Paula Badosa denied Victoria Azarenka a slice of WTA Indian Wells Open history as the former world number one failed to become the first three-time winner of the singles event after defeat in Sunday's gruelling final.

Azarenka, also a winner in 2012 and 2016, had to come back from a set and a break down in the semi-final, and for a while looked like good preparation for the battle that Badosa provided.

But in the end Badosa prevailed 7-6 (7-5) 2-6 7-6 (7-2) after three hours, four minutes on court, securing only her second title in what was just her second final of the season while becoming the first Spanish woman to claim the title in Indian Wells.

A highly competitive start saw a combined total of nine break points go to waste in the first four games alone, and when Azarenka did finally lose a service game to go 4-3 down, she emphatically hit back at the first time of asking.

She had no option but to repeat that feat soon after when Badosa broke again to take a 6-5 lead, and she duly obliged to set up a tie-break.

But Badosa got the better of two-time grand slam champion Azarenka in the tie-break, despite the latter overturning a four-point deficit to go level at 5-5.

Azarenka appeared re-energised at the start of the second set, though, charging into a 3-0 lead inside 11 minutes, her level of intensity suddenly leagues ahead of her opponent's.

Badosa only showed brief glimpses of her ability and Azarenka had few issues levelling the match, her class on full display in the fifth game as she read a wide drop shot and replied with a sensational cross-court effort.

After such a colossal fight to get back on level terms it was perhaps to be expected that Azarenka would drop off a little early on in the decider, but a bad miss from Badosa allowed the Belarussian to recover from a break and she consolidated to tie the set at 2-2.

The pair continued to slog it out thereafter with neither woman giving an inch, Badosa's often-brutal power countered nicely by Azarenka's athleticism.

But Badosa was her own worst enemy as she overhit two shots to allow Azarenka to get what looked likely to be the decisive break, but the 32-year-old failed to serve out the match and, perhaps predictably, a tie-break ultimately beckoned.

Badosa's energy reserves suddenly looked far deeper than her opponent's as she moved her around the court with almost surgical precision, her eventual 7-2 win in the tie-break speaking to the ferocity she displayed to win the comfortably biggest title of her career to date.

Victoria Azarenka is one win away from becoming the first three-time winner of the WTA Indian Wells Open after rallying past Jelena Ostapenko in the semi-finals.

After dropping the opening set, two-time Indian Wells champion Azarenka stormed back to outlast the 2017 French Open winner on Friday.

Standing in the way of Azarenka and history is Paula Badosa, who eased past Ons Jabeur in the second semi-final in the Californian desert.

 

AZARENKA RETURNS TO INDIAN WELLS FINAL

Winner of the Indian Wells Open in 2012 and 2016, Azarenka is back in the decider thanks to a stirring 3-6 6-3 7-5 comeback against fellow seed Ostapenko.

Former world number one Azarenka was down a set and a break before the 27th seed fought back to prevail over Ostapenko in two hours, 20 minutes.

By seeing off 24th seed Ostapenko, two-time grand slam champion Azarenka celebrated her 33rd match win at Indian Wells – only two women have won more matches at the tournament, Lindsay Davenport (47) and Maria Sharapova (38).

"I think my season has been tricky," Azarenka said. "There were parts where I physically couldn't necessarily bring that extra level, extra fight, which was very frustrating. Then there were parts where I felt that I was looking for something to add, and I didn't necessarily know what it was. It was a lot of searching in the season, a lot of kind of stepping into unknown.

"I feel like right now I'm a bit more settled with a bit more structure, a little bit more discipline, which makes it not necessarily easier but a bit clearer what I need to do. So it doesn't take extra energy on that, so I can kind of focus my energy more on the fighting for every ball."

 

BADOSA UPSTAGES JABEUR

Spaniard Badosa added another scalp to her name by trumping 12th seed Jabeur 6-3 6-3.

Looking to become the first Spanish woman to win the Indian Wells Open, 21st seed Badosa made light work of Jabeur.

Badosa's success means she has beaten four top-20 opponents en route to the final, having stunned Angelique Kerber in the quarter-finals.

