Mixed results for Americans in the Indian Wells desert on Sunday

On Sunday, five Americans were in the order of play at the BNP Paribas Open, but only two would remain. Our reporter Karen Helf was right there, so she’ll give us detailed updates about the second-round and third-round WTA matches, as well as some interesting quotes from post-match press conferences that she attended. Our photographer Jimmie48 was also there, you can check out his photo gallery here.

Amanda Anisimova d. Petra Kvitova [9] 6-2 6-4

American Amanda Anisimova continues her wildcard ride, ending a 14-match winning streak for Petra Kvitova. The Czech produced a higher quality of tennis than the score indicates, but winning the right points is what matters most. On Sunday, those points went mostly to Anisimova.

When asked about her game and power, the 16-year-old Anisimova had this to say:

You know, I’m really aggressive, and I like to take the ball away. So I feel like opponents have a tough time, you know, managing my power sometimes. I think that’s a big advantage I have.

Anisimova showed conviction and power off-court today as well. She had tweeted about the recent Florida shooting. When asked about that experience and her views on gun control, she replied:

Yeah, that’s definitely terrible. I actually had a friend that goes to that school. It’s really close to me. It’s really sad what’s going on. I think that guns should be banned. That’s what my opinion is, whatever. I posted that on Twitter. But you should have stricter laws on that for sure. And I don’t think teachers should be having guns in school, because I don’t think that’s a good idea. I think that we just have to take them out.

We will certainly hear more about Anisimova as she moves into the round of 16. Her next opponent will be fifth seed Karolina Pliskova.


Simona Halep [1] d. Caroline Dolehide 1-6 7-6(3) 6-2

Who is Caroline Dolehide? At age 19, Dolehide had a career-high singles ranking of 137. The American turned pro in 2015 and is the owner of a huge forehand. She is an aggressive risk-taker with shot variety. According to Halep, Dolehide has spin, lots of spin.

The fan support for this match was even-handed. Dolehide was on her way to another upset with the first set on the board. Halep drew on her experience, her inability to quit and found the answer.

The Romanian world No.1 acknowledged that her flat ball was not working and she began making adjustments in the second set. She also produced successful passing shots with Dolehide at net. Halep was up 5-3, but Dolehide broke back and then held to 5-5. When Halep held to press for a tiebreak, she celebrated with her entire body and the crowed approved. In the tiebreak, Halep dug in, quickly going up 4-1. Dolehide just could not catch her in time.

In the third set, Halep was immediately in charge, breaking Dolehide’s first three service games. Dolehide seemed to lose some steam and produced two double-faults, assisting Halep with one break. Looking fresh, Halep held her lead to close.

In the end, Dolehide and Halep were dead even in points won, 98 of 196. The first serve percentage was 68% for Halep and 64% for Dolehide. This two-hour match was exciting and the shot making was top-notch.

In press, Dolehide spoke of gaining belief that she belongs and can complete against top players. The coach of her early years watched a lot of men’s tennis, so she attributes her power play style to that foundation. She credits her recent progress to resources at the USTA team in Lake Nona. In particular, she owes her volley skills to former ATP player and mentor Stephen Huss.

When asked about her confidence during the match, Halep had this to say:

Yeah. I didn’t give up, which is the most important thing. I never thought that I will lose the match. I just wanted to stay there and to see what is happening. I’m really proud that I could manage this match. It was really tough. And for second match of the tournament was amazing match, amazing level, in my opinion.

Halep’s fourth-round opponent will be Qiang Wang of China.

Naomi Osaka d. [Q] Sachia Vickery 6-3 6-3

Japan’s Naomi Osaka and American Sachia Vickery closed the night session, taking the court after 10 p.m. The crowd leaned towards Vickery, but the atmosphere was much different that her prior match against Garbine Muguruza. Osaka drew first blood, but no surprise Vickery would return in kind. Serving well and blasting winners, Osaka got to 4-2. Then the game seven marathon began and twenty-four points later, Vickery held, 4-3.

Osaka requested to see her coach Sascha Bajin. A very deliberate conversation ensued. Back at the service line, Osaka painted the lines and held her composure with subtle fist pumps to 5-3. Despite a strong effort to run down every ball and go for her shots, Vickery fell to Osaka after ten points. Vickery lost the battle, but won respect for her courageous game.

In press, an accidentally comical Osaka stated she didn’t know Vickery was that fast. When asked about the scoreline of 6-3 6-3, she said:

Oh, wow. Felt a lot closer than that. Of course she’s a really good mover. And I think, like, that and also just like the shots she would play at certain times, that was really difficult.

With respect to growing her game, Osaka has this to say:

Yeah, I feel like I grew a lot these past two years. I have always known that my game was good enough. Just mentally I wasn’t always there most of the time. So I’m trying to, like, fix that a little bit.

Osaka’s fourth-round opponent will be Maria Sakkari.

Sloane Stephens d. [WC] Victoria Azarenka 6-1 7-5

Fans filled Stadium 2 to see the second-round battle of the current and former slam winners. Historically, Azarenka owned the head-to-head, but so much has happened since their last meeting. Stephens held the advantage today in power and precision. She created blistering forehands with her racquet head speed. By comparison, Azarenka appeared to be off in both timing and composure. Visible displays of frustration were frequent for Azarenka. While the Belarusian came up with some great shots at net, her game did not come together today. Fans were appreciative of her efforts.

This was Sloane’s first win at home since capturing the 2017 US Open title. Her next opponent will be Daria Kasatkina.

MORE SUNDAY’S ACTION: 

Angelique Kerber [10] d. Ekaterina Makarova 3-6 6-4 6-2

Kerber and Makarova resumed their second-round match after Stephens took a victory lap. One had to wonder if Kerber would benefit from the overnight break and regroup. And regroup she did, taking the first break in both the second and third set. After taking the second set, Kerber picked up steam in the third, winning 80% of first serve points and attacking second serves with 73% success.

Karolina Pliskova [5] d. Zhang Shuai [32] 7-5 5-7 6-3

Pliskova continues a quiet path through the draw, reaching the fourth round on Sunday. She made it to the semifinals in her past two appearances in the desert.

Qiang Wang d. Kristina Mladenovic [14] 6-1 6-2
China’s Qiang Wang is having a great run to the fourth round in her second appearance at Indian Wells.

Maria Sakkari d. Coco Vandeweghe [17] 6-2 6-4
Maria Sakkari of Greece moves into the round of 16 without dropping a set.

Monday Match Schedule:
Day Session
Aliaksandra Sasnovich vs. Caroline Wozniacki [2]
Sloane Stephens [13] vs. Daria Kasatkina [20]
Caroline Garcia [7] vs. Daria Gavrilova [26]
Elena Vesnina [24] vs. Angelique Kerber [10]
Carla Suarez Navarro [27] vs. Elina Svitolina [4]
Danielle Collins vs. Sofya Zhuk
Anastasija Sevastova [21] vs. Julia Goerges [12]

Night Session
Venus Williams [8] vs. Serena Williams [Not before 7 p.m.]

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