World number one Serena Williams is set to feature in the Indian Wells when the WTA event begins from March 9-19.
The 2017 Australian Open champion would be lining up against a host of stars but she is clearly the favourite to lift the title. The California desert would be the centre of attraction for the Premier Mandatory event.
The 35-year old would be having a go at the tournament after five weeks when she won in Australia. Her technical and emotional balance works to her advantage, and she would be hoping to make a mark. She boycotted the tournament for over a decade before returning in 2015. She reached the final but lost to an impressive Victoria Azarenka in 2016. She won the singles title in January, beating her sister Venus but she has not played since.
Williams would face serious competition in the hands of Angelique Kerber – world number two. The former number one is keen on retaining her spot. She crashed out of the Australian Open in the fourth round courtesy of Coco Vandeweghe. She lost in the first round in Doha and Sydney aside losing to Elina Svitolina in the last four in Dubai Duty Free Championships. She is not in her best form but she is still a major force going into the tournament.
Karolina Pliskova, the third seed, is more like the competition for Serena. She won the tournaments in Brisbane and Doha this year, including defeating players in the top ten – Garbine Muguruza and Dominika Cibulkova.
Cibulkova is the fifth seed, one below Simona Halep. Both players might go far but are not expected to cause major upset. Agnieszka Radwanska is the sixth seed, Muguruza is the seventh while Svetlana Kuznetsova, 31, is the eighth seed.