Having won her first title earlier this year in Belgrade, Badosa will feature in her second career WTA decider.

Angelique Kerber was knocked out in the Californian desert after a straight-sets quarter-final defeat to Paula Badosa at the WTA Indian Wells Open.

Badosa, who made this year's French Open quarter-finals, squandered two match points at 5-2 in the second set against three-time grand slam champion Kerber before steadying to secure her fifth final-four appearance of the season on Thursday.

In the semi-finals, Badosa will face Tunisian 12th seed Ons Jabeur, who got past Anna Kontaveit in straight sets, confirming her historic rise into the top 10 of the rankings, as the first-ever Arab player to achieve the singles feat on either the WTA or ATP Tour.

 

KERBER TOPPLED BY BADOSA

Former world number one and 10th seed Kerber bowed out at Indian Wells, with Badosa triumphing 6-4 7-5 in 86 minutes.

In her Indian Wells debut, 21st seed Badosa responded strongly after fluffing two match points to become the first Spanish woman to make the event's semi-finals in 18 years.

"It sounds amazing," Badosa said during her on-court interview. "The second set was very mental. I wanted this match so badly. I got super nervous.

"For one second I thought who was on the other side of the net and I got more nervous against a three-time grand slam champion. It means a lot to me. It's amazing."

In the first set, Badosa broke Kerber at 4-4 before serving out the opening set where she was excellent on her first serve, staving off the German's only two break points.

The Spaniard raced to a 5-2 lead in the second set and had two match points on Kerber's serve. The experienced Kerber responded by holding serve and then breaking back, before levelling at 5-5.

But Badosa showed her mettle by winning the final two games, breaking Kerber for victory as she upped her level.

 

JABEUR SEALS TOP-10 BERTH WITH TRIUMPH

Jabeur defeated Estonian 18th seed Kontaveit 7-5 6-3 to move into the top 10 for the first time in her career.

The Tunisian will become the first Arab player to make the top 10 when the updated WTA rankings are made official on Monday, but she also qualified for the biggest semi-final of her career to date.

"It feels amazing," Jabeur said. "We've been working hard since years. When I spoke at the end of last season, I said I wanted to be in the top 10. People doubted us as a team, we proved them wrong.

"Being a top 10 means a lot but we're not going to stop here. We're going to go further hopefully."

Jabeur, who made this year's Wimbledon quarter-finals, triumphed in 86 minutes, although she did not have it all her way, in a match full of momentum swings.

The 27-year-old Jabeur had been a double break up at 4-1 in the first set before Kontaveit hit back to level at 5-5, only for her to break back immediately and serve out the set.

Jabeur broke Kontaveit to love at 3-3, rattling off the final three games, including two breaks, to secure victory and keep alive her hopes of making the WTA Finals.

Victoria Azarenka booked her spot in the Indian Wells Open semi-finals after a straight-sets victory over Jessica Pegula.

Azarenka – a two-time Indian Wells champion in 2012 and 2016 – accounted for Pegula at the WTA Premier 1000 event in the desert on Wednesday.

The former world number one will play 2017 French Open winner Jelena Ostapenko in the semi-finals after she got past American Shelby Rogers.

 

AZARENKA FLEXES TO BOOK SEMI-FINAL SPOT

Two-time Australian Open champion Azarenka won 6-4 6-2 over Pegula, who had beaten fourth seed Elina Svitolina in the fourth round.

Pegula hit 27 winners compared to Azarenka's 21 but the American had 30 unforced errors, with her 27th-seeded opponent also winning 81 per cent of first-service points to claim the edge.

"I started going for my shots from the beginning. I knew I have to apply pressure on her," Azarenka told her post-match news conference.

"I will have the moment where I will have opportunity. I think in the beginning of the match we had a lot of great rallies, a lot of points where I was like, 'Oh, maybe I got this one,' and she got me. I felt that I really just stuck to being aggressive and being consistent. I got my opportunities."

She added: "I felt that I really played well in the crucial moments. I felt like I stepped up a lot to the occasion. That's what I'm really happy with today."

