Later in the afternoon over on Stadium 2, Russian Anna Kalinskaya overwhelmed American Asia Muhammad with a 6-1, 6-2 victory that took less than an hour to complete. Muhammad was unable to get much of her game going and struggled to keep pace with Kalinskaya’s attacking ground strokes, which kept her consistently on the defensive.
The 22-year-old Kalinskaya, who is currently ranked World No. 151, was firing on all cylinders under the sun on a balmy day at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. She won a tremendous 82% (23/28) of her first service points and controlled the court throughout almost all of the points during her straight-set win.
The stage is set for the Russian to make an impact here in Tennis Paradise, as only Australia’s Priscilla Hon stands in the way of a coveted main draw berth for Kalinskaya. While she has won one doubles title on the WTA Tour, she is still searching for a similarly signature win in singles.
The qualifying rounds got underway on Monday at the 2021 BNP Paribas Open, where American Reese Brantmeier advanced via a 7-5, 6-2 upset win over No.155-ranked Katie Boulter of the United Kingdom.
Brantmeier, who is one of the biggest underdogs of the entire tournament, is just 16 years old and ranked outside the top-1000 on the WTA Tour. She had a tall task on Monday morning, facing an experienced Boulter who has won five singles and four doubles titles on the ITF Women’s Circuit. Amazingly, the young American looked like the poised veteran of the pair, winning more than 80% of her first service points and maintaining a quick but effective pace that appeared to ware down the 25-year-old Brit.
Brantmeier will now look to call on her junior success as she continues her already impressive showing in the desert. She is the 2019 United States 16s national champion, as well as finishing as the runner-up in the 2018 tournament to Ashlynn Krueger. While Brantmeier has yet to realize similar success on the professional tour, she has the perfect opportunity to make her name known to the fans in Tennis Paradise.
Italian Martina Trevisan put on a tremendous display of shot-making and attacking tennis in her first round qualifying matchup against American Hailey Baptiste. The World No. 66 advanced on Monday afternoon with a convincing 6-2, 6-4 straight-set triumph.
Trevisan is most certainly a name to watch from qualifying this week, as she currently holds her career-high ranking and is playing some of the best tennis of her career. The 27-year-old has long been searching for her WTA Tour breakthrough performance, as she hopes to replicate an accomplished ITF career that includes 10 singles titles. What a story it would be, if she could put a run together under the bright lights of Tennis Paradise.
For the American Baptiste, it was tough sledding throughout her matchup against the more experienced Italian. She put five aces past Trevisan but converted only 54% (33/61) of her first serves.
Trevisan will next take on surprise day one winner Reese Brantmeier with a spot in the 2021 BNP Paribas Open main draw on the line.
What a first performance in Tennis Paradise it was for American Usue Maitane Arconada, who after winning an action-packed opening set 6-3, put it all together for a commanding 6-0 finish over Arina Rodionova.
The 22-year-old American, who has shown glimpses of her potential greatness in the past including a recent ITF Singles title at UC Berkeley earlier this month, completed one of the finest matches of her career during opening day in the desert. While the Russian-American Rodionova was the higher-ranked player (World No. 154), Arconada was not to be denied in her opening round qualifying match.
By holding Rodionova to just a 50% conversion rate in first service points, the young American was able to attack from all over the court and disrupt her rythm throughout the match. Now with one match under her belt, Arconada will take on Brazilian Beatriz Haddad-Maia with a 2021 main draw spot waiting in the balance.