Upsets were the name of the game on Monday at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells in third-round play as No. 4 Simona Halep, who has been suffering from knee and Achilles issues, and No. 6 Aggie Radwanska were sent packing.
Halep fell 6-3, 6-3 to No. 28 seed Kristina Mladenovic, while Radwanska was out-steadied by Chinese qualifier Peng Shuai 6-4, 6-4.
“Based on how much I was able to practice before this event, I’m happy to have made the third round,” Halep said. “She’s playing well and has confidence, but I missed a lot. After the first set, my legs were gone. My tennis legs aren’t back yet, so I need to work a lot. But I’m ok — I don’t want to make a drama. I was very sore after the first match, and couldn’t walk too much…The heat was killing me because I wasn’t used to being out there that long yet. I had a headache, my feet were burning and my muscles were gone.”
Top 10 seeded winners on the day were No. 2 Angelique Kerber struggling to a 7-5, 3-6, 7-5 victory against unseeded Frenchwoman Pauline Parmentier, and No. 9 Madison Keys overpowering Naomi Osaka 6-1, 6-4.
Kerber won on a day when temperatures climbed into the high 90s.
“It’s really hot here!” Kerber said on-court after the match. “At the end, it was a tough match and a high-level match from both of us. Pauline played unbelievably from the first ball, and we both battled until the end. I’m just happy to win because it was really close, and really up and down.”
No. 12 seed Venus Williams led the lower seeds as the heavily-bandaged American again overcame injuries to defeat Lucie Safarova 6-4, 6-2, and No. 14 Elena Vesnina outlasted No. 25 Timea Babos 6-4, 1-6, 6-4.
“I felt really pretty good off the ground,” said Williams, who will next face the qualifier Shuai. “This court is tricky as the ball stops, so a lot of the times you’re not hitting the ball where you think you’re going to hit it. So it definitely takes adjustments…You just kind of like deal with it. So it’s an interesting court.”
Kerber in the next round will meet Vesnina.
In the final night match No. 13-seeded Caroline Wozniacki beat Katerina Siniakova 6-3, 6-1.
Tuesday’s match highlights at Indian Wells include (8) Svetlana Kuznetsova vs. (21) Caroline Garcia, (12) Venus Williams vs. (Q) Shuai Peng, (5) Dominika Cibulkova vs. (19) Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, (2) Angie Kerber vs. (14) Elena Vesnina, (3) Karolina Pliskova vs. (15) Timea Bacsinszky, and (7) Garbine Muguruza vs. (10) Elina Svitolina,
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