Indian Wells: Day 1. And so it begins…

Day-1 of the BNP Paribas Open featured a packed schedule of final-round qualifying from the ATP World Tour, and first-round play from the WTA. Here on Stadium-2, winners included Croatia’s Donna Vekic, Germany’s Mona Barthel, New Zealand’s Marina Erakovic, Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Austria’s Jurgen Melzer, who overcame American Ironman Michael Russel to reach the main draw.

  • WTA 1R: D. Vekic (CRO) d [WC] L. Chirico (USA) 64 63
  • WTA 1R: M. Barthel (GER) d K. Mladenovic (FRA) 63 57 64
  • ATP Q: [3] J. Melzer (AUT) d M. Russell (USA) 64 57 63
  • WTA 1R: M. Erakovic (NZL) d [WC] G. Min (USA) 63 61
  • WTA 1R: A. Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) d J. Larsson (SWE) 64 63

From our post match interviews:

18-year-old Donna Vekic said she was excited to get past the promising young American Louisa Chirico in two, and after winning Kuala Lumpur last year, her goals for 2015 are simple: to continue improving match to match, allowing the results to take care of themselves. She also admitted to relishing the opportunity of revenge against Zarina Diyas – her next opponent in Round-2 – who defeated Vekic in her first match of year in Shenzhen.

Mona Barthel admitted that it’s been a tough first two months of the season. Nursing an ankle injury, she fell in the first rounds of Auckland and Hobart, and was defeated in straights by Petra Kvitova in the second round of the Australian Open. Three weeks later, she delivered her first top-10 win of the year, taking down Genie Bouchard in Antwerp’s Round of 16. While she suffered early exits in Dubai and Doha, that win in Antwerp gives her confidence moving forward here in the desert. She’ll have a tough test next with the new #11 player in the world Lucie Safarova – who just earned her 6th career title in Doha.

33-year-old Jurgen Melzer hadn’t played 36-year-old Michael Russell in 12-years, and knew coming into today’s match that it would most-likely go the distance. He admitted that in 11 Indian Wells appearances, this is the toughest battle he’s had to face just to earn a spot in the main draw. Later Wednesday evening, Jurgen learned who he’d face in the first round. He could’ve faced Adrian Mannarino or Alexandr Dolgopolov, but instead fell into the one slot featuring a fellow qualifier. On Friday, he’ll go toe-to-toe with 21-year-old American and UCLA Bruin Dennis Novikov. Dennis is ranked #256 in the world, and scored his biggest win earlier this year defeating Ryan Harrison in the first round of the Maui Challenger. After his battle with Russell this afternoon, something tells me Jurgen likes how things shook out.

After her win this evening, Marina Erakovic said her tight friendship with American Grance Min made their first round match a challenging one. She made quick work of her opponent, only allowing four games, and credits a strong SF finish in Pattaya City as a confidence boost coming into Indian Wells. Marina’s not a “draw-watcher,” but now knows the weight of her next challenge: Timea Bacsinsky. Like everyone else, she’s fully aware of Timea’s incredible momentum coming into this years tournament, having won both Acapulco and Monterrey the previous two weeks. Before that, Timea delivered two clutch Fed Cup wins in Switzerland’s World Group II victory over Sweden. Bacsinsky is 12-0 since falling in the 3rd round of the Australian Open…and she started the year with a Finals appearance in Shenzhen, where she fell to World #3 Simona Halep. Impressive; no doubt daunting for Erakovic.

Finally, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova admitted that she was pretty pissed to learn that she’d have to face Johanna Larsson in the first round of the BNP Paribas Open. They’d just sparred less than a week earlier in Monterrey, where Anastasia came through in a tight 6-4, 6-4 battle. Tonight was a repeat performance with a very similar scoreline, both toughing-out extended rallies for every point. There was one major difference with tonight’s match, however – no one proposed to her after the win…

Last week in Monterrey, after her defeat of Larsson, Pavlyuchenkova was 17-0 at the tournament. She was a three-time champion and had just won her Round of 16 match. In celebration, while she was signing balls for the crowd, a young man managed to get on the court to give her flowers, drop to one knee and propose. No proposals tonight in Indian Wells…just news that she’d have another tough test in Round-2: World #20 Barbora Zahlavova Strycova.

