Simona Halep vs Petra Martic WTA Indian Wells tennis preview, predictions and tips: Top seed Halep takes on first-time Indian Wells quarter-finalist Martic

Andrew Hendrie in WTA 14 Mar 2018
  • Simona Halep vs Petra Martic is live from Indian Wells not before 1.00pm local time on Wednesday (8.00pm GMT)
  • Head-to-head locked at 1-1
  • Watch and bet on tennis live from Indian Wells at Unibet > live streaming > tennis
Simona Halep (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

World No. 1 Simona Halep targets a place in the BNP Paribas Open semi-finals for the third time when she takes on the unseeded Petra Martic in the quarter-finals in Indian Wells on Wednesday.

Watch and bet on Halep vs Martic live from Indian Wells online at Unibet > live streaming > tennis. Their quarter-final clash begins not before 1.00pm local time on Wednesday (8.00pm GMT).

Simona Halep won the biggest title of her career at Indian Wells in 2015 - can the World No. 1 repeat the feat this week in the Californian desert? Halep has been tested this week but has dug deep to move into the quarter-finals, where she will play Petra Martic - the resurgent Croatian who before this week had won only one main draw match in her career at the BNP Paribas Open. Both players won their fourth round matches in straight set, but one one can roll on into the final four. Halep and Martic take to court not before 1.00pm local time on Wednesday (8.00pm GMT).

After surviving a mammoth battle against the rising and hard-hitting Caroline Dolehide in her third round match, Halep was able to register a straight sets victory in the Round of 16 on Tuesday - but once again, she didn’t have it all her own way. Both consistent hitters from the baseline, Halep was made to work extremely hard during a tough first set against Wang Qiang, with the pair trading breaks before the World No. 1 was able to edge it 7-5. on her fourth set point. From there Halep grew in confidence and was more aggressive from the baseline as she ultimately cruised through the second set 6-1 to reach the Indian Wells quarter-finals for the fourth time.

Halep has already gone two rounds further in Indian Wells than last season when she went down to Kristina Mladenovic in the third round, with the Romanian looking to replicate her title triumph in 2015, where she beat the likes of Daria Gavrilova, Varvara Lepchenko, Karolina Pliskova, Carla Suarez Navarro and Jelena Jankovic (she also received a walkover from Serena Williams in the semi-finals) to take home the silverware. Halep also made the semi-finals in 2014, losing to Agnieszka Radwanska, and the quarter-finals in 2016, falling to Serena Williams, so the Romanian obviously likes playing in the desert on these slow hardcourts.


Playing the best sustained tennis of her career at the moment, Halep is now 17-1 to start the season. After a tough finish to 2017 results-wise, including losing to Maria Sharapova in the first round of the U.S. Open, falling in the first round of Wuhan and crashing out in the round robin stage of the WTA Finals Singapore (although she did pick up the No. 1 ranking by making the final of Beijing), Halep has been outstanding in 2018, starting the year by winning her 16th WTA title in Shenzhen and backing that up by advancing to her first Australian Open final, beating the likes of Eugenie Bouchard, Lauren Davis, Naomi Osaka, Karolina Pliskova and Angelique Kerber along the way, with two of them (Davis and Kerber) going deep into the third set. Ultimately Caroline Wozniacki proved too strong as the Dane took home the title and the No. 1 ranking in the final, but Halep was able to reclaim top spot before Indian Wells after reaching the semi-finals in Doha before withdrawing with her foot problem as Wozniacki failed to defend her points both there and in Dubai.

Petra Martic (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Meanwhile, Petra Martic’s story is quite simply amazing. This time last year the Croatian was ranked at No. 633 in the world after spending an extended period of time on the sidelines over the last few years with injury, most notably for 10 months between 2016 and 2017 as she struggled with a back problem. However, fast forward 12 months and Martic will almost certainly improve her career-high ranking of No. 42 (achieved back in 2012) by making her first quarter-final at Indian Wells (she’s currently projected to rise to No. 40 in the live rankings).

Martic’s resurgence began at the lower-tier ITF circuit as she picked up the $25k ITF title at Santa Margherita Di Pula and also made back-to-back semi-finals in Santa Margherita and Tunis, and finished runner-up at the $25k event in Wiesbaden. Her ranking climbed to No. 327 as a result, but it was her consistent performances in the following Grand Slams that really impressed, with Martic entering the French Open in qualifying on a protected ranking and going on to reach the Round 16 with wins over Madison Keys and Anastasija Sevastova. Martic repeated that effort at Wimbledon, once again coming through qualifying and beating Daria Gavrilova along the way as she made the fourth round once more, with that result propelling her back inside the top 100.

Martic only played four more events for the rest of 2017, but she’s already continued her incredible form into the early stages of 2018, once again making the fourth round of a Grand Slam at the Australian Open, while she scored her first top 10 win since 2012 earlier this week in Indian Wells when she took down French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko. A 6-3 7-6(4) win over rising star Marketa Vondrousova on Tuesday saw Martic advance into her first Indian Wells quarter-final.

The pair have played twice before, with Martic winning a second round match in Copenhagen all the way back in 2011 before Halep prevailed in the first round of Guangzhou in 2015. Both players are much better players now, making this a really interesting match-up. Halep handles pressure so much better now and doesn’t panic as much on court when things aren’t going her way, while Martic is playing with nothing to lose and has proven to be a top 20 level player in big tournaments over the last year or so. Martic has made the quarter-finals without dropping a set, but a confident Halep is a big step up in class - I think the Romanian takes this in straights.


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Simona Halep vs Petra Martic WTA Indian Wells tennis preview, predictions and tips: Top seed Halep takes on first-time Indian Wells quarter-finalist Martic

World No. 1 Simona Halep targets a place in the BNP Paribas Open semi-finals for the third time when she takes on the unseeded Petra Martic in the quarter-finals in Indian Wells on Wednesday.

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