Bianca Andreescu’s delayed Indian Wells title defense got off to a good start late Saturday night in the desert. The 2019 champion opened play with a tough 7-6(2), 5-7, 6-2 win over American Alison Riske.
Andreescu led big in the second, then held a 2 match points before Riske was able to force a third in the near-three hour affair (which included about an eight minute break after the second).
Andreescu finished with 32 winners however was just 5 of 17 on break chances.
“I felt like I could have raised my level a little bit more throughout the match because that’s what she did, that’s how she came back in those important moments,” Andreescu said. “But I think the key for me today was to keep my composure as much as I can and not to feel the pressure of the crowd or being defending champion. I think I dealt with that better in the third set.”
Andreescu will now meet Anett Kontaveit on Monday. The Estonian got past qualifier Martina Trevisan. Kontaveit leads Andreescu 2-0 and overall has won 14 of her last 15 matches.
Coco Gauff fought through a tough first match against former Top 5 Caroline Garcia 6-3, 6-7(2), 6-1. After dropping the second set breaker, Gauff came out blazing winning six of the last seven games. Garcia was plagued by a rough serving day in the wind.
“Honestly, I just kept telling myself to keep going for my shots. Even in the second set, I had a lot of opportunities,” Gauff told the crowd after her first Indian Wells match. “I just told myself to keep going for my shots and it ended up working out.”
Gauff will have a tough test ahead against Spaniard Paula Badosa.
Recent Chicago champion Garbine Muguruza sputtered falling to Ajla Tomljanovic 6-3, 1-6, 6-3.
Maria Sakkari was also upset losing to Olympic silver medalist Viktorija Golubic 5-7, 6-3, 6-2.
Top seed Karolina Pliskova got off to a good start rolling past Magdalena Frech 7-5, 6-2. Angelique Kerber, Barbora Krejcikova, Amanda Anisimova and Danielle Collins were also winners.
On Sunday, the third round begins highlighted by former champion Victoria Azarenka colliding with Petra Kvitova. Simona Halep, Elina Svitolina and Iga Swiatek also return.
US Open finalist Leylah Fernandez is back to meet French runner-up Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.
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