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Gavrilova Surges Past Govortsova

  • Posted: Jan 01, 1970

Daria Gavrilova overcame a rollercoaster first set and a stiff challenge from a surging Olga Govortsova to win her first match at the inaugural San Antonio Open.

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Indian Wells Last 16: Top Half

  • Posted: Jan 01, 1970

INDIAN WELLS, CA, USA – The BNP Paribas Open draw has been shaved down to 16, and on a blockbuster Tuesday at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, the quarterfinals will be set. Here’s a look at the match-ups.

Tuesday, Fourth Round

[1] Serena Williams (USA #1) vs. Kateryna Bondarenko (UKR #70)
Head-to-head: Williams leads 2-0
Key Stat: Williams’ last loss to a player outside the Top 50 was in 2014 (Charleston, Cepelova).
World No.1 Serena Wiliams showed signs of nerves and rust early in her third round match with Yulia Putintseva, but by the time it was over she looked like a player who was dead set on winning this title for the first time in 15 years. Still, Williams would like to rid herself of the slow starts that have created problems for her over the last few years. “I know last year I had a lot of slow starts, but I feel like I have done better this year,” Williams told the media on Sunday. “I had a slow start in this one, too, but it’s getting better. It just goes to show there is always something I can improve on. I’m always looking to improve on things.” On Tuesday she’ll look to improve her career record at Indian Wells to 21-1 when she meets qualifier Kateryna Bondarenko. The Ukranian reached the round of 16 for the first time at Indian Wells by surviving a third set tie-break with Lesia Tsurenko. Williams has won their two previous meetings, both in straight sets.

Pick: Williams in two

[3] Agnieszka Radwanska (POL #3) vs. [19] Jelena Jankovic (SRB #20)
Head-to-head: Radwanska leads, 6-3
Key Stat: Jankovic is bidding for her 50th Top 10 win today.
In a year that has been characterized by its unpredictability on the WTA Tour, Agnieszka Radwanska has been one of the steadier performers, making at least the semifinals in all three events she has played. Will she make it four in a row? Radwanska certainly owns the upper hand in her head-to-head with 2010 BNP Paribas Open champion Jelena Jankovic. The Serb took their first two meetings but since then Radwanska has won six of seven. The 2014 runner-up eased past Monica Niculescu in straight sets on Sunday and told reporters she’s yearning for the BNP Paribas Open title after the match. “Of course I was here in the final and really close to hold the trophy,” Radwanska said. “So this is another year to try. Obviously I am really trying every year to get the title. I really want to have that trophy at my home.” To reach the quarterfinals, Radwanska will have to maintain the hot hand against a hot opponent. San Diego resident and self-proclaimed California girl Jankovic comes in on a roll, having dropped just five games in her two rounds thus far.

Pick: Jankovic in three

[5] Simona Halep (ROU #5) vs. Barbora Strycova (CZE #37)
Head-to-head: Tied, 1-1 (Halep leads 1-0 at Tour-level)
Key Stat: Not since 1991 (Navratilova) has a WTA player successfully defended the Indian Wells title.
Though Serena Williams is the prohibitive favor in any WTA draw she enters, last year’s champion Simona Halep believes that the BNP Paribas Open is up for grabs. “I think the tournament is open and anyone can win it,” she told reporters at a media roundtable before the event started. “Many players are playing well now and young players are coming that are playing well.” The Romanian’s title defense has been going swimmingly thus far. After blitzing Vania King in her first match, she rolled past a world-class opponent in difficult conditions on Sunday night, braving the wind and the powerful game of Ekaterina Makarova to earn a straight-sets win. Halep’s opponent in the round of 16 has been playing good tennis herself. Barbora Strycova stunned Garbiñe Muguruza at the Australian Open to reach the second week, and last month she went all the way to the Dubai final before falling to Sara Errani. Is the 29-year-old Czech in good enough form to derail an in-form Halep? She certainly has the game, and the experience, to do it.

Pick: Halep in three

[8] Petra Kvitova (CZE #9) vs. [WC] Nicole Gibbs (USA #95)
Head-to-head: Kvitova leads 2-0
Key Stat: Gibbs has never won a set from a Top 10 player.
Petra Kvitova is still trying to find her form in the California desert. Meanwhile, a rising American qualifier is hitting her stride right before our eyes. Nicole Gibbs notched her career-best win against Madison Keys in the second round here, and will be looking to take down a bigger fish in two-time major champion Kvitova. But Gibbs knows she’s got her work cut out for her. “I have played her a couple times before also on some big stages: center court at New Haven and at US Open,” Gibbs told media after her straight-sets win over Yaroslava Shvedova on Sunday. “But I do feel like I’ve gotten to see what her level is like. Both matches have definitely been in her favor but competitive, so I’m just looking to hopefully get a bead on her serving early in the match.” Kvitova, who is hoping to match her career best result at Indian Wells, knows of the challenges that Gibbs can present. “I think she’s a very good mover,” Kvitova said. “She can catch a lot of balls and put back everything. I will have to be ready 100 percent, and really have to fight again.”

