US Open champion Emma Raducanu ready to return to action at Indian Wells
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Emma Raducanu is back in action this week at Indian Wells for the first time since winning the US Open last month and she may have one eye on season-ending WTA Finals in November. The 18-year-old’s whirlwind success has propelled her up the WTA rankings and is likely to rise further this month with a strong showing at Indian Wells.
A host of the top-ranked players competing at Indian Wells must perform with the likes of Bianca Andreescu and Angelique Kerber having reached the final two years ago.
They will both be defending huge points, along with Belinda Bencic and Elina Svitolina.
Meanwhile, Naomi Osaka and Ashleigh Barty both withdrew from this month’s Indian Wells, casting doubts on whether they’ll be fit to compete at the WTA Finals in Mexico.
Only the top eight players in the world qualify for the WTA Finals with Raducanu currently 15th in the Race to Mexico.
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But the British teen sensation is only 500 points behind Osaka, who currently sits in eighth.
Given the fact Raducanu was not even on the tour two years ago, she can pick up a bunch of points at Indian Wells this month.
And it’s clear that Raducanu has the WTA Finals in her sights after filling out her schedule for the remainder of the season.
Following Indian Wells, Raducanu has entered the Kremlin Cup, the Transylvania Open and the Linz Open.
However, a strong run in Indian Wells may well put her participation in the Kremlin Cup in doubt given the tournament starts just one day after the final in California.
The Linz Open may also be taken off Raducanu’s schedule should she qualify for the WTA Finals as they clash on the calendar.
If Raducanu was to go all the way and win Indian Wells, she would move up to fifth in the WTA rankings.
Even reaching the second week would give Raducanu a strong position to climb up the rankings even further.
The No 17 seed was given a bye in the first round and begins her tournament on Friday against Aliaksandra Sasnovich.
But she faces a potentially tricky test in the second round with Simona Halep on her side of the draw.
That would then be followed up a possible match against Petra Kvitova or Victoria Azarenka.
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