 

OSTAPENKO FINISHES STRONG OVER ROGERS

Ostapenko earned her final-four spot with a see-sawing 6-4 4-6 6-3 win in two hours, 15 minutes over Rogers.

In a match that included 15 breaks of serve, Ostapenko won the final five games as she rallied to secure victory and her third semi-final of the year.

"I'm really happy to be in the semi-final. It's been a tough year for me, I've been up and down," Ostapenko – the 24th seed – said during her on-court interview. "I feel like my tennis is getting better and more consistent. Today I was trailing 3-1 in the third set and I was fighting to the last point."

Former world number five Ostapenko trailed 3-1 in the final set before finishing strong to set up a showdown with Azarenka. 

"She's a great player, great champion, such a fighter," Ostapenko said about Azarenka. "Hopefully I can just enjoy it."

Iga Swiatek was knocked out of the Indian Wells Open in the round of 16, the second seed headlining the list of casualties on Tuesday.

Swiatek was swept aside by Jelena Ostapenko in the battle between two previous French Open champions in the desert.

Elina Svitolina, reigning Roland Garros champion Barbora Krejcikova and US Open runner-up Leylah Fernandez were also sent packing from the WTA Premier 1000 event.

 

SWIATEK CRUMBLES

After top seed Karolina Pliskova was eliminated on Monday, 2020 French Open champion Swiatek crashed out following a 6-4 6-3 defeat to Ostapenko.

Ostapenko – the 2017 Roland Garros winner – rallied from a break down in each set to reach the quarter-finals at Indian Wells, where the 24th seed hit 25 winners to 21 unforced errors in 93 minutes.

"I knew it was going to be a very tough match because she's such a great player, she won a grand slam and she's playing great tennis," Ostapenko said.

Standing in the way of Ostapenko and the semi-finals is Shelby Rodgers, who edged Flushing Meadows finalist Fernandez 2-6 6-1 7-6 (7-4).

 

SVITOLINA UPSTAGED BY PEGULA

Svitolina's campaign in the desert did not go according to plan, the fourth seed crushed 6-1 6-1 by Jessica Pegula.

Pegula – the 2021 Australian Open quarter-finalist – dismantled Svitolina in just 68 minutes for her seventh last-eight appearance of the season and fourth at WTA 1000 level.

"I think I've just been making a lot of really good decisions in the right moments," said Pegula, who will face two-time grand slam champion Victoria Azarenka following her seventh top-10 victory. "That obviously comes with playing a lot of matches, winning and getting confidence... it's just been more belief that I can play at this level. I think this year, I realised that, and I've been having good results."

 

KERBER POWERS THROUGH AS KREJCIKOVA FALLS

Three-time major winner and 10th seed Kerber will feature in the quarter-finals after overpowering Ajla Tomljanovic 6-4 6-1.

Kerber will next meet 21st seed Paula Badosa, who shocked third seed and reigning French Open champion Krejcikova 6-1 7-5.

"I think I played a pretty good match today," Badosa said. "I knew I had to play on a high level against Barbora. She's an amazing player, very talented. We played before so I knew what I was going to find there on court. I'm feeling good and I'm very happy that I could play my best today."

Top seed Karolina Pliskova suffered a shock defeat while defending champion Bianca Andreescu and Coco Gauff also were on the wrong end of upsets Monday at the Indian Wells Open. 

World number 115 Beatriz Haddad Maia of Brazil stunned Pliskova in straight sets to reach the round of 16 at a WTA Premier 1000 event for the first time.

The 15th and 16th seeds, Gauff and Andreescu, also exited in two sets, albeit to seeded players. 

 

LUCKY LOSER OUSTS PLISKOVA 

Haddad Maia lost in the final round of qualifying but made the main draw as a lucky loser when Nadia Podoroska withdrew through injury, and she has made the most of that reprieve with a 6-3 7-5 defeat of the world number three. 

She had faced Pliskova once before and it did not go well, a 6-1 6-1 rout at the 2018 Australian Open, but the Czech struggled to find her trademark serve amid powerful winds in the California desert.

Pliskova suffered 12 double faults and won just 43.4 per cent of points on her serve, whole Haddad Maia saved nine of the 14 break points she faced on her own serve. 

