Sunday, March 20, 2016
Serena Williams is in her first final at the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells since 2002, primarily since she refused to attend the tournament for the years 2003-2014, famously coming back in 2015 (and retired before her semifinal match). Serena beat the new #2 player in the world, Aga Radwanska in an entertaining match on Friday night, 6-4 7-6(1) an earlier in the tournament dominated the former World #2 Simona Halep in the quarters. She will face what most people think is her primary rival, Vika Azarenka, in today's final (despite Serena's 17-3 overall head-to-head lead). Serena and Azarenka played some of the best women's tennis matches in 2015 (3 times) but Serena prevailed all three times they played last year. In fact, Vika hasn't beaten Serena since she won a 3rd set tiebreak in the 2013 Cincy Open final.
Vika has gotten her ranking up to #15 and will soon be back in the Top 10 where she definitely belongs. Serena is looking to reinforce her dominance after her surprising loss to Angie Kerber in the 2016 Aussie Open final and make new records, which she would do by becoming the first female player to win this tournament 3 times.
MadProfessah's pick: Serena.