Pick: Gibbs in three

-Chris Oddo, contributor

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Flawless Pliskova Sails Into Last 16

  • Posted: Jan 01, 1970

INDIAN WELLS, CA, USA – No.18 seed Karolina Pliskova needed less than an hour to take her place in the fourth round of the BNP Paribas Open, producing a dominant display to swat aside former champion Ana Ivanovic.

Watch highlights, interviews and more video from Indian Wells right here on!

After an even start, Pliskova’s game clicked into gear in spectacular fashion, a sequence of 10 uninterrupted games helping her to a 6-2, 6-0 victory.

Ivanovic, who lifted the Indian Wells title eight years ago, came into the contest nursing a knee injury that hampered her movement throughout. A string of uncharacteristic errors saw her broken to love in the opening game and while she drew level soon after, it was clear that her game lacked its usual zip.

Pliskova, on the other hand, was having no difficulty getting the ball through the court, forging ahead and wrapping up the set with a fierce backhand drive. The winners continued to flow in the second, the Czech eventually finishing with 18 as she romped to the finishing line.

Pliskova had won all three of her previous encounters with Ivanovic, including earlier this year in Sydney. “We’ve played a few times already and I’ve always won. But I think I played really good tennis today and I’m happy that I made [the next round] so fast,” Pliskova said.

The one-sided scoreline was all the more surprising given the players’ respective form heading into the tournament; Ivanovic had made the semi and quarterfinals in St. Petersburg and Dubai, while Pliskova had suffered a couple of early exits in the Middle East.

“Last year I didn’t lose any first rounds. Now I’d lost twice in a row so I’m just happy to have some matches and looking forward to the next one,” Pliskova added.

That next outing will come against Johanna Konta, a 6-4, 6-1 winner over No.2 seed Angelique Kerber’s conqueror, Denisa Allertova.

Also emerging triumphant from Monday’s afternoon session were Roberta Vinci and Magdalena Rybarikova. Vinci continued her fine start to the year by outclassing Elina Svitolina, 6-1, 6-3, while Rybarikova caused the tournament’s latest shock, dumping out No.7 seed Belinda Bencic, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3.

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Battered Bacsinszky Beats Bouchard

  • Posted: Jan 01, 1970

INDIAN WELLS, CA, USA – 2015 French Open semifinalist played stupendous tennis in the final set of a tense match to defeat former World No.5 Eugenie Bouchard, 6-2, 5-7, 6-2.

Watch highlights, interviews and more video from Indian Wells right here on!

“I’m really happy about the way I played in the third set,” Bacsinszky told Andrew Krasny during the on-court interview, “it was like the first set a little bit.”

The first game foreshadowed the nearly two-and-half hour battle that was to come, as Bacsinszky broke on her fifth break point opportunity, and though the Canadian, who was looking to build on her tour-leading 15 WTA match wins, eventually steadied herself on serve, the Swiss star ultimately sealed the set.

Taking a nasty spill to start the second, Bacsinszky needed a lengthy medical timeout to address multiple cuts; Bouchard spent the time talking tactics with coach Thomas Högstedt and taking practice serves. The 2014 Wimbledon finalist broke serve for the first time soon after and went on to level the match with a second service break.

“I think Genie played really well, especially in the second; she pushed me a lot to make errors.”

Undaunted, Bacsinszky grabbed the initiative in the decider and never let go, relying on her laser sharp backhand and 31 winners overall – to only 25 from Bouchard – to serve out the win.

“I’m really glad I found a solution at the end.”

After the match, the former World No.10 thanked hockey legend Wayne Gretzky, who was in the crowd during the match, for helping to inspire her to push through the pain.

“The Great One was watching here, and he knows how it feels to get hurt in a hockey match. I fell right in front of him so I thought, ‘It’s all right; I have to show him I don’t feel the pain.'”

In order to back up her 2015 run to the quarterfinals, Bacsinszky will need to beat Daria Kasatkina – one of three 18-year-olds currently in the Top 50 – who saved a match point to defeat Monica Puig, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(2).

Earlier in the day, No.9 seed Roberta Vinci rebounded from a thrilling second round win over Margarita Gasparyan – a match that needed a final set tie-break – to ease past BMW Malaysian Open champion and No.17 seed Elina Svitolina, 6-1, 6-3.

The 2015 US Open finalist burst out of the gate by winning the first four games, keeping her side of the stat sheet clean (20 winners to 11 unforced) while the Ukrainian youngster – who recently hired former No.1 Justine Henin as a coaching consultant – struggled with consistency, hitting 17 winners but 25 unforced errors.

“I played a great game today, so consistent, focused, aggressive,” Vinci said after the match, explaining, “Against her you have to play like this. She’s a great player, she has a good rally. But I think, well, I just played so good.”

The secret to her late-blooming success?

“I don’t have a secret. Just play and stay focused every single day. Stay calm in the court and outside the court, and just enjoy the life.”

Up next for Vinci is Magdalena Rybarikova, who outlasted No.7 seed Belinda Bencic, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3.

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