Date/Time: Thursday 7th March 2019 (Kick-off 1:00 AM CET).
There are a number of bright young talents coming through on the WTA Tour and the highest Ranked teenager on the Tour is Dayana Yastremska. The Ukrainian moved into a career high spot of Number 34 in the World Rankings after winning the title in Hua Hin at the end of January/early February and Yastremska has looked very impressive in the matches she has played.
She is going to be a big favourite to see off Daria Gavrilova in the First Round in Indian Wells as the Australian has made a miserable start to 2019. Daria Gavrilova has lost all six matches she has played on the hard courts and those have largely been uncompetitive losses which always knocks the confidence a lot more.
In those six losses, Gavrilova has only managed to win a single set and even getting this number of games would not have been enough to 'win' any of those matches by covering the handicap. The serve has always been a shot that can be attacked by opponents and her numbers have not really dipped on that front, but Gavrilova has struggled on the return of serve and she is winning a lot fewer points than she has been doing.
At some point I would expect Gavrilova to recover her form and start putting some wins on the board, but this could be a tough match for her. Dayana Yastremska has been serving pretty well for the most part, but she is backing it up with some big returning and my only fear for the Ukrainian is that she gets a little bamboozled by the conditions and begins to make a lot more unforced errors as she struggles to control the ball off the strings.
The speed around the court should help Gavrilova use her defensive skills effectively in this First Round match and confusing the youngster or forcing her to go too close to the lines will give her the chance of the upset. However I do think Yastremska will be able to push the Australian back behind the baseline and I am anticipating her getting into a position to force a number of breaks of serve.
Yastremska has been very strong playing opponents Ranked outside the top 20 so far this season and has won eleven of thirteen in that spot. In those eleven wins Yastremska would have covered this mark eight times and I think she will be in a position to do that here against an out of sorts opponent.