The Indian Well tennis tournament in California, USA, is underway and there is plenty of local interest with six Romanians taking part. Victor Hanescu will compete in the men’s competition, while five Romanians are in the women’s event. With a ranking of 29, Sorana Cirstea is Romania’s highest placed player. Also in the women’s competition Irina-Camelia Begu (53), Simona Halep (56), Monica Niculescu (58) and Alexandera Dulgheru, who is only ranked 491 at the moment but has been as high as number 26 in the world.
The qualifying event is currently underway before the competition proper gets started on March 7. In the first round, Irina-Camelia Begu will play British number one Heather Watson and Simona Halep faces Lauren Davis. Sorana Cirstea got a bye and so progresses directly to round two, while the remaining Romanians will play qualifiers.
Although not one of the Grand Slams, the Indian Wells competition is one of the bigger events on the pro circuit. Unlike many other tournaments it includes a men’s ATP competition and a women’s WTA ranking event. The current venue, The Indian Wells Garden, was built in 2000 at a cost of USD 78 million. It is one of the biggest and, claim the organizers, one of the most impressive venues for tennis in the world. The BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells runs between March 4 and 17 this year, featuring men’s and women’s singles and doubles competitions.