Six lower seeds were defeated but the Top 10 players in action cruised on Saturday at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, Calif.
No. 2 seed Angelique Kerber, who will again rise to the No. 1 spot on the WTA Rankings following Indian Wells, in her opener rolled past fellow German Andrea Petkovic 6-2, 6-1.
“It was not so easy,” Kerber said afterwards. “We’ve known each other forever, and it’s always tough to play a friend on court. But I just tried to focus on my game and on my side of the court. I just tried to play my game, and I’m happy to actually win a first round here.”
Also among Top 10 winners were No. 4 Simona Halep returning from an Achilles injury to top Croat Donna Vekic 6-4, 6-1; No. 6 Agnieszka Radwanska defeating Spain’s Sara Sorribes Tormo 6-3, 6-4; and No. 9 Madison Keys in her first match of 2017 back from wrist surgery defeating Colombia’s Mariana Duque 6-1, 7-5.
“I think it was a very good match today,” Halep said. “I didn’t expect that, to be honest, because it’s tough to come back after four, five weeks without playing at all. I tried just to stay positive, not expecting anything. Just going there and try to feel the game. So I did it pretty well, and I’m really proud of myself.”
Lower seeds joining them in the third round were No. 12 Venus Williams who battled back to beat fellow former No. 1 Jelena Jankovic 1-6, 7-6(5), 6-1; No. 13 Caroline Wozniacki; No. 14 Elena Vesnina; No. 25 Timea Babos who came from a set down to defeat American Varvara Lepchenko 4-6, 7-6(2), 6-2; and No. 28 Kristina Mladenovic.
“I definitely wasn’t able to do everything I wanted to,” said Williams, who had a thigh and arm heavily taped, and fought off three match points. “Took me some time to kind of get my head around that. I was just trying to get focused. You know, you have to get disciplined and just try to just deal with what’s at hand and try to use the tools you have on this particular day.”
The six unseeded players logging upsets were German Julia Goerges who came from a set down to defeat No. 16 Samantha Stosur, American Lauren Davis who upended No. 22 Anastasija Sevastova, Czech Katerina Siniakova who toppled No. 23 Carla Suarez Navarro, France’s Pauline Parmentier who downed No. 27 Yulia Putintseva, Japan’s Naomi Osaka who defeated No. 30 Zhang Shuai, and China’s Peng Shuai who was a winner over No. 31 Ana Konjuh.
Parmentier will next face Kerber.
In the late women’s match No. 20 CoCo Vandeweghe and Lucie Safarova were tied at one set all approaching 2 a.m. EST.
Matches to look for on Sunday in Indian Wells are (7) Garbine Muguruza vs. (WC) Kayla Day, (11) Johanna Konta vs. (21) Caroline Garcia, (3) Karolina Pliskova vs. (29) Irina-Camelia Begu, and (10) Elina Svitolina vs. (24) Daria Gavrilova.
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