Muguruza’s sophomore jinx and Nadal ready for Verdasco

Do seedings really matter in women’s tennis? This week at Indian Wells, only 16 of the 32 seeds managed to reach the third round after all 32 were given first-round byes.

WTA seed cull Do seedings really matter in women's tennis? This week at Indian Wells, only 16 of the 32 seeds managed to reach the third round after all 32 were given first-round byes.

Last month at Dubai, all eight seeds went out of the tournament without winning a match, while in Doha the top two seeds – Angelique Kerber and Simona Halep – crashed out without winning a match, and only four of the 16 seeds reached the last eight. So, how about having a tournament without any seedings? Could be interesting.

Gaby's sophomore slump? Are we seeing Garbine Muguruza's 2016 going the same route as Eugenie Bouchard's 2015? Starting the year at No 7 in the rankings, Bouchard lost her opening match at eight of the 18 tournaments she played in 2015, including the French Open and Wimbledon, and was ranked No 49 in the year's final week. Muguruza, who started the year at No 3, has lost her opening match in Dubai and Indian Wells, and has yet to win three matches on the trot this year. Hoping she can avoid the sophomore slump.

Also from Ahmed Rizvi:

Nadal-Verdasco renew rivalry Friends for about 17 years, Rafael Nadal and Fernando Verdasco have developed an interesting rivalry in recent times. The two Spaniards have met 17 times since their first clash on the ATP Tour in 2005, and Nadal leads the head-to-head 14-3 thanks to his 13 wins on the trot at the start, only three of which went to the decider. Verdasco, however, has won three of the last four, including their first round clash at the Australian Open in January. They are now set to meet for a second time in 2016, in the third round at Indian Wells, and Nadal will be looking for revenge.

Santina's failed bid Coming together for the first time at Indian Wells in 2015, Martina Hingis and Sania Mirza have been the dominant on the women's tour over the past 12 months, winning 12 titles, including the last three grand slams and the 2015 Year Ending championship. Santina's bid to defend their Indian Wells title, however, has ended in the second round with Vania King and Alla Kudryavtseva taking the match 7-6, 6-4. This was the first straight-sets loss for the Indo-Swiss pair since the Toronto semi-final defeat to Caroline Garcia and Katarina Srebotnik last August.

arizvi@thenational.ae

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