Indian Wells always shows up for doubles and 2023 will be no different.
The men’s and women’s doubles draws will begin Thursday. Typically, you’ll see the usual top doubles pairings at this Masters 1000 event, but what makes Indian Wells special is the singles stars who enter the draw and bring even bigger crowds to the doubles court.
Below I’ll preview the men’s and women’s draw with matchups to watch, seeds, dark horses, and my picks for each section as well as the tournament champions.
ATP Doubles Draw Preview for Indian Wells
The men’s doubles side has seen consistency from several teams over the last few seasons but there are new teams in 2023 that have potential, as well as some singles stars that could make a deep run in the desert.
In doubles, the seeds can be a bit misleading since singles players may not always play doubles and players might team up with different partners. Regardless, it’s a good place to start.
Here are the top 8 seeds in the men’s doubles draw at Indian Wells 2023.
- Wesley Koolhof & Neal Skupski
- Rajeev Ram & Joe Salisbury
- Marcelo Arevalo & Jean-Julien Rojer
- Nikola Mektic & Mate Pavic
- Marcel Granollers & Horacio Zeballos
- Lloyd Glaspool & Harri Heliovaara
- Hugo Nys & Jan Zielinski
- Juan Sebastian Cabal & Robert Farah
For all the reasons mentioned above, plus the nature of no-ad and 10-point match tiebreaks, I’d be shocked if more than 5 or 6 of these 8 seeds were in the quarterfinal.
ATP Indian Wells Doubles Top Half Preview
The top section is loaded with veteran doubles teams and singles stars. There are zero easy matchups in this half for any team so don’t be surprised if you see early upsets.
The favorites in this half are the top seeds, (1) Koolhof and Skupski, but I certainly wouldn’t pick them over the field. Their first-round matchup alone, against doubles vet Marcelo Melo and singles major finalist Alexander Zverev, is certainly no gimme. Zverev can serve you off the court in doubles and Melo is a savvy player who will know how to coach Zverev up.
Other doubles standouts include (6) Granollers and Zeballos who have a not-so-easy first round themselves against the Dallas Open Champions, Jamie Murray and Michael Venus, who have both won doubles majors, although not together.
The next seed in this half, (4) Mektic and Pavic, open up against two other singles stars Casper Ruud and Dominic Thiem. The Croatians seem to have leveled the ship a bit in the last six months after a very rocky start during the first half of last year, but nowhere near the level they were in 2021.
They also have Nate Lammons and Jackson Withrow or Santiago Gonzalez and Edouard Roger-Vasselin as potential second round matchups. The first pair has already made three finals this year (0-3). The second duo were the 2022 BNP Paribas Open Finalists and had a solid February. Not an easy section…
At the bottom of this top half is (5) Glasspool and Heliovaara, a team that has steadily improved over the last few years and made their first ATP Finals last fall. They already have one title this year in Adelaide and a final last week in Dubai.
There are no easy paths to the quarters, but if I had to pick one, I think the 5th seeds have the edge with mostly singles players, none of whom are particularly known for their doubles, in the first two rounds.
Will’s top half ATP picks
- Must Watch Round 1: Murray/Venus vs (6) Granollers/Zeballos – Two lefty-righty combos with all the doubles talent, skills, and smarts that doubles fans can ask for. It doesn’t get much better.
- Darkhorse team: Nate Lammons & Jackson Withrow – It’s crazy that they needed a wild card to get in considering they’ve been one of the better teams so far this year. They’re still seeking a significant result in a big tournament though.
- The all-singles, doubles team to watch out for: Taylor Fritz & Tommy Paul – Fritz won the singles title last year and Paul is clearly in form after his AO and Acapulco runs. Paul is also an experienced doubles player who can win a match on returns and baseline play.
- My pick: (5) Lloyd Glasspool & Harri Heliovaara – There are only 5 of 16 teams in this half I don’t see making a deep run. That leaves 9 teams that could make the final, so your guess is as good as mine. I think Glasspool and Heliovaara have been the most consistent(ish) this season.
- Another team who could make a run: Dan Evans and John Peers – They made the final in Canada last year and played several tournaments in the fall. Peers won Indian Wells alongside Filip Polasek in 2021.
I didn’t even mention Tiafoe/Wawrinka, Bautista Agut/Carreno Busta, Giron/Wolf, or Sinner/Sonego, all singles standouts who will draw crowds, but I don’t expect to win more than one or two rounds.
ATP Indian Wells Doubles Bottom Half Preview
The bottom half has a little less singles and a little more doubles. I see fewer teams in this half with a chance to make the final, but it’s still very much up for grabs.
The top of this half has (8) Cabal and Farah who open up against Fognini and Bolelli. Fogs and Bole won in Argentina last month but have had a rough year otherwise. That said, they’ve been a consistent top 10 team the past several years. This is basically an ATP 500 final in round 1. Brutal.
The Australian Dream Team of Rinky Hijikata and Jason Kubler are teaming up for the first time since their AO title a few months ago. Hijikata also made the final in Delray with Reese Stalder.
