Previewing the Indian Wells Women's Draw and Favorites with INSIGHTS

Previewing the Indian Wells Women's Draw and Favorites with INSIGHTS

5 min read

The main draw of the 2022 BNP Paribas Open is kicking off Wednesday in Palm Springs, Calif., and there’s already been a big draw shakeup. If it feels like players were just battling it out in the sun-drenched Californian desert, that’s because they were: The joint ATP and WTA 1000 shifted to October in 2021. Now, the tournament is back in its rightful home in early March.

Universal Tennis INSIGHTS is helping us break down the draw to uncover favorites, dark horses, and any possible surprises. All Top 32 seeds have a bye, with the women's first-round matches starting on Wednesday and the men's on Thursday.

The Favorites

Top-seeded Barbora Krejcikova (UTR Rating 13.00) withdrew on Tuesday and has been replaced at the very top of the draw with Alize Cornet (12.74). In January, Cornet memorably reached her first major quarterfinal in Melbourne in her 60th consecutive Grand Slam appearance, but, per INSIGHTS, she isn’t expected to go deep this week.

The INSIGHTS Tournament Odds Favorites

Anett Kontaveit — 12%

Paula Badosa — 9%

Simona Halep — 7%

Igia Swiatek — 7%

Maria Sakkari — 7%

Ons Jabeur — 6%

Victoria Azarenka — 6%

Angelique Kerber — 5%

Instead, the tournament favorite is No. 4 seed Anett Kontaveit (13.31). The Estonian bounced back from an early loss Down Under to win St. Petersburg and reach the final in Doha. According to INSIGHTS, she has the best odds of winning her first Indian Wells title, at 12%. Notably, her WTA ranking is No. 5 but Universal Tennis pro ranking is No. 2 (based on UTR Rating).



Kontaveit is followed closely by Paula Badosa (13.18) in the INSIGHTS tournament favorites circle. Badosa won the BNP Paribas Open in October for her biggest career trophy and has rocketed up the rankings. She has a 9% chance of defending her title. She could have a challenge early on, facing either Jelena Ostapenko or Leylah Fernandez in the round of 16.

Other notable favorites with 7% odds are Simona Halep, Iga Swiatek, and Maria Sakkari. Halep is in the top quarter and could take advantage of Krejcikova’s absence, while Swiatek has a well-paved road ahead with the highest seed in her quarter being No. 8-seeded Garbine Muguruza (12.89). She’s fresh off her first hard-court WTA 1000 victory in Doha and is at a career-high WTA ranking of No. 4.

The Dark Horses

In terms of seeded players, who might make a push for victory? That role belongs to Victoria Azarenka (13.14), the defending finalist. She’s seeded No. 13 and landed in the same bottom quarter as No. 2 seed Aryna Sabalenka (13.05). Azarenka has thrived in the desert in the past, winning the title three times.



Another former Indian Wells champion, Naomi Osaka (13.01), has her hands full in the first round but is also a noteworthy INSIGHTS dark horse. Osaka will take on 2017 US Open champion Sloane Stephens (12.53) on Thursday and her chances of beating the American are a respectable 78% despite the fact that Osaka hasn’t played since the Australian Open.

While Osaka's WTA ranking has slipped all the way to No. 78, her UTR Rating-based pro ranking is No. 17. Stephens started her year by getting married to Jozy Altidore and just won her seventh career title in Guadalajara.

Naomi Osaka won the Indian Wells title in 2018. (AP Photo/Simon Baker)

Possible Surprises

And as for a surprising longshot, there’s unseeded Jil Teichmann (12.72) with a 30% chance of upsetting No. 7 seed Karolina Pliskova (13.02) in the second round (if she wins her opener, that is). The 24-year-old Swiss has won two WTA titles but is making just her second main-draw appearance in Palm Springs.

Granted entry via wild card, American Katie Volynets (11.91) is the only female in the draw with UTR Pro Tennis Tour experience. She opens against Arantxa Rus on Wednesday and has a 28% chance of moving onto the second round.


Stay tuned for more from INSIGHTS, and to learn more about Universal Tennis, click here.

•UTR Ratings and INSIGHTS probabilities as of 9 a.m. EST, March. 9, 2022.

Back to blog