Biggest Winners and Losers From The 2021 Indian Wells

Indian Wells is concluded for 2021 with some truly tantalising tennis being showcased in the Californian desert. The competition saw some of the best tennis talent descending down onto the Palm Desert with the biggest names plying their trade in front of the tennis acolytes. 

Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic all withdrew from the tournament this year over injury concerns prying the tournament wide open. The world No.1 seed Novak Djokovic fell agonisingly short at capturing the calendar Slam at the US Open when he played out a lethargic and uncharacteristic final, losing in straight sets to Daniil Medvedev. 

With three of the big four sidelined, Andy Murray took advantage and put in a monumental shift proving that there is still life in the old dog yet after getting to the last 32 but failing to capitalise against No.4 seed Alexander Zverev. Emma Raducanu came into the competition as a US Open winner but was shown the door in the second round against the durable Aliaksandra Sasnovich losing in straight sets.   

With such an exciting Indian Wells tournament wrapped up, we take a look at the biggest winners, losers, runner ups, stand out performances and the best pre-match bets you could have made in hindsight in the tennis betting markets. 

Biggest Winners 

Cameron Norrie’s Year 

Cameron Norrie played the best tennis of his life over the past year rising to the ranks of the No.1 British seed and also capturing his second  ATP tour title in California. Norrie also shattered history in the Californian desert plains as he became the first Brit to triumph at the historic competition,

Norrie fought from a set down to put the big-hitting Georgian to the sword after showing resilience winning the tournament 3-6, 6-4, 6-1.

Badosa Battles To Win 

Paula Badosa added to her 2015 French Grand Slam victory at the BNP Paribas Open title after she fought tooth and nail to vanquish the venerable Victoria Azarenka in a three-set thriller in the desert to claim Californian glory. The Spaniard fought past Dayana Yastremska 6-4, 2-6, 6-2, Coco Gauff  6-2, 6-2, Barbora Krejčíková 6-1, 7-5, Angelique Kerber  6-4, 7-5, Ons Jabeur  6-3, 6-3 to set up a clash with the Belarusian.

Badosa was ultimately crowned queen of the desert winning 7-6, 2-6, 7-6 against the battle-hardened Azarenka who pushed the Spaniard to over three hours of gruelling tennis.  

Runners Up

Victoria Azarenka Falls Agonisingly Short

Victoria Azarenka’s Indian Wells run has been phenomenal, the former No.1 seed has returned to the win column after punching in some convincing wins in the dusty plains of California but fell short against the talented Paula Badosa in a mouth-watering final. Azarenka still looks like a player resurrected and will be a force to reckoned with in 2022.

Nikoloz Basilashvili Puts In His All

The emotionless Georgian went all the way but it seemed futile as Cameron Norrie had victory in his sights as the Brit held strong beating Basilashvili 3-6, 6-4, 6-1. The 29-year-old put in a phenomenal shift dispatching Christopher Eubanks, Albert Ramos-Vinolas, Karen Khachanov, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Taylor Fritz before being ultimately undone by the Brit in the final. 

Biggest Losers

Radical Raducanu Is Denied A Run In California

Raducanu’s maiden US Open Grand Slam was one of the biggest feats achieved in the tennis calendar year. After dispatching Leylah Fernandez in straight sets at Flushing Meadows, the British teenager was thrust into the spotlight with the weight of a nation beginning to form on her shoulders. 

Many believed the youngster had the makings of another final in the Californian desert but she fell short after a second-round exit to Aliaksandra Sasnovich of Belarus 6-2, 6-4. Raducanu flashed some glimpses of brilliance but her 27-year-old opponent showcased a plethora of experience putting the plucky 18-year-old to the sword. 

Something Stinks With Andy Murray

Andy Murray makes the biggest losers list, in the literal sense, after his wedding ring was stolen from a pair of his smelly tennis shoes in the Californian desert. The three-time major Slam winner left his tennis shoes outside underneath his car overnight and when he returned in the morning, both the shoes and his ring were gone. 

The former-No.1 took to social media with an appeal for the culprit to return his wedding ring. Murray posted the next day that his ring had been returned and thanked those who helped him through the difficult ordeal. 

Top Seed Medvedev Crumbles

It’s been a phenomenal year for Daniil Medvedev as he captured his maiden US Grand Slam, ATP Masters 1000 Canada. Mallorca, and Marseille titles. With four titles in the bag over the 2021 year, the Russian has enjoyed a tumultuous calendar year. The same success could not be replicated over the Indian Wells competition as he crashed out after being bested in three sets by Grigor Dimitrov.

