- Simona Halep – She has a title in Indian Wells and a semifinalist result in Miami to defend. Her start has been difficult to comprehend. She hired Darren Cahill as her coach, decided to have nasal surgery, cancelled her nasal surgery to play Fed Cup and the Middle East swing. Her record is 3-5. A few of her losses are head scratchers. She lost to Shuai Zhang in Dubai and Elena Vesnina after leading by a set and double break, twice.
- Petra Kvitova – Coachless after splitting with longtime coach David Kotyza, Kvitova is currently at her inconsistent best, which usually means that she will probably walk away with either the Indian Wells or Miami title.
- Caroline Wozniacki – She is normally a slow starter but this year there is cause for concern. Her losses this year have been to Sloane Stephens, Yulia Putintseva, Dominika Cibulkova, Vesnina and Heather Watson. Her ranking is on the downside of 20. Her last big tournament win was at Indian Wells in 2011.
- Timea Bacsinszky – Last season Bacsinszky came back from injury and announced herself as a serious contender by winning back to back titles in Mexico. She made the semifinals of the French Open where she took a set off the eventual champion Serena Williams. Since then Bacsinszky has all but faded from the consciousness of tennis fans. After finishing near the Top 10, her ranking has plummeted to 21 as her record is 3-6. Last year, she won the Queen of Mexico crown winning Acapulco and Monterrey. She could not defend those titles as she is subject to the Roadmap by being at the top as Venus Williams took the veteran exception and Flavia Pennetta retired.
- Sloane Stephens – I never thought I would ever type this but Sloane Stephens has more titles this year than many players in the top 10. She has won two titles so far this year but both have been on the International along with her maiden title in 2015. Can she continue to produce success on the Premier level? Sloane has not really performed well in the big events (first round at the Australian Open) but she is in her backyard now so it remains to be seen how she plays on a big stage.
The draw for this year’s Indian Wells tournament can be found here. There will be no WTA Draw Challenge for Indian Wells as noted by the WTA Insider. We can only hope that the Draw Challenge will return during the clay season.