 

KONTAVEIT STAYS HOT TO DETHRONE ANDREESCU

Haddad Maia next faces 18th seed Annett Kontaveit, who ousted Andreescu 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 to end the Canadian's dreams of a repeat. 

Kontaveit has won 15 of her last 16 matches, winning titles in Cleveland and Ostrava during that stretch. Monday, she captured the first set on her fifth set point before rallying from a 3-1 deficit in the second to run the table and seal the win.

"It was extremely close throughout the match and I was just trying to stay tough. I was ready for a tough match," Kontaveit said. "She's such a good player, such a great competitor, so I knew it wasn't going to be over until it was really over."

 

BADOSA BOUNCES GAUFF

Paula Badosa, the 21st seed, breezed past Gauff 6-2 6-2 as the American teen also had trouble with her serve, hitting just two aces after recording 12 in her previous match. 

In a meeting of the last two defeated finalists in the tournament, 10th seed Angelique Kerber beat 20th seed Daria Kasatkina 6-2 1-6 6-4. 

Third seed Barbora Krejcikova handled Amanda Anisimova with ease, 6-2 6-3. 

Ons Jabeur, the 12th seed, had little trouble in downing 22nd seed Danielle Collins 6-1 6-3. 

Elina Svitolina required a third-set tie-break to progress at the Indian Wells Open, while former world number one Victoria Azarenka handled an old rival in straight sets and Simona Halep fell victim to an upset. 

Svitolina – the fourth seed – dropped the first set to 32nd seed Sorana Cirstea before fighting back to reach the round of 16 at the WTA Premier 1000 event on Sunday.

Two-time grand-slam champion Azarenka joined Svitolina in the next round after knocking out seventh seed Petra Kvitova, but 11th seed Halep became Aliaksandra Sasnovich's latest conquest. 

 

SVITOLINA SURVIVES CIRSTEA SCARE

Svitolina needed two hours, 32 minutes to outlast Cirstea 4-6 6-4 7-6 (7-3) and remain unbeaten in three career matches against the Romanian. 

The Ukrainian was on the defensive throughout the opening set, facing 11 break points on her serve and managing to save eight of them before Cirstea finally won out. 

Svitolina tightened things up from there, saving four of five break points the rest of the match. 

"It was a very tough match today, and I was fighting and trying to find my game," said Svitolina, who will face Jessica Pegula next. "It was a bit of a rollercoaster.

"I wish I could play a little bit better in the first set, I had chances to grab that set, but unfortunately it didn't play the way I wanted. I had to fight for every point, and Sorana played a great match, I think. I'm happy that I could win today."

 

AZARENKA TAKES DOWN KVITOVA

Azarenka won her first two Tour-level matches against Kvitova in 2008 and 2009 but had prevailed only once in six meetings since then before Sunday's 7-5 6-4 triumph. 

The two-time Indian Wells champion converted break-point chances when she needed them, six of 11 in all, and had 18 unforced errors to Kvitova's 26. 

"It was important to just stay there, really take my opportunities, not to let her," Azarenka said after taking down two-time Wimbledon winner Kvitova. "If she gets in the groove in couple points, not to kind of let her extend that streak, if you want to call it that.

"I was trying to still create opportunities for myself, be more aggressive, and honestly just believing also that what I'm doing is right and see how I can execute that. So intention was good. Execution followed after."

 

ANOTHER UPSET FOR SASNOVICH

After knocking off US Open champion Emma Raducanu in the second round, Sasnovich ushered out another grand slam winner in Halep 7-5 6-4 and will next face Azarenka.

The world number 100 had 22 winners to 16 for Halep and won 61.8 per cent of points on her serve as she reached the round of 16 at Indian Wells for the first time. 

In other matches Sunday, ninth seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova fell to 23rd seed and US Open runner-up Leylah Fernandez 5-7 6-3 6-4, while second seed Iga Swiatek dropped only one game in a 6-1 6-0 demolition of Veronika Kudermetova. 

Jelena Ostapenko and Shelby Rogers also advanced. 

