Indian Wells: Day-5. ATP Round-1. WTA Round-2

Day-5 at Indian Wells featured 2nd-round singles matches from the WTA Tour and 1st-round play from the ATP World Tour. We also peppered in nine 1st-round doubles matches from both the ladies and men.

On a day riddled with lengthy battles, a few wacky results, and rinsed by desert rain – Friday’s defining moment was undoubtedly Venus Williams‘ return to Indian Wells after a 15-year hiatus. It’s strange to imagine that the Williams’ sisters youngest fans are practically a generation removed from the controversy, and have no knowledge of what happened here on March 17, 2001. READ – Drucker: The story behind the Williamses and Indian Wells.

Though Venus fell to Kurumi Nara on Stadium-1, the crowd’s reception and her beaming reaction revealed nothing but pure love. The close of a dark chapter. Sister Serena took to the court in Stadium-1’s nightcap, and hustled through to the 3rd-Round with a 6-2, 6-1 win over Laura Siegemund.

Rain was certainly a Friday headline, suspending play between 5:30 and 6:30p. Mist, sprinkles and a 20-degree plummet in temperatures would impact play through the day’s final matches, ending a few minutes shy of midnight.

Among the top-seeds, Agnieszka Radwanska undoubtedly had one of the toughest opening matches, and nearly fell to Dominka Cibulkova. Down 1-4 in the decider, Agnieszka managed to flex her on-court creativity, wave her magic wand, and once again deliver a remarkable turn-around.

Monterrey Champion Heather Watson‘s six-match win streak came to an end on Friday. She fell to another all-around wizard of on-court variety, Monica Niculescu of Romania…

Three other WTA “upsets(?)” – if you can even call them that this year – from Friday’s play included:

  • World #56 Yulia Putintseva‘s win over Kristina Mladenovic. Aside from a 3rd-round run in Melbourne, Kristina has struggled to put-together wins all season. Meanwhile Yulia will get her second-shot at World #1 Serena Williams on Sunday. She and Serena last played in Madrid three years back, where Williams won 7-6(5), 6-1.
  • Lesia Tsurenko played brilliant tennis here at Indian Wells last year. Check out her reaction after defeating Genie Bouchard to reach the 2015 Quarterfinals. On Friday, she downed Dubai Champion Sara Errani 6-4, 6-3 to reach Round-3.
  • One of the day’s craziest matches saw Barbora Strycova defeat Andrea Petkovic in a bizarre, rain-interrupted decider. Strycova shot out to a 3-love lead in the third, but Petko battled back. Barbora then served for the match up 5-4, but was broken at love to level it at 5-all. Yikes. Amazingly – and just like that – Barbora rattled off the next two games and stole the match. Needless to say, that is a tough result for Andrea Petkovic after having to retire from her Doha Semifinal vs. Jelena Ostapenko.

Day-5 on Stadium-2 can be summed up succinctly: NO ONE WANTED TO WIN EASILY. We only had one two-set win on Friday, but it ended in a second-set tie-break – after an hour-long rain-delay. We’d finish just before midnight with a victory from 35-year Michael Berrer of Germany. Here’s how Friday unfolded on Stadium-2…

PETRA KVITOVA. Round-2.

Coachless, but engaged and happy, Petra Kvitova is looking to improve on her career-best Quarterfinal run here at Indian Wells in 2013. She missed the event last year to take time away from the game before the clay season. It was a worthwhile decision. She’d return in April and win her 16th career title in Madrid. Yesterday, Montenegro’s Danka Kovinic kept her on-court for 2-hours and 26-minutes. Petra would win it 7-5 in the decider’s tie-break. As you can see from her tweet below, she knows she has to play better moving forward – but all credit to Kovinic, who didn’t show an ounce of initimidation trading strokes with a 2-time Wimbledon champion. The talent pool runs deep this year on the WTA Tour.

NEXT UP: Johanna Larsson. Petra has played the Swede twice before, nine years ago in the Czech Republic. She won both matches in straight sets.

JOHN ISNER AND MILOS RAONIC. Round-1.

Hell of a match. John Isner and Milos Raonic vs. Andy Murray and Colin Fleming. Two cannons against arguably the best returner in the game. Set-1 ended with the match’s only break, as John and Milos earned it on a deciding point behind Fleming’s serve. Murray and Fleming would level the match in the second-set’s tie-break…then fall to an Isner ace (10-8) in the match tie-break.

John and Milos only served up 3-aces apiece during the match. While Raonic clocked the fastest serve, John delivered the win. Talking with the guys after the match, John told everyone that Sam Querrey dumped him this year to team with Steve Johnson (John and Sam were finalists here in 2012). That may not have been Sam’s wisest decision – Querrey and Johnson fell to a last-second French pairing on Friday after Stan Wawrinka and Mahesh Bhupathi withdrew from the doubles draw.

GUILLERMO GARCIA-LOPEZ. Round-1.

The last time they played, Guillermo Garcia-Lopez fell to Ernests Gulbis in the 2013 St. Petersburg final. On Friday at Indian Wells, in a match that endured an hour-long rain-delay, 20-degree temperature drop, and complete change in conditions – Garcia-Lopez earned his revenge in a second-set tie-break 6-2, 7-6(2).

NEXT UP: A rematch with Feliciano Lopez. The two just played two weeks ago in Dubai’s 1st-Round, where Feli won in three 6-1, 4-6, 6-4.

DENIS KUDLA. Round-1.

This match was a streaky mess, capped with a gutty match-point from Denis Kudla. Istomin won the first three-games. Kudla then won seven in-a-row to earn the first-set and start the second. Istomin then won five consecutive games to force a decider. In the third, Kudla won the final five games to advance to Round-2 for the second time 6-3, 2-6, 6-1.

