Top seeds prevail in Sunday’s third round at Indian Wells

We began Sunday with nine Top 20 seeds in the order of play at the BNP Paribas Open. As the stadiums emptied six remain. Below are some of the day’s highlights and lowlights.

[20] Garbine Muguruza d. [10] Serena Williams via retirement 6-3 1-0

Williams indicated she had a virus and stated that she was not feeling well before the match. As the match progressed, her symptoms became worse. An unfortunate outcome for both players. While some might see this as a stroke of luck for Muguruza, no real competitor wants to advance this way. In press, Muguruza commented: “It’s really a weird feeling, because I don’t feel like I won the match point and well done, you know, good match.”

[2] Simona Halep d. [Q] Kateryna Kozlova 7-6(3) 7-5

Despite her No.2 position, Halep seems to still be a bit under the radar. With the excitement around the clash of the moms, Victoria Azarenka vs. Serena Williams, the Romanian has been in the background. Without the names and numbers, it would have been hard to know today which player was the number two seed, Halep or Kozlova. As the score indicates, both played smart, physical tennis. Break points saved by the world No.114 Kozlova were 9/15, 60%. That’s a huge statistical accomplishment against a fighter like Halep.

Ranking seems to matter less this year then in past years. The depth of the tour shows us that many players have a chance when they bring their A game. Those at the top are more consistent, but not necessarily unbeatable.

Lastly, Ukrainian Kozlova has made a name for herself this week with a round of 32 Premier-event finish. She’ll be one to watch in Miami.

[7] Kiki Bertens d. Johanna Konta 7-6(10) 6-4

When Kiki Bertens arrived at the WTA All-Access event, my impression was she is enjoying her position right now, as there is an ease to the way she describes where she is and how her tennis life is one aspect of her being but it is not everything. The world No.7 from the Netherlands possesses what seems a healthy perspective that makes taking the habitual week in and week out ups and downs in stride. On Sunday at the BNP Paribas Open, she rode out bumps and recovered to keep another title within reach. Bertens’ fourth-round opponent will be Muguruza, who is also showing great form, fitness and poised confidence.

[12] Ashleigh Barty d. [WC] Jennifer Brady 6-3 6-2

Wildcard Jennifer Brady leaves Indian Wells with a round of 32 finish in her second appearance in the desert. She faced a tough opponent in Barty, who is riding momentum and sits at a career-high ranking. Sunday was their first meeting on a very big stage. In this sense, the more experienced player should have the upper hand. Barty showed she has run the miles and has the goods. In just over one hour, the Australian advanced to the fourth round. Her total points won, 69 verses 49 for Brady.

Next up for Barty is the ultra aggressive Elina Svitolina, who has faced some tough battles, but she seems to thrive when pushed. Expect another grinder between these two.

[6] Elina Svitolina d. Daria Gavrilova 7-5 6-4

Svitolina eliminated a capable opponent with a high-percentage first-serve performance and her signature power punch return game. The name that comes to mind when I think of her current performances is “the closer”.

The remaining players in the bottom half of the draw are ripe for producing “blood bath” battles as we begin our second week in Tennis Paradise. While the temperature may be cold outside, the on-court forecast is blazing hot.

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