Garbine Muguruza could not keep the momentum going at the Indian Wells Open after winning a WTA title last week and the former world number one was followed out the door by Maria Sakkari.

Muguruza, who claimed the Chicago Fall Tennis Classic, was surprisingly upstaged 6-3 1-6 6-3 by Australia's Ajla Tomljanovic in an upset on Saturday.

Tomljanovic had been 0-6 against top-10 players this year heading into the match but had just enough to edge the fifth seed and two-time grand slam champion with some timely breaks of serve. 

The world number 47 Tomljanovic is into the third round at Indian Wells for the first time in seven appearances and next faces 26th seed Tamara Zidansek. 

"I was really looking forward to playing Garbine, because I did lose [to her] the last couple of times," Tomljanovic said in her on-court interview. "I did try to focus on that one time I beat her [in 2014], and tried to channel that energy, so I was really happy that I got through today."

GOLUBIC STUNS SAKKARI

Sixth seed Sakkari – a semi-finalist at this year's French and US Opens – also fell victim to a shock result, going out 5-7 6-3 6-2 to Viktorija Golubic in their first meeting. 

The pair kept trading service breaks in the opening set, five in all, before Golubic tightened up her game for the final two sets. 

After breaking the Swiss three times in the first set, Sakkari converted just one of four break points the rest of the match. 

Golubic had lost in the first round in her previous two trips to Indian Wells but is now on to the third, where she will face Anna Kalinskaya.

 

ANDREESCU HOLDS OFF RISKE

Former US Open champion Bianca Andreescu saw a potential straight-sets win slip away before recovering to defeat Alison Riske 7-6 (7-2) 5-7 6-2.

Andreescu – the defending champion after the 2020 WTA Premier 1000 event was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic – led 4-1 in the second set but watched her advantage evaporate as Riske forced a decider, which the Canadian ended up taking comfortably as she faced only one break point in the last. 

Top seed Karolina Pliskova eased past Magdalena Frech 7-5 6-2, while third-seeded Barbora Krejcikova was pushed to a third set before prevailing 6-4 3-6 6-1 against Zarina Diyas. 

Angelique Kerber – the 10th seed and three-time major winner – went the distance to beat Katerina Siniakova 6-1 6-7 (4-7) 7-5, while 15th seed Coco Gauff downed Caroline Garcia 6-3 6-7 (2-7) 6-1 in her debut match at the tournament. 

Ons Jabeur, the 12th seed, prevailed 6-2 6-7 (5-7) 6-3 over Anastasija Sevastova and 18th seed Anett Kontaveit – Andreescu's next opponent – moved on when Martina Trevisan retired down 6-3 5-2. 

US Open champion Emma Raducanu is refusing to be downcast after her defeat to Aliaksandra Sasnovich, insisting that she is focused on "the bigger picture".

The 18-year-old's 10-match winning run came to an abrupt halt at the Indian Wells Open – just her fifth tour-level event – as Sasnovich won in straight sets.

Sasnovich is ranked 100th in the world, but the 27-year-old has 16 career victories over opponents in the top 20, with Raducanu ranking 17th, and six over those in the top 10.

Raducanu cites the experience gap between herself and Sasnovich as a major factor in her defeat and believes that the loss can be taken as a positive lesson.

"I'm still very, very new to the tour," Raducanu said. "I think that experience just comes from playing week in, week out and experiencing all these different things. I'm kind of glad that what happened today happened, so I can learn and take it as a lesson so going forward I'll just have more experienced banked.

"[Sasnovich's] been on tour, probably been 4-2 down like hundreds of times whereas I've been 4-2 up... it's my third WTA tournament this year. [Experience] will come in time. Just got to not rush it and keep going and get my head back to the drawing board really.

"I didn't go in there putting any pressure on myself because in my mind I'm so inexperienced that I'm just taking it all in. You're going to have highs, and you're always going to have some lows where you're disappointed with how you performed.

"Aliaksandra played an extremely great match. You could tell she's more experienced than me. She went out there and executed her game plan better than I did. She deserved to win that.