2022 Roland Garros champions, (3) Arevalo and Rojer, take on defending champions John Isner and Jack Sock. This is basically an ATP 1000 final in round 1. Super brutal.
The Australian Open finalists (7) Nys and Zielinski drew a dangerous round 1 vs Lucas Miedler, who has played some excellent doubles so far this year including winning the title in Acapulco, and Cam Norrie, coming off a singles title in Rio. Remember, Cam also won the singles title in the desert in 2021. The seven seeds are only 1-3 since their final in Melbourne.
At the bottom of the draw, (2) Ram and Salisbury play Hurkacz and Dimitrov first round with a potential second round against Bopanna and Ebden who made back-to-back finals in February, winning in Doha.
Will’s bottom half ATP picks
- Must Watch Round 1: Isner/Sock vs (3)Arevalo/Rojer – If explanation is needed, seek help immediately.
- Darkhorse team: Simone Bolelli & Fabio Fognini – They’ve been bad on hard courts so far this year but maybe this is where they find their form. I thought it would be unfair to pick the defending champs (also unseeded) or a team that made two finals in February (Bopanna/Ebden) as a dark horse, so you get Fogs and Bole. They made the quarters here in 2021.
- The all-singles, doubles team to watch out for: Karen Khachanov & Andrey Rublev – Rublev is actually a pretty good doubles player. He takes the ball very early giving the net player zero time to react. He and Karatsev made the final here in 2021. With Khachanov’s AO run, he seems to be in form as well.
- My pick: (3) Marcelo Arevalo & Jean-Julien Rojer – 2022 was a breakout season for Arevalo. He and Rojer have proven their consistency since the Roland Garros title last year. I think their quarter is easier than the bottom one IF they can get past the defending champs, Sock and Isner. I think they will.
- Another team who could make a run: Rohan Bopanna & Matthew Ebden – Ebden has been one of the best individual doubles players over the last 12 months, winning Wimbledon and making deep runs elsewhere with multiple partners. Bopanna made the quarters here in 2021 and the 2nd round last year, but he and Ebden are playing well.
Another team to watch is Fabrice Martin and Kevin Krawietz. Fabrice has had resurgence this year with a semifinal in Melbourne, final in Marseille, and title in Dubai just last week.
Several crowd pleasers in this half include all-Canada team, Felix Auger-Alliassime and Denis Shapovalov, young guns Holger Rune and Ben Shelton, and doubles specialist Austin Krajicek who is teaming up with Mackie McDonald.
Choose a Champion at Your Own Risk…
With the nature of the no-ad format and singles firepower, choosing a champion in doubles is a far riskier proposition than singles. I’m far more confident that 2022 singles champion, Taylor Fritz, will win his round 1 singles matchup than Isner and Sock, who have to play the 3rd seeds in the first round.
Literally, any seed could lose in round one. To save myself from embarrassment, I won’t pick a team to win it for now. Stay tuned and I may update this for my pick once we get down to the final 8.
WTA Doubles Draw Preview for Indian Wells
The women’s draw also features many top singles starts, some of whom play doubles regularly, and others not so much.
I don’t view this draw as quite as tough as the men’s, but there are still very few easy matches for the top teams. The world #1 Czechs will be the clear favorites, but as I discussed with Nicole Melichar-Martinez recently, they are more easily beatable outside the grand slams with the no-ad, 10-point tiebreak format.
Here are the top 8 seeds in the women’s doubles draw at Indian Wells 2023.
- Barbora Krejcikova & Katerina Siniakova
- Coco Gauff & Jessica Pegula
- Lyudmyla Kichenok & Jelena Ostapenko
- Desirae Krawczyk & Demi Schuurs
- Yifan Xu & Zhaoxuan Yang
- Storm Hunter & Elise Mertens
- Giuliana Olmos & Shuai Zhang
- Nicole Melichar-Martinez & Ellen Perez
You’ll find tons of firepower outside of the top eight teams as well which I’ll dive into below.
WTA Indian Wells Doubles Top Half Preview
(1) Krejcikova & Siniakova are clear favorites in the top half, but they may have the most difficult draw of all the seeds. They open with Samsonova and Kudermetova. The last team to beat the Czechs on the doubles court was Elise Mertens and… Veronika Kudermetova in the WTA Finals last fall. Kudermetova and Samsonova also won the title in Dubai, only dropping one set. This is a grand slam final level match!
If they get past round 1, it doesn’t get much easier. They’ll either face the Chan sisters who made the Dubai final a few weeks ago beat Gauff/Pegula and Krawczyk/Schuurs in route. The other possibility is Leylah Fernandez and Taylor Townsend who has two doubles titles already this year.
If it were any other team, I might say they won’t make the quarterfinals, but it’s not any other team. It’s the team with four consecutive major titles.
The Czechs should face (6) Hunter and Mertens in the quarterfinals. However, they have a tough first round against 2021 singles champion, Paula Badosa, who rarely plays doubles, and Elena Rybakina who made the doubles final that same year.
