With first round byes for seeds, the draw at Indian Wells hasn’t provided too much in the way of potential thrillers in the early stages of the tournament. However, the night-time clash between Jessica Pegula and Camila Giorgi could be just that if the Italian brings her best tennis.
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Giorgi’s trip to Mexico felt like a microcosm of her career. She won the title in Merida playing some very strong tennis, only to lose in straight sets to Elena Ruse in Monterrey the following week – an opponent ranked outside the top 150 at the time. She eased past Arantxa Rus in her opener here, defeating the Dutchwoman 6-3 6-3 to begin her tournament.
Pegula had seemed like the most obvious pick for who could challenge Iga Swiatek in 2023 but that hype has died down a little following her recent results. She was one of Barbora Krejcikova’s victims during the Czech’s shock title run in Dubai, losing a wild one with an uncharacteristic 6-1 5-7 6-0 scoreline. The American is still solidly a top 5 player and can be trusted against opponents undoubtedly considered as way below her level. She had not lost to a player outside the top 40 since Washington last year and all twelve coming against present or previous top five players.
Pegula does lead the head-to-head 6-2 and has won the last three but their 2022 clashes were close with Giorgi in better form and moving up in the rankings. Both of them ended 7-5 in the third, showing that the Italian does have the power to hang around in this match but consistency is always going to be the issue for her.
Prediction – Jessica Pegula in three sets
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