Indian Wells third round action continues Sunday in the California desert as bottom-half seeds battle for coveted Round of 16 spots at the BNP Paribas Open. Scroll down for the rundown on all the WTA singles action from across the grounds…
For the second consecutive match, top American Jessica Pegula has stormed back from a set down to earn a hard-fought victory. On Sunday in a packed Stadium 2, the Buffalo native pushed past 26th-seeded Anastasia Potapova in a barn burner, 3-6, 6-4, 7-5.
For the first time since the summer of 2021, Pegula has engineered multiple comebacks from a set down at the same event.
Pegula was close to falling to the 21-year-old upstart. She faced a break point while serving at 4-4 in the second set, but managed to squirm out of trouble and seize the set.
In the third set Pegula had to rally again – she trailed 2-0 and 3-1, but drew even by converting her fourth break point of the sixth game to level at three-all. She then broke Potapova in the final game of the match to close the contest in two hours and 18 minutes.
“I think I started playing a little bit smarter, getting a little bit more depth on my shots,” Pegula said of her 15th win of the 2023 season. “Everything got a little bit better, but she came out playing really well – I was pretty frustrated but she’s a great player.”
Pegula, who edged Camila Giorgi in her first match (second round) at Indian Wells, 3-6, 6-1, 6-2, will face either Petra Kvitova or Jelena Ostapenka on the round of 16.
The No.3 seed is still coming to grips with her newfound elite status on tour. Pegula made her Top 10 debut after the French Open last year, and now sits at a career-high No.3 in the WTA rankings.
“My goal always when I was younger was to be No.1 in the world but I still can’t believe I’m No.3 – I don’t know it’s weird, it’s a goal, but at the same time it goes by so fast ever year,” she said. “I just try to take a moment, like with this crowd, you guys coming out means a lot.
“I try to be pretty calm on court, so sorry if I don’t give you guys a ton of energy, but you guys are my energy.”
Coco Gauff is starting to enter the phase of her career when her opponents are actually younger than her. And that’s just… weird. The sixth-seeded American is not quite sure how she feels about it, but nevertheless she is finding ways to win – as she typically does.
On the eve of her 19th birthday the American eased past Linda Noskova of the Czech Republic, 6-4, 6-3 to book a round of 16 clash with Sweden’s Rebecca Peterson.
“I felt a little pressure coming in in today’s match, to be honest with you, because of the age thing, which I’ve never thought about that in the past,” Gauff confessed in her post-match press conference.
With her victory, Gauff stretches her streak of wins against players ranked outside the Top 50 to 28, and reaches the round of 16 in the California desert for the first time.
Gauff shared a laugh with reporters in press when asked to recall her previous meeting with Peterson, who defeated Jil Teichmann in three sets earlier on Sunday. That meeting occurred more than four years ago, when Gauff was still a wide-eyed 14-year-old. Gauff vividly recalled the location of the match (Midland, Michigan) and the scoreline (6-2, 6-1) of the loss.
It wasn’t pretty, from her perspective: “She gave me a real old-school whooping,” Gauff said with a laugh. “Hopefully it’s a little bit different this time around… I have definitely grown a lot and learned a lot from then.”
It wasn’t pretty, and at times it looked downright dismal. But in the end the fighting spirit of Maria Sakkari shone through, as the Greek nudged her way past No. 27 Anna Kalinina on Stadium 2, 3-6, 6-2, 6-4.
The second career meeting between the two talents was a struggle from start to finish, but last year’s finalist eventually found her way into the round of 16 for the third time in five career BNP Paribas Open appearances.
The seventh-seeded Greek has now won seven of her last eight matches at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.
“My tennis was not good enough, I was just fighting and trying to make the balls in the court, I was missing so many balls – it doesn’t really help my game,” Sakkari told the crowd, adding: “It’s very concerning I have to say, but I gave myself another chance and I survived another day.
“We live to fight another day, I’ll try and make things better the next match.”
Sakkari hit 30 winners against 42 unforced errors; Kalinina, who double-faulted to give Sakkari match point three times in the final game of the match, hit 18 winners, 35 unforced, and tossed in a total of eight double-faults.
Sakkari will face either Karolina Pliskova or Veronika Kudermetova in the round of 16.
Switzerland’s Jil Teichmann was also a winner in early action on Sunday at Indian Wells. The Swiss backed up her second-round upset of No.9-seeded Belinda Bencic with a 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 takedown of Sweden’s Rebecca Peterson to reach the round of 16 for the first time.