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ATP. Indian Wells 2015. Updated Singles Draw.

ATP. Indian Wells 2015. Updated Doubles Draw.

WTA. Indian Wells 2015. Updated Singles Draw.

WTA. Indian Wells 2015. Updated Doubles Draw.

Indian Wells. Thursday. Day-2. Order of Play.

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FULL RESULTS: Indian Wells 2015. Wednesday. Day-1.

ATP Qualifying Singles Final Round
Qualifying – [1] B. Coric (CRO) d B. Fratangelo (USA) 62 16 76(7)
Qualifying – [3] J. Melzer (AUT) d M. Russell (USA) 64 57 63
Qualifying – D. Novikov (USA) d [5] D. Gimeno-Traver (ESP) 63 46 76(4)
Qualifying – [8] F. Krajinovic (SRB) d [24] L. Saville (AUS) 61 76(3)
Qualifying – [9] J. Duckworth (AUS) d [18] R. Ram (USA) 26 75 64
Qualifying – [WC] M. Zverev (GER) d [11] J. Ward (GBR) 63 61
Qualifying – [15] T. de Bakker (NED) d [WC] T. Fritz (USA) 64 64
Qualifying – [19] E. Roger-Vasselin (FRA) d [WC] Y. Hanfmann (GER) 64 36 64
Qualifying – [20] V. Hanescu (ROU) d N. Basilashvili (GEO) 36 64 76(5)
Qualifying – [23] M. Berrer (GER) d [WC] M. McDonald (USA) 64 64
Qualifying – A. Bolt (AUS) d J. McGee (IRL) 63 75
Qualifying – F. Dancevic (CAN) d [PR] P. Petzschner (GER) 57 64 61

WTA Singles First Round
M. Niculescu (ROU) d A. Krunic (SRB) 62 61
D. Vekic (CRO) d [WC] L. Chirico (USA) 64 63
K. Siniakova (CZE) d [Q] E. Rodina (RUS) 63 63
S. Stephens (USA) d C. Scheepers (RSA) 75 75
M. Barthel (GER) d K. Mladenovic (FRA) 63 57 64
[Q] A. Van Uytvanck (BEL) d K. Nara (JPN) 46 63 62
M. Erakovic (NZL) d [WC] G. Min (USA) 63 61
E. Vesnina (RUS) d [Q] K. Kozlova (UKR) 63 63
[Q] D. Gavrilova (RUS) d S. Soler-Espinosa (ESP) 63 64
[WC] S. Vickery (USA) d A. Kudryavtseva (RUS) 76(6) 76(6)
[WC] I. Falconi (USA) d A. Tomljanovic (CRO) 76(6) 64
[Q] L. Arruabarrena (ESP) d M. Rybarikova (SVK) 60 61
M. Puig (PUR) d [WC] N. Gibbs (USA) 63 75
A. Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) d J. Larsson (SWE) 64 63
H. Watson (GBR) d J. Goerges (GER) 64 57 63
A. Riske (USA) d M. Lucic-Baroni (CRO) 62 63

WTA Doubles First Round
[8] A. Hlavackova (CZE) / L. Hradecka (CZE) d J. Gajdosova (AUS) / M. Torró-Flor (ESP) 61 62
L. Raymond (USA) / S. Stosur (AUS) d S. Aoyama (JPN) / R. Voracova (CZE) 75 63
S. Lisicki (GER) / A. Petkovic (GER) d H. Chan (TPE) / J. Jankovic (SRB) 61 67(4) 10-5
I. Olaru (ROU) / O. Savchuk (UKR) d B. Mattek-Sands (USA) / L. Safarova (CZE) 36 75 11-9
M. Krajicek (NED) / B. Zahlavova Strycova (CZE) d D. Jurak (CRO) / K. Koukalova (CZE) 57 75 10-6