W2W4 at Indian Wells: Without Serena, it's anyone's guess

Finally recovered from a long wrist injury, Madison Keys is playing for the first time in 2017. Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Remaining women's seeds: No. 2 Angelique Kerber, No. 3 Karolina Pliskova, No. 4 Simona Halep, No. 5 Dominika Cibulkova, No. 6 Agnieszka Radwanska, No. 7 Garbine Muguruza, No. 8 Svetlana Kuznetsova, No. 9 Madison Keys, No. 10 Elina Svitolina.

How to watch: Action begins at 2 p.m. ET on ESPN3 on Monday and the ESPN app, and, on Thursday, it will also be simulcast on ESPN2.

Top storylines: No. 1-ranked Serena Williams' withdrawal with a knee injury sucked the air out of this tournament, but there's a lot going on in her absence. It starts with the return of 22-year-old Madison Keys, who is playing for the first time in 2017 after a left wrist injury. She beat qualifier Mariana Duque-Marino 6-1, 7-5. Up next: hard-hitting Naomi Osaka of Japan.

The venerable Venus Williams, 36, saved three match points against Jelena Jankovic on Sunday to advance to the third round at Indian Wells for the first time since 2001. Williams, a finalist at the Australian Open in January, played this event last season for the first time in 15 years; she has never won it. She next plays Lucie Safarova, and, if she's fortunate enough to get by that one, Williams, would likely take on Agnieszka Radwanska in the fourth round.

Angelique Kerber, who will return to No. 1 no matter how she fares at Indian Wells, thanks to Serena's withdrawal, played solid tennis in her opener, a welcome sign for a player who hasn't looked like the world-beater she was last year. Kerber dropped only three games in a rout of Andrea Petkovic. Kerber could potentially face Venus in the quarters.

Big things are expected from Karolina Pliskova this season, and so far she has delivered. The Czech, last year's US Open runner-up, has already bagged two titles in 2017 and has rallied through two tough matches at Indian Wells. But to get out of her section of the draw, Pliskova would need to beat either 10th-seeded Elina Svitolina, who also has won two titles, or No. 7 Garbine Muguruza.

Despite the talent pool still remaining at Indian Wells, this has the look and feel of an underdog making a deep run, even a title run. In the past decade, we've seen a number of unexpected champions emerge in the desert, including Flavia Pennetta, Vera Zvonareva and Daniela Hantuchova. The second quarter of this year's draw is the likeliest place for someone to break through. No. 5 Dominika Cibulkova is the highest-seeded player left, but she hasn't strung together more than two straight wins this season. Svetlana Kuznetsova, seeded eighth, has played terrific tennis for the past year and takes on Caroline Garcia next. The 32-year-old Russian could very well find herself in the Indian Wells final for the first time since 2008.