Day 1 of qualifying at the BNP Paribas Open kicked off across eight stadiums on Monday, with 48 matches on the docket, 17 featuring American talent. The two-day qualifying tournament will conclude on Tuesday evening, with all qualifiers placed into the main draw, which commences on Wednesday.
Having reached the round of 16 eight years ago at Indian Wells, Australia’s Thanasi Kokkinakis knows a thing or two about adapting his game to the ever changing playing conditions at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. He did that well on Monday as he fired past Japan’s Yuichi Sugita 7-6(5), 6-3.
“He’s always a tricky player, obviously being [No.36 in the world],” Kokkinakis said after his win on Stadium 2. “It’s never gonna be easy; he keeps the ball low and flat, and it’s hard to generate a lot of pace out here, but I thought my tennis got better as the match went on. I started to find a little bit of rhythm and get loosened up and was able to hit a few winners in second set.”
Kokkinakis fired 11 aces and won 26 of 29 first-serve points to ice his victory. He will face Italy’s Matteo Arnaldi for a spot in the main draw on Tuesday.
In 2021 and 2022, American Chris Eubanks made his way through qualifying and into the main draw, reaching the second round on both occasions. This year, the 105th-ranked American has fallen at the first hurdle.
On Monday, Eubanks lost to Germany’s Maximilian Marterer, 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 on Stadium 2. An energetic crowd tried to will the American to a comeback, as he saved two match points with Marterer serving for the match at 5-3, but the hard-hitting southpaw from Nuremberg held down the fort to finish off his victory.
Marterer, ranked 156, is making his first appearance at Indian Wells since 2019. The former World No.45 reached the second round in 2018 and 2019. He will face American Emilio Nava on Tuesday.
Starting with a dub ✅
🇩🇪 Marterer def. Eubanks 6-4, 5-7, 6-3
🇵🇱 Frech def. Montgomery 7-6(4), 6-3
🇬🇧 Swan def. Jeanjean 6-2, 6-1
🇭🇺 Galfi def. Konjuh 6-3, 6-2 pic.twitter.com/VNp99yKDE6
— BNP Paribas Open (@BNPPARIBASOPEN) March 6, 2023
Elsewhere, Chile’s Cristian Garin, a former World No.17, progressed by taking out American Learner Tien, 7-5, 7-6(7), while American wild card Zachary Zvajda, a two-time USTA Boys’ 18s National Champion, took out former World No.21 Steve Johnson, 4-6, 6-4, 7-6(4).
Italy’s Francisco Passaro and Tapei’s Wu Tung-Lin also advanced in early matches on Monday, while 18-year-old Chinese Juncheng Shang defeated Yosuki Watanuki 7-6(1), 7-6(3). Last year at Indian Wells, Shang become the first Chinese player to ever play in the main draw when he made his way through qualifying.
Last year at Indian Wells, former Junior Orange Bowl champion Ashlyn Krueger made her main draw debut after fighting her way through two rounds of qualifying. This year, playing at a career-high ranking of 155, she’s on her way again.
Krueger defeated Brazil’s Laura Pigossi, the No.12 seed in the qualifying draw, 6-4 6-4 in Stadium 4 on Monday afternoon, kicking off her third BNP Paribas Open campaign with a solid performance that featured four breaks of serve from eight opportunities.
The 18-year-old qualifying wild card will face Poland’s Magdalena Frech, the World No. 106, on Tuesday for a spot in the main draw.
In other early women’s singles qualifying action at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, American Robin Montgomery fell to Frech, 7-6(4), 6-3.
It was a tough day for Taylor Townsend as well. She fell to Lesia Tsurenko 6-7, 6-1, 6-1.