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Rediff.com  » Sports » Indian Wells PHOTOS: Pospisil, Muguruza stunned; Yuki, Kvitova advance

Indian Wells PHOTOS: Pospisil, Muguruza stunned; Yuki, Kvitova advance

Last updated on: March 10, 2018 16:57 IST

Japan's Taro Daniel celebrates his win over Great Britain's Cameron Noorie during the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, California, on Friday

IMAGE: Japan's Taro Daniel celebrates his win over Great Britain's Cameron Noorie during the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, California, on Friday. Photograph: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Teenage qualifier Felix Auger-Aliassime scored a superb 6-2, 7-6(4) first-round victory over fellow Canadian Vasek Pospisil at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California on Friday.

 

The 17-year-old displayed lightning-quick footwork in his bright pink shoes, and delighted the packed crowd with his formidable serve and powerful forehand.

He pounded down 11 aces and saved all three break points he faced en route to his first career victory.

"To come here, beat one of my growing idols, Vasek, it felt kind of surreal at first," Montreal-born Auger-Aliassime told Tennis Channel.

"All the emotions kicked in. I was trying to stay calm the whole second set, the whole tiebreak. After I let everything go. It felt great."

Auger-Aliassime, the youngest player in the men's draw and who shares a birthday with Roger Federer (August 8), will face another Canadian in the second round, 32nd seed Milos Raonic.

"It's quite funny to see these guys in my draw," he said.

"I used to watch these guys on TV growing up, and now to stand in front of them, it's crazy, but I guess that's where my level is at right now and I'm just enjoying it."

Another teenager enjoying the winning feeling on Friday was 19-year-old Australian wild card Alex de Minaur, who beat 56th-ranked German Jan-Lennard Struff 3-6, 7-6(3), 7-6(5).

De Minaur, ranked 141st, started the year by making the final of the Sydney International, where he lost to Daniil Medvedev. He also took Alexander Zverev to five sets before losing a deciding tiebreak in a Davis Cup tie against Germany in early February.

His Davis Cup teammate Nick Kyrgios withdrew on Friday ahead of his first match, citing an on-going right elbow injury.

Kyrgios, who has not played since the Davis Cup tie, was scheduled to play Medvedev on Saturday but has been replaced by lucky loser Matteo Berrettini.

In other matches, wild card Ernesto Escobedo beat fellow American Frances Tiafoe 7-5, 6-3, while lucky loser Dudi Sela of Israel edged German Peter Gojowczyk 6-4, 6-4.

India's Yuki Bhambri fought his way to a straight sets win over experienced Frenchman Nicolas Mahut in a men's singles first round match.

Bhambri, ranked 110, defeated World No. 101 Mahut 7-5, 6-3 in one 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 another Frenchman Lucas Pouille, who got a first round bye. Pouille reached a career-high 12th in the ATP rankings earlier this month.

Czech Republic's Petra Kvitova celebrates after defeating Kazakhstan's Yulia Putintseva on Day 5 of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California, on Friday

IMAGE: Czech Republic's Petra Kvitova celebrates after defeating Kazakhstan's Yulia Putintseva on Day 5 of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California, on Friday. Photograph: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

American qualifier Sachia Vickery completed an astonishing comeback to stun third seed Garbine Muguruza 2-6, 7-5, 6-1 in a second-round win at the BNP Paribas Open in California on Friday.

Seemingly down and out trailing 3-0 in the second set, Vickery raised her game, brought the Indian Wells centre court crowd alive and eventually wore down an increasingly frustrated Muguruza.

The Spaniard crumpled in the third set as 100th-ranked Vickery clinched the biggest win of her young career.

"I've just worked so hard for so many years and I've always been so close but just could never really get over that hump," 22-year-old Vickery said in an on-court interview.

"This is just the most amazing night of my life and I couldn't be happier.

"Honestly I couldn't believe it. I just tried to fight every point and just hang in there. The crowd was amazing and got behind me."

Earlier, Petra Kvitova survived a marathon match against Dulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan to emerge with a 6-7(4), 7-6(3) 6-4 win.

After capturing her 21st and 22nd career titles in St Petersburg and Doha, ninth seed Kvitova was not at her best, mixing 66 winners with 78 unforced errors.

The twice Wimbledon champion finally triumphed in three hours and 17 minutes as a frustrated Putintseva smashed her racket on the court after coming so close to an upset.

"It’s kind of tough to explain, because it was really up-and-down," Kvitova told reporters after her 14th straight victory, matching the longest steak of her career.

"My mental side wasn’t really tough, I have to say. It was always, like, a good point and I was up mentally, and then it was a bad point, and I was down. That was almost all match.

"I couldn’t show the game which I played the last few weeks."

Next up for Kvitova will be 16-year-old American wild card Amanda Anisimova, who dominated Russian 23rd seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-4, 6-1.

Anisimova, the US Open junior champion, ended the match with an audacious and perfectly executed drop shot.

Romanian top seed Simona Halep used a superior serve to beat Czech Kristyna Pliskova 6-4, 6-4 on a day when nine seeds were beaten, including Agnieszka Radwanska (31).

Radwanska was beaten by Japan's Naomi Osaka, who continued her barnstorming form with a 6-3 6-2 victory two days after ousting former world number one Maria Sharapova.

Osaka, 20, dominated on first serve, and also broke four times.

Her next opponent will be Vickery.

Johanna Konta (11), Ashleigh Barty (16), Svetlana Kuznetsova (19), Elise Mertens (22), Barbora Strycova (25) and Agnieszka Radwanska (31) were all eliminated.

Briton Konta fell to Czech teenager Marketa Vondrousova 7-6(5), 6-4, while Australian Barty was beaten 6-4, 6-2 by Maria Sakkari of Greece.

Belgian Mertens fell to China's Wang Qiang 4-6, 6-3, 6-3.

Russian Kuznetsova, last year's runner-up, was ousted 6-4, 6-3 by Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus and Czech Strycova also went out in straight sets, 7-5, 6-4, to Petra Martic of Croatia.

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