-7 (8-6), 7-5, 6-4 against her compatriot. It remains the biggest title of her career so far.

Clijsters v Lindsay Davenport – 2005

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After being sidelined the previous year with a wrist injury, which would lead to surgery, Kim Clijsters saw off Lindsay Davenport in three sets in the 2005 final.

Davenport came into the final flying after annihilating Maria Sharapova 6-0, 6-0 in the semi-finals – but the Belgian was a different proposition.

Despite nearly falling behind 5-0 in the opening set, Clijsters fought back to win 6-4, 4-6, 6-2.

Halep v Jelena Jankovic – 2015

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Halep won the biggest title of her career to date against the 2010 Indian Wells champion Jankovic in a topsy-turvy physical final.

Jankovic looked in control, being a set and a break to the good. However, in a match where neither player could hold on to their serve resulting in 18 breaks, Halep came roaring back.

It was Halep’s third title of her career as she won 2-6, 7-5, 6-4.

Andreescu v Angelique Kerber – 2019

Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Andreescu’s dream Indian Wells run ended with the wild card ousting three-time Grand Slam champion Angelique Kerber to win the title.

The 18-year-old Canadian, who was ranked outside the top 150 at the start of the year, beat the German 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 to win the biggest title of her career.

The teenager fought back from a break down in the deciding set as well as squandering three match points on serve. Later in 2019, Andreescu would go on to win the US Open.

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Passionate Football fan that completed a NCTJ-accredited Diploma in Multimedia Sports Journalism in 2016.