Some of the most exciting players on the WTA have exited the BNP Paribas Open with surprising early departures. The biggest upset of the day was world No.2 Angelique Kerber was sent packing by a fearless and composed Denisa Allertova 7-5 7-5. The No.64-ranked Czech had only notched one win against a Top 5 player in her career, taking out Halep last year in Guangzhou, and was playing in her first main draw match at Indian Wells. But she didn’t let the occasion – or Kerber’s rock solid tennis – get to her.
The last time American Christina McHale beat a Top 5 player was in 2012 at the BNP Paribas Open. It took until Saturday for McHale to add another Top 5 victim, as she beat No. 4 Garbine Muguruza 7-5, 6-1 in the second round of the BNP Paribas Open.
“Obviously it’s been a while since I had a win like that, so it definitely feels really good,” McHale said. “I didn’t think it was four years ago. For me it doesn’t feel like it’s been that long. You have a lot of ups and downs throughout your career, and I hope that it won’t be another four years before I have another Top 5 win.”
Venus Williams fairytale return to the Indian Wells tournament she hasn’t played in since 2001 was bitter-sweet. After being greeted by a raucous standing ovation as the Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back” blasted from the stadium speakers, Venus took a moment to enjoy the moment ten she took the court but she was unable to get the result she wanted, losing 6-4, 6-3 to Kurumi Nara. The match was played in cold and windy conditions, interrupted once by a lengthy rain delay. Nara played a smart, consistent match, while Venus struggled to get her big serve going in the wind.
No.21 seed Sloane Stephens has already won two titles so far this year and owns an impressive 11-1 record in 2016 while Eugenie Bouchard has reached the finals at two events after a well-documented 2015 drought. But it was Bouchard who would take this one 7-5, 7-5 after a hard-fought hour and forty-one minutes. Next up for Bouchard, a third round clash with Timea Bacsinszky.
Other notable departures…
No.11 Lucie Safarova loses to Yaroslava Shvedova 3-6, 4-6
No.15 Sara Errani loses to Lesia Tsurenko 4-6, 3-6
No.16 Svetlana Kuznetsova loses to Coco Vandeweghe 4-6, 3-6.
No.19 Sabine Lisicki loses to Johanna Larsson 7-5, 4-6, 2-6
No.20 Caroline Wozniacki loses to Shuai Zhang 6-4, 6-7, 5-7.
No.23 Madison Keys loses to [Q] Nicole Gibbs 3-6, 3-6