After an exciting week at Indian Wells, the WTA Tour shifts to Florida for the 38th Miami Open. In this article, we shall delve into the list of favorites, players to watch, and dark horses to win the most prestigious WTA tournament outside the four Slams.
The Miami Open is the third WTA 1000 event of the season. Along with the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, the Miami Open is a joint ATP/WTA tournament where the men’s and women’s tournaments will be going on at the same time.
The Open features a 96-player singles draw and 32-team doubles draw where the singles winner will take home $1.26 million and 1,000 standings points while the runner-up will win $662,360 and earn 650 standings points.
Last year, Poland’s Iga Swiatek defeated Naomi Osaka 6-4, 6-0 to win her third consecutive WTA 1000 of the season and extend her win streak to 17 matches. She also became the youngest woman to complete the Sunshine Double, winning Indian Wells and Miami back-to-back. Swiatek rose to the number one ranking in the world after Miami.
She’s back this year as the top seed but was just recently stunned by Elena Rybakina in the semi-finals of Indian Wells, so there will be no Sunshine Double this year. Rybakina went on to beat Aryna Sabalenka in the Finals to beat Indian Wells and will come into the Miami Open as the 10th seed.
The full schedule of the Miami Open is:
- Qualifying – March 20-21, 2023
- Round 1 – March 21-22, 2023
- Round 2 – March 23, 2023
- Round 3 – March 25, 2023
- Round 4 – March 27, 2023
- Quarterfinal – March 29, 2023
- Semifinal – March 31, 2023
- Final – April 2, 2023
How to Watch the Miami Open:
Odds to win Indian Wells:
Iga Swiatek (+175)
Aryna Sabalenka (+700)
Elena Rybakina (+900)
Jessica Pegula (+1100)
Barbora Krejcikova (+1200)
Coco Gauff (+2000)
Belinda Bencic (+2200)
Maria Sakkari (+2800)
Best Bets for Indian Wells:
Jessica Pegula (+1100) to win the tournament
Iga Swiatek (+175) is the easy bet since she’s clearly the favorite at the Miami Open, but she also admitted that she wasn’t playing at 100% during Indian Wells because of a rib injury. If she’s not at 100% or even has to withdraw from this tournament, then it makes better on her an extremely risky proposition. I might need to see her fitness in her first-round match before I can do that.
If Swiatek is not 100% healthy then it opens up the door for American Jessica Pegula. The Buffalo native is 15-5 to start 2023 and has reached the quarterfinals or better in three WTA tournaments this year. In her one chance to win a title, she was defeated in a straight-sets beatdown by Swiatek in the Doha final, but she has a good draw and finds herself on Swiatek’s side of the bracket, so if the Pole isn’t healthy, a trip to the finals could be in the cards.
Aryna Sabalenka (+700) to win the tournament
Sabalenka just marched to the finals of Indian Wells and while she wasn’t able to pull it out, she’s clearly playing good tennis. As the second seed at the Miami Open, she would also benefit from a less-than-healthy Swiatek. Like Pegula, she is playing tremendous tennis so far this year, going 17-2 so you’d be backing an in-form player.
She also has a friendly draw at the Miami Open with a likely fourth-round match against Madison Keys and then a quarterfinal showdown with Caroline Garcia. It makes for an enticing path to the semifinals where anything can happen, but I like these odds for her.
Belinda Bencic (+2200) to win the tournament
Belinda Bencic lost to her countrywoman and doubles partner Jil Teichmann on her birthday in Indian Wells, which probably led to some awkward conversations over the weekend, but Bencic is playing strong tennis to start 2023, going 15-4
She reached the semis in Miami last season and is set up with a pretty favorable draw since she’d see inconsistent Maria Sakkari in the fourth round and then Ons Jabeur, who is much more comfortable on grass, in the quarterfinals. A likely showdown with Sabalenka in the semifinals could be a stiff test, but if you’re getting +2200 odds on a player who has a good path to being one of the four final players in the Miami Open, it’s an enticing proposition.
Petra Kvitova (TBD) to win her quarter
Another longshot bet who has good odds at the Miami Open is the veteran Petra Kvitova. While I’m not sure we can take +10000 to win the tournament, I would try to find odds on her to win her quarter, which features Donna Vekic, Jabeur, and Bencic. I’d expect Kvitova to face Bencic in the quarterfinals, but the 33-year-old Kvitova has won some big matches this year, including beating Pegula in the fourth round of Indian Wells, so she won’t shy away from the pressure.