Konta expected to deliver the goods in desert bash
Opportunity is knocking for 16-1 Brit
Live on BT Sport, 7pm Wednesday
Johanna Konta was silenced by Serena Williams in the Australian Open, but the Briton should be able to get closer to the world number one if she keeps on chipping away at her and is worth an interest for the BNP Paribas Open.
The weather can be a major factor in Indian Wells, where the wind can get up in the Coachella Valley. But the forecast, at least until tomorrow week, is for dry, mostly bright weather with winds staying light to moderate.
Konta should not be unduly concerned by winds of up to 12mph and she has a fine chance of reaching the semi-finals at least on her first WTA Tour appearance since losing to Serena in the Melbourne quarter-finals.
There could be also value in Serena, who found only Victoria Azarenka too good at the Tennis Garden last year. But the American came up short in Indian Wells in the last two years and may be no certainty to put things right on this occasion.
Catherine Bellis, who took a giant step forward in Dubai recently, could pose problems for Garbine Muguruza. The 17-year-old from San Francisco can be backed to post a quick win over Kirsten Flipkens in their opener.
In the bottom half of the draw, second seed Angelique Kerber could make her presence felt, as could third seed Karolina Pliskova. But Pliskova went all the way in Doha last month and this may come a little soon after that triumph, hence the advice to chance Konta.
Caroline Wozniacki looks a danger to anyone in her current positive mood, too, and the former world number one could also trouble Pliskova.
The early 33-1 Betfred were quoting about Dominika Cibulkova did not last long and the fifth seed could be a danger with Madison Keys only just returning from a wrist injury and Simona Halep seldom one to trust. Kiki Mladenovic could be the chief danger in the third quarter to Cibulkova.
Coco Vandeweghe and Ana Konjuh could figure in the fourth quarter should Venus come up short.
1pt 16-1 general
C Bellis to beat K Flipkens 2-0
1pt Evs Coral
ATP & WTA BNP Paribas Open lowdown
Venue Tennis Garden, Indian Wells, California
Prize money The men’s and women’s singles each have a total purse of $7,699,423 with $1,175,505 going to each winner
Category – men Masters 1,000 (1,000 ranking points to winner) women Premier Mandatory (1,000 ranking points to winner)
Surface Outdoor Plexipave hard courts Ball Penn
When to bet – women Starts 7pm today men Starts 7pm tomorrow
Where to watch – men Live on Sky Sports from Saturday women Daily live coverage on BT Sport
Weather forecast Dry and sunny at least until tomorrow week. High temperature 34C. Winds 7-12mph
Time difference Indian Wells is eight hours behind the UK and Ireland