WTA Indian Wells draw: Emma Raducanu finds out path as potential Simona Halep blockbuster looms

Emma Raducanu celebrates

Emma Raducanu could face two-time Grand Slam winner Simona Halep at the BNP Paribas Open in the Briton’s first tournament since winning the US Open.

Teenager Raducanu, whose stunning triumph in September propelled her from 150th to 22nd in the world rankings, received a wildcard entry and a bye to the second round of the WTA 1000 event in Indian Wells.

She has been drawn to play the winner of the match between Maria Camila Osorio Serrano and Aliaksandra Sasnovich, with a win for the Brit setting up an encounter against Halep in the third round if the Romanian defeats the victor of Zhang Shuai versus Marta Kostyuk.

The 18-year-old became the first qualifier in the Open Era to win a major tournament at Flushing Meadows in New York, where she did not lose a set.

She only made her WTA Tour debut in June this year at the Nottingham Open and went on to reach the last 16 at Wimbledon in her second tour-level event.

Indian Wells will be just the fifth tour-level event of Raducanu’s career and the teenager finds herself in the bottom half of the draw.

Former world No 1s Petra Kvitova or Victoria Azarenka are projected fourth-round opponents.

Former French Open winner Iga Swiatek is the highest-ranked player in the half and she faces Zheng Saisai or Caty McNally in the second round while defending champion Bianca Andreescu, who won the title in 2019, could be lurking in the fourth round.

Meanwhile, US Open runner-up Leylah Fernandez is also bottom half and the Canadian faces either a qualifier or Alize Cornet of France in the second round with ninth seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova a potential third-round opponent with US Open champion Belinda Bencic likely to be up next.

The prestigious event has returned to the WTA calendar after a two-year hiatus, while two-time champion and former world No 1 Kim Clijsters has also received a wildcard to the main draw. The Belgian takes on Katerina Siniakova in the opening round.

Current world No 1 Ashleigh Barty has chosen not to compete at Indian Wells and Naomi Osaka has also pulled out while Aryna Sabalenka withdrew after testing positive for coronavirus.

It leaves Karolina Pliskova as the top seed and the Czech takes on Zheng Saisai or Caty McNally in the second round while defending champion Bianca Andreescu, who won the title in 2019, could be a fourth round opponent.

Reigning French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova is seeded third and projected to face 15th seed Coco Gauff in the fourth round with fifth seed Garbine Muguruza the other dangerous player in the setion.

Meanwhile, British No 5 Katie Boulter failed in her bid to reach the main draw as she was beaten 7-,5 6-2 by 16-year-old American Reese Brantmeier in the first round of qualifying.