"I think it's going to take me time to adjust, really, to what's going on. For the bigger picture, I'll be thanking this moment. That's the lesson I think, that you can easily get sucked into being so focused on the result and getting disappointed."

Raducanu is set to take part at the Transylvania Open that starts on October 25, as well as the Kremlin Cup in Moscow.

US Open champion Emma Raducanu was sensationally beaten in her first match following her Flushing Meadows triumph, going down in straight sets to Aliaksandra Sasnovich at the Indian Wells Open on Friday.

The Belarussian, who is currently ranked 100th, stunned the 19-year-old Briton 6-2 6-4 in one hour and 25 minutes.

Raducanu had been on a 10-match winning streak coming into her maiden Indian Wells campaign.

"I'm still so new to everything. The experiences that I'm going through right now, even though I might not feel 100 per cent amazing right now, I know they're for the greater good," Raducanu said after the defeat.

"I mean, I'm 18 years old. I need to cut myself some slack."

Raducanu, who did not drop a set during her US Open run, appeared in control early after winning the opening six points, but Sasnovich claimed the first break in the third game.

Unforced errors proved costly for Raducanu as the clean-striking Sasnovich capitalized to win the first set, before opening the second set with another break.

Raducanu responded with an immediate break back and led 4-2 in the second set, before the Belarussian hit back by winning the next four games to topple the British teenager.

"It was a really good match for me. I play really well," Sasnovich said. "I know she just won US Open. I lost there in the first round. But I tried to go on court, I tried to enjoy. I did everything right."

 

FORMER WINNER HALEP PROGRESSES

Sasnovich will face two-time Grand Slam winner Simona Halep in the third round after the Romanian defeated Marta Kostyuk 7-6 (7-2) 6-1 in one hour and 33 minutes.

The 11th seed, who split with long-time coach Darren Cahill last month amid an injury-disrupted year, was down a break early before working her way back and dominating the tiebreak.

Halep broke twice in a more controlled second set to claim victory in her 10th appearance at Indian Wells.

"I missed a lot playing tennis at this level this year because I've been injured and many months, I couldn't play matches," said Halep, who won at Indian Wells in 2015. "I came here a little more aggressive than normal and I'm trying to improve my game and myself."

 

KVITOVA CRUISES AS TOP SEEDS WIN

Two-time major winner Petra Kvitova eased into the last 32 with a 6-2 6-2 triumph over Arantxa Rus from the Netherlands.

Seventh seed Kvitova set up a showdown with two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka after she beat Magda Linette 7-5 3-0 in a walkover. Kvitova leads Azarenka 5-3 in head-to-head battles.

Second seed Iga Swiatek dominated Croatian Petra Martic 6-1 6-3 to seal her passage into the third round, while fourth seed Elina Svitolina got past Teresa Martincova 6-2 7-5.

Beaten 2021 US Open finalist Leylah Fernandez triumphed over experienced Frenchwoman Alize Cornet 6-2 6-3 and will play ninth seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the third round after she easily accounted for Madison Keys 6-3 6-1.

Emma Raducanu still has so much to improve and it is far too early to declare her a contender to win every tournament, according to Tim Henman.

The 18-year-old achieved stunning success at the US Open, winning the grand slam event as a qualifier without dropping a set.

Raducanu will play her first match since that famous Flushing Meadows triumph when she takes on Aliaksandra Sasnovich at the Indian Wells Open on Friday.

The youngster has been rated as favourite to win the tournament, which is seen as one of the most prestigious outside of the four majors.

There is already talk of her qualifying for the lucrative season-ending WTA Finals and triumphing at Wimbledon next year, having burst onto the scene in 2021 by reaching round four at All England Club.

But fellow Briton Henman urged fans to show caution with what they expect from Raducanu before her first match in 27 days against seasoned pro Sasnovich.

Raducanu has regularly discussed her lack of experience at tour level while she searches for a new coach to show her the ropes and Henman did not want to entertain discussions of her winning Wimbledon in 2022.

"I think that is probably getting a little ahead of ourselves," Henman said to talkSPORT. 

"She has shown her enormous potential by what she did in New York, but she is still so young and so inexperienced. 

