Venus Williams vs Carla Suarez Navarro WTA Indian Wells tennis preview, predictions and tips: Williams targets sixth win over Suarez Navarro in quarter-finals

Andrew Hendrie in WTA 15 Mar 2018
  • Venus Williams vs Carla Suarez Navarro is live from Indian Wells not before 5.00pm local time on Thursday (12.00am GMT, Friday)
  • Williams lead their head-to-head 5-3 and has won their last three meetings
  • Watch and bet on tennis live from Indian Wells online at Unibet > live streaming > tennis
Venus Williams (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

Venus Williams continues her quest for a first WTA title in over two years when she takes on Carla Suarez Navarro for the ninth time in the BNP Paribas Open quarter-finals in Indian Wells on Thursday.

Watch and bet on Williams vs Suarez Navarro live from Indian Wells online at Unibet > live streaming > tennis. Their quarter-final begins not before 5.00pm local time on Thursday (12.00am GMT, Friday).

Eighth seed Venus Williams has sailed into the Premier Mandatory BNP Paribas Open quarter-finals without dropping a set - can the seven-time Grand Slam champion reach a first semi-final in Indian Wells since 2001 as she faces Carla Suarez Navarro on Thursday? Williams, still title-less since a February 2016 triumph at the lowly WTA International Kaohsiung event, has been improving with every match this week in the desert, and she will need to raise her level again for the challenge of Suarez Navarro, who is into her second Indian Wells quarter-final after conquering World No. 4 Elina Svitolina. Williams and Suarez Navarro take to court not before 5.00pm local time on Thursday (12.00am GMT, Friday).

Arriving at the BNP Paribas Open without a win on the WTA Tour this season, Williams has been able to produce some great tennis in the desert in making her way to the quarter-finals. Sorana Cirstea was a very tough draw in her opening match, but Williams was able to subdue the powerful Romanian and come away with a straight sets win. Next came the big one - sister Serena, making her long-awaited comeback after 14 months on the sidelines, but Williams was able to handle the occasion with aplomb, claiming her first win over Serena since 2014 and her first straight sets triumph over the 23-time Grand Slam champion since 2009. With all of the euphoria and emotions of that match still circulating around the tennis world, Williams did a fantastic job of pushing it all to the side as she squared off against Anastasija Sevastova in the Round of 16, coming from a break down in both sets as she emerged a 7-6(6) 6-4 winner to reach the quarter-finals.

“It was not an easy match to figure out,” Venus said in her on-court interview. “She has everything in her game. And it was a quick comeback from yesterday, where you have the emotions of, ‘Hey, this feels like a final! But guess what, you’re only in the fourth round.’”

Sometimes you have to take a step back and acknowledge that Williams is still among the leading figures in women’s tennis just three months shy of her 38th birthday. Obviously Williams isn’t going to play a full schedule anymore - if she did I’d have no doubt she would have picked up a title somewhere along the line over the last two years - but the events she did play in 2017, she almost always advanced to the latter stages.


Williams made two more major finals at the Australian Open and Wimbledon ((losing to Serena and Garbine Muguruza respectively), along with the season-ending WTA Finals Singapore, where she went down to Caroline Wozniacki. Williams also reached the semi-finals of the U.S. Open and Miami Open and the quarter-finals of Rome. It’s remarkably consistency for the veteran, especially in the unpredictable and wide-open WTA field that is littered with perhaps unprecedented levels of depth. Williams undisputedly deserves another title - will it come in the desert? First up she needs to deal with an in-form Spanish rival.

Carla Suarez Navarro (Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images)
Carla Suarez Navarro has been gradually working her way back up the rankings after injury sidelined for the start of the 2017 season - and the diminutive Spaniard with the beautiful one-handed backhand has taken her game to the sort of heights that saw her crack the top 10 a couple of years ago.

Suarez Navarro won the biggest title of her career at the Qatar Total Open in Doha in 2016, hitting her career-high ranking of No. 6 as a result, while she also made semi-finals in Birmingham and Linz, quarter-finals in Stuttgart and Cincinnati and the Round of 16 at the U.S. Open, French Open and Olympics to finish the season at a very respectable No. 12. However, a back injury surfaced in the off-season, restricting Suarez Navarro to just one tournament in the opening two months of 2017 - a second round loss at the Australian Open.

The 29-year-old couldn’t really get going for the rest of the year, although she did register some solid results in reaching the semi-finals of Monterrey and Bucharest, along with making the Round of 16 at the French Open and U.S. Open, the latter of which she lost in three sets to Venus. But after an opening round exit in Brisbane to Elina Svitolina and a shock loss in qualifying to Kristie Ahn in Sydney, Suarez Navarro has been in good form, beating the Estonian powerhouses Kaia Kanepi and Anett Kontaveit to reach the Australian Open quarter-finals - taking a set off eventual champion Caroline Wozniacki before falling in three - while after second round exits in Doha and Dubai, the Spaniard avenged her Brisbane loss to Svitolina by beating the World No. 5 in straight sets in the third round. A 6-2 6-4 victory over wildcard Danielle Collins propelled her into the Indian Wells quarter-finals for the second time.

Williams has won five of their eight previous meetings, including the last three, but Suarez Navarro has enjoyed success in the past with her crafty game and sublime one-handed backhand. I still remember how well she played in their first encounter all the way back in the Australian Open second round, and although Williams has had the better of their head-to-head since, Suarez Navarro is always a tricky competitor to overcome. Williams hasn’t dropped a set yet, but Suarez Navarro will force her into more uncomfortable positions in the court than her last three opponents, and I think the American will take some time to adjust. I still think Williams will prevail, but this could be her biggest test so far.



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Venus Williams vs Carla Suarez Navarro WTA Indian Wells tennis preview, predictions and tips: Williams targets sixth win over Suarez Navarro in quarter-finals

Venus Williams continues her quest for a first WTA title in over two years when she takes on Carla Suarez Navarro for the ninth time in the BNP Paribas Open quarter-finals in Indian Wells on Thursday.

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