For the second straight day, a Williams sister stole the show at Indian Wells. Friday it was Serena subduing Victoria Azarenka in an epic, and yesterday Venus authored her own incredible win, taking down Australian Open finalist Petra Kvitova 4-6, 7-5, 6-4.
Kvitova led her fellow-Wimbledon champion 6-4, 3-0 with two breaks before the 38-year-old mounted a stunning comeback.
“A double break is not ideal against a great server, especially a left-handed server. But the good part is being in matches, you just — a lot of it is just being in the moment,” Venus said.
“I think I created some opportunities. I had some good points. I think she had a few tight points, and here we are.
“It seemed like I played even better when I was down. I really didn’t have any other choice because she was playing so well and serving so well. So it’s nice to know that in that sort of situation I can still play and just lift my level.”
Kvitova seized a break lead again in the third, but Venus took the last three games of the match to win it. The Czech finished with 10 aces to 10 double faults.
“It was such a weird match, to be honest. We started, I think, pretty nervous, both. I took the first set. Suddenly I was leading in the second, but somehow I just gave her a chance again to be back in the match, and she took it,” Kvitova said.
“Suddenly, she just started to play better, I started to play worse, and that’s why that happen to the third set, which I didn’t break up, but I don’t know. I was so frustrated with myself from the half of the second set to the end, which shouldn’t happen to me.
“It’s always tough to play Venus, for sure. We always play three-setters, and suddenly, we have been there again and playing until the end, and in the end of the match, she definitely played better than me.”
Naomi Osaka opened her title defense avenging a loss in her last match to Kristina Mladenovic, easing past the Frenchwoman who beat her in Dubai 6-3, 6-4.
Ekaterina Makarova pulled off one of her biggest career wins knocking out former champion and 2-time finalist Caroline Wozniacki 7-5, 2-6, 7-5. The Russian failed to serve it out in the third in the first time of asking, but got it done following breaking Wozniacki at 5-all.
“It feels amazing, I can’t describe it,” said Alexandrova after her second career Top 20 win. “I played her two times before, and two times, it was not the best play. But now, I think maybe I’m just grateful for everything, and the hard work that I did finally paid off, and I’m just happy.”
Julia Goerges, Belinda Bencic, Karolina Pliskova and Danielle Collins were also winners.
Madison Keys continued her struggles in the desert losing in three to Mona Barthel.
On Sunday, Serena Williams returns to take on Garbine Muguruza in the headline match as the third round gets underway.
“I think it’s great,” Muguruza said of her match today. “I think it’s very good match to have. That’s the matches that I feel are exciting, that I want to play, that it could be any final. It’s early.”
Serena leads Muguruza 3-2. It’s their first meeting since the Spaniard stunned Serena to win the 2016 French Open.
Simona Halep meets qualifier Kateryna Kozlova and Elina Svitolina faces Daria Gavrilova.
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