"She has played so few events on the tour, let alone at grand slam level. I think it’s very easy to get ahead of ourselves.

"Regarding some of the young up and coming players, to really understand where they are at and their development, for me you get a very good insight once they have played every tournament twice.

"To put it into context, she has never played the clay court swing, she’s never played Roland Garros, she has never played the Australian Open.

"Once she has played all those events twice, then we will be able to assess where her game is at.

"Right now, it is as much about the process as the outcome and keep developing her game."

Henman, though, was in no doubt that Raducanu is a prodigious talent.

He added: "What is exciting is that she can improve in so many areas. 

"It is easy to focus on her tennis game, but she can get fitter, stronger, faster and gain experience playing at the highest level and continue improving her tennis game.

"If she does that then I think she will go on and win more tournaments in the future.

"It was a privilege to be on the side of the court for all her main draw matches and just see the quality of her tennis at close quarters.

"Her resilience mentally, her composure and the consistency was incredible. To win 20 straight sets to qualify and win a grand slam is unprecedented in our sport, it was a real pleasure to watch."

While Raducanu received a first-round bye, Sasnovich had an easy opener as she beat Maria Camila Osorio Serrano in straight sets.

The Belarusian has never won a WTA Tour event or reached the last eight of a major.

Kim Clijsters' first appearance at the Indian Wells Open in a decade did not last long, the two-time champion eliminated in the opening round.

Clijsters remains winless since coming out of retirement on the WTA Tour, falling 6-1 2-6 6-2 to Katerina Siniakova on Thursday. 

A four-time grand slam champion, the 38-year-old Clijsters has lost all five of her singles matches since her return last year. 

"I think overall, there's definitely moments where I'm feeling really good out there, and there's moments where I feel too inconsistent," Clijsters – a winner at Indian Wells in 2003 and 2005 – told reporters.

"That's part of this process in general, it's not going to be a smooth ride, and that's what I'm going to try to improve every time I'm out there."

World number 53 Siniakova converted six of nine break points on Clijsters' serve and moved on to face 10th seed Angelique Kerber at the WTA Premier 1000 event.

 

GOLUBIC HOLDS OFF VONDROUSOVA

The day's only duel between top-50 players saw world number 46 Viktorija Golubic outlast 37th-ranked Marketa Vondrousova 6-1 4-6 6-3. 

Both players struggled with their own service games, combining for three aces and 17 double faults, but it was the Swiss who managed to convert on eight of 14 break-point chances and come out on top. 

It was Golubic's first win against a player in the top 50 since joining those ranks herself in July; she had been 0-3 against them since then. 

 

GARCIA RALLIES PAST FLIPKENS, RISKE GETS RARE INDIAN WELLS WIN

Caroline Garcia fought back to defeat Kirsten Flipkens 5-7 6-4 6-0 in a match that took two hours, nine minutes to complete, firing seven aces and winning 71.2 per cent of points on her first serve. 

The Frenchwoman, who had been upset by qualifiers at her two previous tournaments in Ostrava and Chicago, meets 15th seed Coco Gauff in the second round. 

Alison Riske celebrated a victory for just the second time in seven trips to Indian Wells, cruising past qualifier Liang En-shuo 6-2 6-2 to set up a second-round matchup against 16th seed and former US Open champion Bianca Andreescu. 

Former US Open champion Sloane Stephens had to come from behind to progress against Heather Watson after almost three hours in the Indian Wells Open first round.

Stephens, who is currently ranked 73rd in the world, having been number three on the WTA Tour in 2018, triumphed 6-7 (5-7) 7-5 6-1 over Watson in two hours, 50 minutes on Wednesday.

In a see-sawing match, there were six breaks in the opening set, as Watson got the edge early on Stephens' serve at the WTA Premier 1000 event.

Stephens steadied by claiming a late break in the second to level the match, before dominating the third set.

Playing at her 10th Indian Wells Open, Stephens won seven consecutive games after the match was 5-5 in the second set.

"After the first set, that was disappointing to lose that one, but I felt like it was a battle and I was still in the match," Stephens said. "I knew I had to keep fighting and that's what I did, and I'm just really pleased to have squeaked out a win here."

