INDIAN WELLS WTA: Osaka launches title defence in style

12 March, 2019, 05:02 | Author: Greg Lawrence
  • Roger Federer saved four break points to defeat Peter Gojowczyk yesterday. – EPA pic

Venus Williams staged a spirited comeback to down third seed Petra Kvitova 4-6 7-5 6-4 and reach the third round of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells on Saturday.

Defending champion Osaka beat Kristina Mladenovic 6-3, 6-4 in her first attempt at defending a WTA Tour title.

Mladenovic held serve to narrow the deficit to 5-4, and Osaka faced another break point before wrapping up the match in one hour and 21 minutes for a third-round meeting with American Danielle Collins. "After that things went better for me", added the Serbian, who dominated the second set to book a third-round meeting with German Philipp Kohlschreiber, a 6-4, 6-4 victor over Australian Nick Kyrgios.

Williams lost the first set 6-3 to two-time major champion Garbine Muguruza and was trailing 1-0 in the second set when she called it quits.

Keen to avoid a repeat, Osaka marched through the opening set in 38 minutes, but she hit a speed bump as she was broken when serving for the match at 5-2 in the second.

Nishikori, ranked seventh in the world, opened his year by snapping a nine-match losing streak in finals, capturing his first ATP title in 51 tournaments at Brisbane in January.

The Chinese player nearly took the first set in a tight tenth game, holding two set points on the former world No. 10's serve. "I was just fighting in the first set to find that balance between being aggressive and not rushing too much".

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"I learn the most when I lose matches, and honestly, it was great that I got to play her again because I was able to learn from the mistakes I did back then", Osaka said. "She has been playing so well and you never know what's going to come off her racket", Williams said in front of a fawning crowd in her native Southern California.

An outstanding break point saw Djokovic respond for 5-5 before Fratangelo grabbed the lead in the tie-break. I was so frustrated with myself from the half of the second set to the end, which shouldn't happen to me.

"I let her play her better game, so it's my fault, anyway".

The 25th-seeded American beat Belgian Kirsten Flipkens, 6-4, 6-1.

In another women's singles clash, Germany's Angelique Kerber eased past Yulia Putintseva of Russia 6-0, 6-2 to set up a round-of-32 clash against another Russian player Natalia Vikhlyantseva.

No. 2 seed Simona Halep needed almost two hours to beat qualifier Kateryna Kozlova 7-6 (3), 6-3 in the third round.

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