The next quarter features (4) Krawczyk and Schuurs who have had a solid 2022 so far, making the quarters in Melbourne and the semifinals in Dubai. The only problem I see for them is Caty McNally who is playing with Magda Linette. In my recent Caty McNally Interview, we asked her about playing with different partners as she’s proven that she can win with anyone on the doubles court.
(8) Melichar-Martinez & Perez just made the ATX Open doubles final, and may be finding the form they had last summer when they made three consecutive finals leading up to the US Open. They have a potential round two blockbuster with Shuko Aoyama and Ena Shibahara who made the finals down under.
Will’s top half WTA picks
- Must Watch Round 1: (1)Krejcikova/Siniakova vs Kudermetova/Samsonova – even if the Czechs do win the title in the desert, this could be their toughest match against a hot team, half of whom has beaten them recently.
- Darkhorse team: Shuko Aoyama & Ena Shibahara – I may be cheating here, but they do always seem to be under the radar.
- The all-singles, doubles team to watch out for: Paula Badosa & Elena Rybakina – Badosa never plays doubles but will draw a big crowd. Rybakina is a solid doubles player but is, of course, known for her Wimbledon title in 2022 and Australian Open final this year. They could hit some opponents off the court in this short format.
- My pick: (1) Barbora Krejcikova & Katerina Siniakova – Four straight majors, only lost two completed matches in 2022, dropped one set in Melbourne, and so on…
- Another team who could make a run: Caty McNally & Magda Linette – Caty won the doubles title in Mexico a few weeks ago with Diane Parry and Linette is coming off a tough R1 loss at the ATX Open, but made a deep run in Australia.
WTA Indian Wells Doubles Bottom Half Preview
The bottom half is only slightly less brutal than the top with fewer teams who will totally take the racquet out of your hand. There is no shortage of quality doubles though.
(7) Olmos and Zhang are teaming up for the third time this year so it wouldn’t be surprising if they’ve worked out some early kinks and made a run. Their potential second round match with Keys and Dolehide could be a tough one, but I expect them to make the quarterfinals where they’re likely to face the third seeds.
Update: Keys and Dolehide were replaced by Bencic and Teichmann.
In February, (3) Kichenok and Ostapenko made the final in Doha and the semi in Dubai. They always seem to do well in the big tournaments but they do play the Australian Open semifinalists, Kostyuk and Ruse, in the first round. The winner of that one would likely face Haddad Maia and Laura Siegemund. Haddad Maia made the WTA Finals in doubles last year and Siegemund has plenty of great doubles results over the last few years including titles in Miami (2022) and the US Open (2020).
The bottom quarter includes defending BNP Paribas Open champions, (5) Xu and Yang. They start with a difficult matchup against a new team, Erin Routliffe, who just won the ATX Open, and Alexa Guarachi, who made the WTA Finals in 2021.
This quarter has some ridiculously good unseeded teams.
- Gaby Dabrowski and Luisa Stefani: Teaming back up after one title last fall and dominating summer 2021 before Stefani’s ACL injury at the US Open.
- Anna Danilina and Asia Muhammad: Danilina was in the WTA Finals in November with Haddad Maia. Asia was a finalist at Indian Wells last year with Ena Shibahara and already has one title in 2023.
- Kirsten Flipkens and Bethanie Mattek-Sands: A veteran doubles team with too many accolades to mention. They’ll outsmart most opponents and outplay them at the net.
I expect (2) Gauff and Pegula to make a run but something tells me that their priority is a major title this year. Watching them lose in the semifinals at the Australian Open, I saw big disappointment. They’ll focus on singles first but have proven they can manage and go deep in both.
Will’s bottom half WTA picks
- Must Watch Round 1: Dabrowski/Stefani vs Danilina/Muhammad – these teams are unseeded, but no one would be shocked to see either of them well into week two.
- Darkhorse team: Aldila Sutjiadi & Miyu Kato – Aldila won the ATX Open with Routliffe last week. She and Kato made the 3rd round down under as well.
- The all-singles, doubles team to watch out for: Daria Kasatkina & Martina Trevisan – The 8 & 23 seeds in singles are the only all-singles team in this half. Other singles stars are pairing up with doubles players including Madison Keys (Caroline Dolehide), Alycia Parks (Alexandra Panova), and Marketa Vondrousova (Miriam Kolodziejova).
- My pick: (3) Kichenok & Ostapenko – They made the semis here in 2021 and have the “easier” quarter in this half. There are 5+ teams I could really see winning this half though.
- Another team who could make a run: Madison Keys & Caroline Dolehide – Keys has made some good runs at big events in doubles including the semis in Canada and Roland Garros last year. Dolehide’s big game will complement Keys’ own firepower, making this team tough to beat if they’re on.
Update: Keys & Dolehide pulled out and were replaced by Bencic & Teichmann.
Take the easy way out. Pick the Czechs
If you pick Krejcikova and Siniakova to win, and they lose, you don’t look dumb.
If you pick against the Czechs, and they win, you do look dumb.
I choose to avoid looking dumb. The world’s #1 doubles team will be your 2023 BNP Paribas Open women’s doubles champions!