NEXT: Back in 2013, Kudla fell to Roger Federer in the 2nd-Round. On Sunday, he’ll face Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber for the first time…his fourth shot at a top-30 player this year.

MICHAEL BERRER. Round-1.

Michael Berrer is now 35-years-old. Last year, before he defeated Rafael Nadal in Doha, he told me 2015 would be his final season on tour. With two little ones back home in Stuttgart, he said it was time for the next chapter and a life that keeps him closer to home. However, with some solid performances and a realization that he was the #5 player in Germany, he recognized that by continuing to play, he’d have a chance to achieve an additional goal — representing his country at the Olympic Games. And so Michael plays on; and he continues to win. READ MORE ABOUT MICHAEL: (“A Ride with Michael Berrer in Doha”)

After winning two qualifying matches, Berrer took the court Friday against Juan Monaco, and outlasted the come-back Argentine in a near 3-hour match on Stadium-2: 7-6(5), 5-7, 6-4. Indian Wells was Juan’s third event since returning from wrist-surgery, and Friday was his longest match since his return last month. The wrist didn’t appear to be a factor at all in the match. A positive take-away for Pico despite the loss.

MICHAEL BERRER – AFTER DEFEATING RAFAEL NADAL IN 2015:

RESULTS. BNP Paribas Open 2016. Day Five. Round-2 WTA Singles.

  • [1] S. Williams (USA) d [Q] L. Siegemund (GER) 62 61
  • [3] A. Radwanska (POL) d D. Cibulkova (SVK) 63 36 75
  • [5] S. Halep (ROU) d V. King (USA) 61 61
  • [8] P. Kvitova (CZE) d D. Kovinic (MNE) 63 46 76(5)
  • [Q] K. Nara (JPN) d [10] V. Williams (USA) 64 63
  • Y. Shvedova (KAZ) d [11] L. Safarova (CZE) 63 64
  • L. Tsurenko (UKR) d [15] S. Errani (ITA) 64 63
  • C. Vandeweghe (USA) d [16] S. Kuznetsova (RUS) 64 63
  • [19] J. Jankovic (SRB) d C. Witthoeft (GER) 61 63
  • B. Strycova (CZE) d [22] A. Petkovic (GER) 57 64 75
  • [Q] N. Gibbs (USA) d [23] M. Keys (USA) 63 63
  • [Q] K. Bondarenko (UKR) d [24] A. Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) 62 67(1) 64
  • Y. Putintseva (KAZ) d [27] K. Mladenovic (FRA) 64 64
  • J. Larsson (SWE) d [29] S. Lisicki (GER) 57 64 62
  • [30] E. Makarova (RUS) d L. Hradecka (CZE) 64 64
  • [32] M. Niculescu (ROU) d [WC] H. Watson (GBR) 64 26 62

RESULTS. BNP Paribas Open 2016. Day Five. Round-1 ATP Singles.

  • [Q] B. Fratangelo (USA) d T. Gabashvili (RUS) 64 64
  • D. Kudla (USA) d D. Istomin (UZB) 63 26 61
  • G. Garcia-Lopez (ESP) d E. Gulbis (LAT) 62 76(2)
  • M. Youzhny (RUS) d A. Bedene (GBR) 75 26 63
  • [Q] J. Kovalik (SVK) d [Q] P. Herbert (FRA) 64 67(9) 76(5)
  • [Q] M. Berrer (GER) d J. Monaco (ARG) 76(5) 57 64
  • T. de Bakker (NED) d J. Vesely (CZE) 64 46 62
  • [Q] V. Millot (FRA) d [WC] M. McDonald (USA) 61 63
  • G. Muller (LUX) d V. Estrella Burgos (DOM) 75 63
  • F. Verdasco (ESP) d [Q] P. Polansky (CAN) 76(4) 63
  • A. Zverev (GER) d I. Dodig (CRO) 36 75 63
  • V. Pospisil (CAN) d [WC] J. Donaldson (USA) 76(5) 67(2) 63
  • A. Seppi (ITA) d D. Young (USA) 46 64 63
  • A. Mannarino (FRA) d L. Rosol (CZE) 46 63 64
  • J. Millman (AUS) d [Q] A. Sarkissian (USA) 62 60
  • M. Kukushkin (KAZ) d D. Munoz de la Nava (ESP) 76(1) 62

RESULTS. BNP Paribas Open 2016. Day Five. Round-1 WTA Doubles.

  • [1] M. Hingis / S. Mirza d C. Dellacqua / S. Stosur 63 75
  • D. Kasatkina / E. Vesnina d [PR] A. Rodionova / G. Voskoboeva 64 63
  • [Alt] K. Bondarenko / O. Savchuk d A. Medina Garrigues / A. Parra Santonja 76(2) 61
  • B. Mattek-Sands / C. Vandeweghe d [PR] G. Dabrowski / M. Martínez Sánchez 76(4) 75

RESULTS. BNP Paribas Open 2016. Day Five. Round-1 ATP Doubles.

  • P. Kohlschreiber / D. Thiem d R. Gasquet / B. Paire 63 46 10-4
  • T. Bellucci / G. Pella d H. Kontinen / J. Peers 76(6) 75
  • J. Isner / M. Raonic d C. Fleming / A. Murray 75 67(5) 10-8
  • R. Bautista Agut / V. Troicki d P. Cuevas / M. Granollers 26 63 10-4
  • [Alt] J. Chardy / F. Martin d S. Johnson / S. Querrey 64 63

BNP Paribas Open 2016 – Saturday Order of Play

BNP Paribas Open 2016 – Updated WTA Singles Draw

BNP Paribas Open 2016 – Updated ATP Singles Draw

BNP Paribas Open 2016 – Updated WTA Doubles Draw

BNP Paribas Open 2016 – Updated ATP Doubles Draw