 

KEYS ON SONG IN OPENER

Former world number seven Madison Keys moved through to the second round with a 6-0 7-5 win over fast-finishing Estonian veteran Kaia Kanepi.

American Keys won 21 consecutive points as part of a streak where she clinched the first nine games of the match, withstanding Kenapi's late push.

Keys will take on Russian ninth seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova for a spot in the third round.

 

SAMSONOVA, MARTIC, ROGERS AND PUTINTSEVA PROGRESS

Liudmila Samsonova, who made the fourth round at Wimbledon earlier this year, needed more than two hours to get past Ukrainian qualifier Kateryna Kozlova 6-4 7-6 (8-6).

Samsonova will face countrywoman and 25th seed Veronika Kudermetova in the second round.

Petra Martic won through to take on second seed Iga Swiatek with a 6-4 6-4 victory over American wildcard Katie Volynets.

Ash Barty's US Open conqueror Shelby Rogers claimed her 25th win for the year, getting past Ukrainian Anhelina Kalinina 7-6 (7-2) 6-2, while Yulia Putintseva won 7-6 (7-2) 6-1 over experienced German Andrea Petkovic to set up a showdown with fellow Kazakh player and 13th seed Elena Rybakina.

Emma Raducanu said she will not be rushed into appointing a new coach as the US Open champion prepares to make her Indian Wells debut this week.

Teen sensation Raducanu made history when she became the first qualifier to win a grand slam title at Flushing Meadows last month.

The 18-year-old split from coach Andrew Richardson following her stunning triumph in New York, revealing she wants to work with someone who has greater WTA Tour experience. 

Raducanu will work with Jeremy Bates, the Lawn Tennis Association's national coach, when she plays her first tournament as a major champion at the Indian Wells Open in California.

The Brit, who will face Maria Camila Osorio Serrano or Aliaksandra Sasnovich first up after being given a bye into the second round, will take her time to mull over who will be her permanent coach.

She said in a press conference on Tuesday: "Jeremy is part of women's tennis at the LTA so while he's here he's helping me out.

"But going forwards I'm just going to wait and find the right person, I'm not going to rush into anything. I want to make sure I make the right decision.

"Even though I'm quite young I've got a lot of experience banked and at the end of the day you're out there on your own and you have to be your own coach on the court, so I'm pretty comfortable."

Raducanu is relishing being back in action after a whirlwind few weeks off the court following her US Open heroics.

"I'm very excited to be here," Raducanu added.

"It's my first time playing in Indian Wells, and it's a beautiful place. I just can't wait to get started. I love the facilities, everything is just so nice to be around.

"I don't really want to change anything. What got me to this point is not thinking anything differently so if I put additional thoughts in my head then that will just create a problem I think. I'm just going to keep going about my business and staying the same.

"It's been a very cool three weeks. I got to experience some great things that I probably never would have got to do before but after that I just went straight back to training and focusing on this competition and the upcoming ones that I've got lined up."

Aryna Sabalenka will not play at Indian Wells after announcing she has tested positive for coronavirus.

In an Instagram Story post, the world number two revealed she feels "okay" while isolating after her COVID-19 result, though is "really sad" not to be playing in the tournament this year.

Sabalenka had been due to return to action for the first time since losing at the semi-final stage of the US Open last month.

"Unfortunately, I've tested positive at Indian Wells and won’t be able to compete," the Belarusian posted on Sunday.

"I've started my isolation and I’ll be staying here until I’m cleared by the doctors and health officials. So far I'm feeling okay but really sad to not be able to play this year."

The absence of Sabalenka is a further blow for the event, considering world number one Ash Barty had already pulled out.

Naomi Osaka is another big-name absentee, along with Serena Williams, while the men's edition is minus Novak Djokovic after the five-time champion opted to withdraw.

Emma Raducanu will be involved, however, after the US Open champion accepted a wild card, while Kim Clijsters has done the same as she prepares to continue her comeback with a first appearance at Indian Wells in a decade.

Andy Murray is a wild-card entrant for the men's tournament, with the main draw beginning on Wednesday.

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