The Russian was the favourite coming into the Californian competition at 13/10 to prevail, but a hungry and battle-hardened Dimitrov spoiled the party. The Bulgarian staged a spectacular comeback from a set and double break down to triumph in 4-6, 6-4. 6-3 as the No. 2 seeds game completely fell apart. 

The implosion was very uncharacteristic for the Russian but it was visible after the second set was closed out by the 30-year-old that Medvedev was not in the right frame of mind to get the match over the line. 

Stand Out Performers

Andy Murray Returns To Winning Ways

Andy Murray raised a few eyebrows in California after putting in a herculean performance against some of the very best in the game. The man with the metal hip fought tooth and nail to rediscover his form of the past and can hold his head high after falling short against Alexander Zverev in the last round of 32. 

The former No.1 has had a tremendous yet difficult time on tour this year after battling back from an injury-ridden few years. But it was here where the Scot turned a real corner and played some awe-inspiring tennis. 

Murray dispatched the competent Adrian Mannarino 6-3 6-2 in convincing fashion in his first test. His next obstacle was that of Spanish starlet Carlos Alcaraz, who strung together a nice US Open run reaching the quarter-finals against F. Auger-Aliassime. Even though the teenager ultimately fell short against Auger-Aliassime, he had the momentum on his side. 

The 34-year-old plied his trade in expert fashion against the Spaniard even after dropping the first set at the death knell. The Brit rallied to nullify a man that was nearly half his age and exposed the confident teenager’s weak underbelly with his years of experience on the tour, ultimately getting a through to the next round against Zverev. 

The German was the Brit’s next real test to see how far he had come since his surgery. Murray charged into the belly of the beast breaking the towering German in the second frame before serving it out to put three games on the board to the German’s zero. 

It was shortly after this that Zverev poured on the pressure to cement himself back into the set winning it 6-4 leaving Murray scratching his head. It didn’t take long for the No,4 seed to work the former Wimbledon champion out and even though Murray pushed him to a second set tiebreaker, Zverev closed Murray out at 7-4 booking himself a spot in the last 16.  

Cameron Norrie Shines In The Desert

Cam Norrie has enjoyed an excellent run of form coming into the prestigious event often billed as ‘The Fifth Grand Slam”. The New Zealand born tennis player made a huge splash in the San Diego Open in early October, reaching the final to ultimately get bested by a phenomenal Casper Rudd 6-0, 6-2. 

Although he lost the San Diego Open final, the Brit did claim his first tour tournament in Mexico against Brandon Nakashima in straight sets. 

Norrie’s growth has been slow but worth the wait, as the No. 26 seed has climbed the rankings with some mouth-watering tennis over the past year. Indian Wells has been another tournament the British number 2 has flourished at, brushing aside Tennys Sandgren in his opener and sinking Roberto Bautista Agut in emphatic fashion 6-4, 5-7, 6-3.

Norrie refused to end his Indian Wells journey in the last 16 as he dragged himself into the quarter-finals of the BNP Paribas Open with a dour 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 victory against American Tommy Paul. 

The Putney-based player made it more difficult than it should have been in their clash but eventually prevailed in the two and a quarter hours in the desert heat. A run of six consecutive breaks of serve ended with him holding serve for 3-2 in the decider, and finally being able to defend his lead from there.

Cam’s winning form continued as he put in a herculean performance against a shellshocked Diego Schwartzman. Norrie made the Argentine No.15 seed look distinctly average as he thrashed him 6-0, 6-2 to advance to the semi-final. 

Cam bested Grigor Dimitrov 6-2, 6-4 to plant himself into his maiden Indian Wells final against the huge-hitting Georgian Nikoloz Basilashvili. Cam continued to play the best tennis of his life as he recorded history becoming the first Brit to win the fabled Indian Wells trophy after, despite the best efforts of Andy Murray, Tim Henman and Greg Rusedski, these Californian trophy cabinets have previously been a Brit-free zone.

Best Pre-Match Bet

With some of the best tennis unfolding in Palm Desert, Sink Or Swim Sports takes a look back at some of the best pre-match wagers you could have had and the profit you might have made in the tennis betting markets. With these exciting bets in mind, it’s always worth looking at our ‘How to Bet On Tennis’ guide to heighten the thrill of any match.

The best bet of the tournament was Cameron Norrie to win at a whopping 80/1.