Friday the 13th. Day-3 of the 2015 BNP Paribas Open will be remembered as the day Serena Williams delivered on a promise to herself: To never harbor resentment and always persevere. Obviously, she has over-delivered on the latter part of that promise throughout her career; just enter the library that houses her resume. But like the rest of us, resentment is another story.
It’s hard to forgive – let alone forget – being jeered and shunned by tens of thousands at a high-profile event in one’s home state when only 19-years-old. The fact that some taunts were racially motivated adds fuel to the fire. No one would blame Serena for never returning to a tournament she actually WON over Kim Clijsters in 2001, despite the hostile environment. That is…no one but Serena.
Serena Williams’ decision to “leave the past in the past” and move forward is inspiring, regardless of race, gender, shoe-size, etc. It’s bold strength of character and an example of unquestionable contentment with self – reminding all admirers to double and triple check that internal, subliminal list of people who we feel have ‘done us wrong.’ Is the resentment worth it? Does it even mattter? Could we actually be stronger, provide a more positive example, and find deeper contentment by choosing to relinquish resentment’s leash?
Tough questions. Serena found all of her answers the moment she walked on Stadium Court Friday night in Indian Wells. The ovation was deafening…and I was on Stadium-2 with Youzhny and Hanescu.
While Serena’s storyline dominated Day-3, tennis turned emotional on Stadium-2 as well Friday. Jack Sock’s 3-set win over Yen-Hsun Lu led to tears and raw gratitude over his brother’s survival from an agressive throat infection last month. Winners on 2 Friday included Jack, Dolgopolov, Steve Johnson, Victor Hanescu, Varvara Lepchenko and 2012 Indian Wells Finalists John Isner and Sam Querrey.
- A. Dolgopolov (UKR) d [Q] F. Dancevic (CAN) 62 75
- S. Johnson (USA) d M. Granollers (ESP) 62 63
- J. Sock (USA) d Y. Lu (TPE) 67(4) 62 75
-  V. Lepchenko (USA) d [WC] S. Vickery (USA) 64 61
- [Q] V. Hanescu (ROU) d M. Youzhny (RUS) 63 64
- J. Isner (USA) / S. Querrey (USA) d R. Bautista Agut (ESP) / H. Kontinen (FIN) 67(4) 64 10-6
From our post match interviews:
After his win over Frank Dancevic, I told Alex Dolgopolov: “I’m not sure if you realize this, but after winning the doubles title here in 2011 and after your upset of Rafa last year…you’re kind of a big deal here at Indian Wells.” Stadium-2 showed plenty of love to “The Dog” during his dominance of the Canadian, and based on the draw, he could do some serious damage here again. Both Raonic and Rafa are in his quarter…two players he took down last year before falling to Federer in the semifinals. Next for Alex: Santiago Giraldo. Dolgopoplov won their last match two years agao at Wimbledon.
Despite playing six events in 2015, Steve Johnson has only lost to three players. Kevin Anderson has beaten him three times, Kei Nishikori twice and Ivo Karlovic took him down in Delray Beach. Steve’s win over Marcel Granollers was his first Indian Wells main-draw win in four attempts. Needless to say, he was stoked with the outcome, being a standout USC alum from Southern California…AND needless to say, he was pretty humbled to see this year’s draw, realizing he’d have to play Ivo Karlovic again should be make it past Granollers. During our conversation, Steve shrugged it off, assessing Ivo’s game simply: “Yeah, he’s kinda tall…has a pretty good serve. We’ll see how it goes…”
Jack Sock delivered a scrappy, sloppy, come-from-behind win over Yen-Hsun Lu to advance. It was his first competitive match since hip-surgery in December, and his first match since nearly losing his brother Eric to an unusual throat infection in December. Emotional during our interview, Jack dedicated the win to Eric and talked about how grateful he is to be back on court competing. Jack totally shredded his left shoe during the match, as well – it was a Curt Schilling bloody sock moment. He shrugged it off, saying he was so focused on not blowing the match in the third, the bloody toe was the last thing on his mind. He’ll face Gilles Muller in the second round.
Varvara Lepchenko crushed Sasha Vickery during their previous match in Stanford. Vickery proved a much stronger opponent here in Indian Wells during their 2nd-Round match, though she faded in the second set as Lepchenko found her stride. Varvara started the season strong with a SF appearance in Brisbane and a 3rd-round finish in Melbourne…but then disappeared until last week in Monterrey. She said after the Australian Open she became terribly sick, got injured, and was very thankful to be back in rhythm playing at full strength. In Round-3, Varvara will have to get past Simona Halep- who has already won two titles this year.
Victor Hanescu won Stadium-2’s fifth match on Friday over Mikhail Youzhny. Victor has struggled in qualies all year. The win was his first main-draw tour-level win of 2015, and despite the fact that Serena Williams was set to take Stadium Court against Monica Niculescu, there were plenty of Romanians in attendance to celebrate with him. Before he raced to the locker room to cheer on Monica, he ackowledged that his second round opponent will be a tough one. He plays Italian Andreas Seppi, who upset Roger Federer at the Australian Open in January.
