Halep, Pliskova advance, Muguruza suffers shock defeat
India’s Yuki Bhambri fought his way to a straight-sets win over experienced Frenchman Nicolas Mahut in the men’s singles first round at the BNP Paribas Open here.
Bhambri, ranked 110, defeated World No. 101 Mahut 7-5, 6-3 in an hour and 41 minutes. It was their first meeting on the ATP tour and both had qualified for the main draw.
The Indian next faces Lucas Pouille, who got a first-round bye. Pouille reached a career-high rank of 12 earlier this month.
World No. 1 Simona Halep and fifth seed Karolina Pliskova eased through their openers, but reigning Wimbledon champ Garbine Muguruza bit the dust in the California desert.
Halep beat Karolina’s sister Kristyna Pliskova 6-4, 6-4 while Karolina eased past Irina-Camelia Begu 7-6(4), 6-1 to reach the third round.
Muguruza became the first major casualty of the event, suffering a shock 2-6, 7-5, 6-1 defeat to World No. 100 Sachia Vickery.
“It slipped away a little bit from me,” said Muguruza. “I’m going to learn a lot from this match. I’m going to watch it and I’m going to see what went wrong.”
Muguruza had five double faults and had her serve broken five times in the two hour, 11 minute night match.
Crowd favourite Vickery posted her first career win over a top 10 player as she served masterfully and controlled the rallies with her ground strokes.
“The atmosphere really helped me even though I was feeling it a bit physically. I kept telling myself ‘just do your best’,” said the 22-year-old, who is making her second appearance in Indian Wells.
Halep roared into the third round by overpowering Kristyna in straight sets.
The 26-year-old Romanian will meet USA wildcard Caroline Dolehide who beat Dominika Cibulkova, of Slovakia, 5-7, 6-3, 6-4.
Caroline Wozniacki will play her first match of the tournament on Saturday against qualifier Lara Arruabarrena.
Halep won three out of the final four games in the second set, claiming victory when her opponent sailed a forehand long on the first match point.
Elsewhere, ninth seed Petra Kvitova won her 14th straight match to equal the longest winning streak of her career by outlasting Yulia Putintseva 6-7(4), 7-6(3), 6-4.
The results: Women: Second round: Simona Halep bt Kristyna Pliskova 6-4, 6-4; Wang Qiang bt Elise Mertens 4-6, 6-3, 6-3; Kristina Mladenovic bt Samantha Stosur 7-5, 7-5; Aryna Sabalenka bt Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-4, 6-3; Marketa Vondrousova bt Johanna Konta 7-6 (5), 6-4; Naomi Osaka bt Agnieszka Radwanska 6-3, 6-2; Coco Vandeweghe bt Kaia Kanepi 6-0, 7-6(6); Petra Kvitova bt Yulia Putintseva 6-7(4), 7-6(3), 6-4; Petra Martic bt Barbora Zahlavova Strycova 7-5, 6-4; Amanda Anisimova bt Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-4, 6-1; Zhang Shuai bt Sofia Kenin 6-2, 6-3; Maria Sakkari bt Ashleigh Barty 6-4, 6-2; Jelena Ostapenko bt Belinda Bencic 6-4, 3-6, 6-1; Caroline Dolehide bt Dominika Cibulkova 5-7, 6-3, 6-4; Karolina Pliskova bt Irina-Camelia Begu 7-6(4), 6-1; Sachia Vickery bt Garbine Muguruza 2-6, 7-5, 6-1.
Men: First round: Felix Auger-Aliassime bt Vasek Pospisil 6-2, 7-6(4); Ernesto Escobedo bt Frances Tiafoe 7-5, 6-3; Yuki Bhambri bt Nicolas Mahut 7-5, 6-3; Marcos Baghdatis bt Yoshihito Nishioka 7-5, 3-6, 7-5; Joao Sousa bt Mikhail Youzhny 4-6, 6-4, 7-6(4); Tennys Sandgren bt Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-3, 2-1 retired; Taro Daniel bt Cameron Norrie 6-3, 1-6, 6-1; Gael Monfils bt Matthew Ebden 6-3, 6-3; Pierre-Hugues Herbert bt Gilles Simon 6-7(8), 7-6(5), 6-3; Marton Fucsovics bt Viktor Troicki 7-6(3), 6-1; Alex de Minaur bt Jan-Lennard Struff 3-6, 7-6(3), 7-6(5); Thomas Fabbiano bt Bradley Klahn 6-4, 6-4; Leonardo Mayer bt Victor Estrella Burgos 4-6, 6-4, 6-1; Dudi Sela bt Peter Gojowczyk 6-4, 6-4; Tim Smyczek bt Laslo Djere 6-3, 6-2; Mischa Zverev bt Mikhail Kukushkin 6-3, 4-6, 6-1.