Williams and Osaka Falter at Indian Wells
Hasn’t been a good week for two women that should be contending for every big tournament on the calendar. Serena, after a good outing against Azarenka, had to retire due to illness in the next match. Now Osaka has fallen to a tough and fit looking Bencic. Out of the two women, I have no doubt Serena is in the right frame of mind and looks super fit and dangerous. That’s not how I see Osaka right now. Although Bencic is rising and a super quality opponent, Osaka got completely handled by her. Osaka was on the wrong end of every baseline exchange. Osaka had no depth, no answers to Bencic’s groundstrokes.
Could it be that the coaching change was the wrong move for Osaka? She hasn’t necessarily been stellar since the she parted ways with 2018 coach of the year Sascha Bajin after the Australian Open. She looked dominant on her way to her second Grand Slam. Yet, she immediately parted ways with Bajin, then shows up in Dubai and loses her first match easily against Mladenovic. Now she shows up at Indian Wells, and when is shown a quality top 10 player like Bencic, she easily folds. Let’s see how she looks in Miami, but I think she’s got some reflecting to do. She didn’t look very sharp at all.
In the meantime, I’m expecting Serena, who at this point in her career doesn’t lose unless someone truly takes it from her, to go to Miami and get pretty deep into that draw. Also, don’t expect her to run into Simona Halep at Miami. I predict Halep will lose early again in Miami. Her game is not built for hard courts – I’m sorry to say. And with the departure of Darren Cahill, it looks like she’s a bit vulnerable out there.
So who’s left? Well, maybe Svitolina takes the entire tournament! She’ll need to get past Bencic though.