Friday’s final match on Stadium-2 saw John Isner and Sam Querrey push past Roberto Bautista-Agut and Henri Kontinen in a match tie-break. Even with Serena’s match on the other side of the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, hundreds were still here cheering on “Quizner.” Their opponents returned brilliantly and truly controlled most of the match, but as John said afterwards: “We basically just started hitting the ball as hard as we possibly could…and it worked out for us.” John and Sam have been semifinalists here many times, Finalists in 2012, and will have to face doubles greats Ivan Dodig and Marcelo Melo next. A quick hats off to Kontinen who came into the match 9-0 since the Australian Open. After Melbourne, the hard-serving Fin won titles in Marseille, Zagreb and delivered a huge Davis Cup doubles win for his country in their victory over Monaco.
FULL RESULTS: Indian Wells 2015. Friday. Day-3.
ATP Singles First Round
S. Bolelli (ITA) d T. Bellucci (BRA) 62 67(3) 64
A. Dolgopolov (UKR) d [Q] F. Dancevic (CAN) 62 75
A. Golubev (KAZ) d D. Brown (GER) 67(4) 63 76(3)
N. Kyrgios (AUS) d [WC] D. Kudla (USA) 64 75
M. Jaziri (TUN) d T. Ito (JPN) 75 61
[Q] M. Berrer (GER) d V. Estrella Burgos (DOM) 63 57 64
D. Young (USA) d P. Carreno Busta (ESP) 63 64
I. Sijsling (NED) d [Q] F. Krajinovic (SRB) 64 36 62
R. Haase (NED) d [Q] A. Bolt (AUS) 64 62
M. Klizan (SVK) d P. Andujar (ESP) 76(4) 63
S. Johnson (USA) d M. Granollers (ESP) 62 63
S. Stakhovsky (UKR) d S. Querrey (USA) 26 64 62
D. Istomin (UZB) d [WC] A. Krajicek (USA) 76(5) 64
J. Sock (USA) d Y. Lu (TPE) 67(4) 62 75
[Q] V. Hanescu (ROU) d M. Youzhny (RUS) 63 64
D. Schwartzman (ARG) d J. Janowicz (POL) 64 36 76(3)
ATP Doubles First Round
 I. Dodig (CRO) / M. Melo (BRA) d L. Kubot (POL) / S. Wawrinka (SUI) 76(1) 62
S. Bolelli (ITA) / F. Fognini (ITA) d  J. Benneteau (FRA) / E. Roger-Vasselin (FRA) 62 63
[WC] T. Kokkinakis (AUS) / A. Murray (GBR) d  J. Rojer (NED) / H. Tecau (ROU) 63 75
P. Carreno Busta (ESP) / R. Nadal (ESP) d P. Cuevas (URU) / D. Marrero (ESP) 62 61
R. Klaasen (RSA) / L. Paes (IND) d A. Qureshi (PAK) / M. Raonic (CAN) 76(3) 63
D. Ferrer (ESP) / F. Verdasco (ESP) d [PR] G. Dimitrov (BUL) / M. Fish (USA) 63 64
J. Isner (USA) / S. Querrey (USA) d R. Bautista Agut (ESP) / H. Kontinen (FIN) 67(4) 64 10-6
WTA Singles Second Round
 [WC] S. Williams (USA) d M. Niculescu (ROU) 75 75
 S. Halep (ROU) d [Q] D. Gavrilova (RUS) 26 61 62
 A. Radwanska (POL) d A. Riske (USA) 63 61
 E. Makarova (RUS) d E. Vesnina (RUS) 64 60
 L. Safarova (CZE) d M. Barthel (GER) 64 76(4)
 C. Suárez Navarro (ESP) d M. Puig (PUR) 61 61
S. Stephens (USA) d  A. Kerber (GER) 76(6) 62
 K. Pliskova (CZE) d [Q] L. Arruabarrena (ESP) 63 75
A. Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) d  B. Zahlavova Strycova (CZE) 63 63
 G. Muguruza (ESP) d [WC] I. Falconi (USA) 46 62 63
 S. Kuznetsova (RUS) d K. Siniakova (CZE) 76(2) 62
 E. Svitolina (UKR) d [Q] A. Van Uytvanck (BEL) 46 76(4) 61
 V. Lepchenko (USA) d [WC] S. Vickery (USA) 64 61
 T. Bacsinszky (SUI) d M. Erakovic (NZL) 46 63 62
 Z. Diyas (KAZ) d D. Vekic (CRO) 63 63
H. Watson (GBR) d  C. Giorgi (ITA) 75 75
WTA Doubles First Round
[WC] S. Stephens (USA) / T. Townsend (USA) d  R. Kops-Jones (USA) / A. Spears (USA) 64 26 10-8
[WC] D. Hantuchova (SVK) / K. Knapp (ITA) d J. Goerges (GER) / A. Groenefeld (GER) 61 64
[PR] S. Peer (ISR) / V. Zvonareva (RUS) d L. Arruabarrena (ESP) / A. Medina Garrigues (ESP) 16 63 10-8