Elise Mertens
Elise Mertens - Photo courtesy of FiledIMAGE on Shutterstock

Main draw singles play begins Wednesday in the $10.1 million BNP Paribas Open with Belgian Elise Mertens and Diego Schwartzman of Argentina the highest-ranked players set to be in action.

Mertens, 37th on the Women’s Tennis Association singles rankings, will face Xinyu Wang of China in the second match on the Stadium 2 Court.

The 27-year-old Mertens rose five spots in the rankings after reaching the semifinals of the Abierto GNP Seguros tournament, which concluded Sunday in Monterrey, Mexico. Her career high ranking is 12th, achieved Nov. 26, 2018.

Mertens has won seven singles tournaments on the WTA Tour and 16 doubles titles, including the U.S. Open in 2019 and Australian Open and Wimbledon in 2021. She was the top-ranked doubles player for 23 weeks in 2021 and 2022.

The 21-year-old Wang is ranked 67th, two spots lower than her career high reached Feb. 27 after she reached the second round of the Mérida Open Akron in Mérida, Mexico.

This will be the first meeting between Mertens and Wang.

Schwartzman, 38th on the Association of Tennis Professionals singles rankings, will face fellow Argentine Federico Coria in the first night match on the Stadium 3 Court.

The 30-year-old Schwartzman has lost six of his seven 2023 ATP Tour or Grand Slam singles matches.

Schwartzman is a four-time ATP Tour singles champion, most recently in the 2021 Argentina Open. The 5-foot-7-inch Schwartzman’s highest career ranking is eighth, reached on Oct. 12, 2020, when he became the shortest top 8 player since the 5-foot-6-inch Harold Solomon in 1981.

Coria, also 30, dropped six spots in the rankings to 64th. He reached his career high, 49th, on Feb. 13, after reaching the final of the Cordoba Open in Cordoba, Argentina.

This will be the first meeting between Schwartzman and Coria.

The afternoon session will begin at 11 a.m. and night session at 5 p.m.

The 32 seeded players in the men’s and women’s draw receive first-round byes. They will begin play Friday or Saturday.

Wednesday’s losers will receive $18,660 while the winners will earn at least $30,885.

Wednesday’s coverage on the Tennis Channel will begin at 11 a.m. and continue through 10 p.m. Every men’s singles and doubles match will be streamed by Tennis TV.

The tournament’s seven new food offerings include Pink’s hot dogs, chef Jet Tila’s Bistro 88 and Handel’s Homemade Ice Cream. Chef Tanya’s Kitchen, the Palm Springs-based vegan specialty restaurant, will also join the Food Village lineup. Other dining options include Ristorante Mamma Gina, Nobu Indian Wells and Fresh Agave Mexican Bar and Grill.

Tournament director Tommy Haas will be featured in Wednesday’s Tennis Talk event at 12:30 p.m. on the Village Stage.

Maria Sakkari, seventh in the Women’s Tennis Association singles rankings, will sign autographs at Tennis Warehouse from 2:30-3 p.m. Karolina Pliskova, 17th in the WTA singles ratings, will sign autographs at the FILA store from 4:30-5 p.m.

The J-Mann Duo will perform on the Village Stage from 4-6 p.m.

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