Indian Wells: Weekend Recap
At the conclusion of the first week at the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells, seeds have begun to fall and young players are beginning to emerge.
In a thrilling two-and-a-half-hour match, the 25-year-old American-born Japanese player Taro Daniel beat tenth seed Novak Djokovic. The Serb was rattled; he explained: “For me it felt like first match I ever played on the tour. Very weird. I mean, I just completely lost rhythm, everything. Just struggled also a little bit with the health the last couple of weeks. But yeah, it was just – I was grateful to be out on the court after surgery that quickly.”
He did take time to congratulate his opponent, who himself admitted that the Djokovic he defeated was not near top form: “The Djokovic I know is like the Djokovic I have seen on TV, and he never misses a ball. He puts the ball wherever he wants. Today, obviously he was missing a lot of balls, but, I mean, even then you still have to beat him. Especially, you know, in a crowd like this, it's pretty amazing to do it, and I'm pretty happy to have – you know, it's a huge – it's going to be a huge win for my career in the future, for sure.”
In other upset news, Joao Sousa defeated fourth seed Alexander Zverev 7-5, 5-7, 6-4 and Fernando Verdasco defeated third seed Grigor Dimitrov in a three-set grind that extended over two hours.
Amanda Anisimova, the New Jersey-born player based out of Florida made waves when she defeated Petra Kvitova 6-2, 6-4. She is the first 16-year-old since 2005 to make it to the round of 16. She faces Karolina Pliskova next. The American was in disbelief and filled with joy over her win: “it feels crazy. I mean, I'm still in shock. She's the best player I have ever played, and it was the biggest court I have ever played on. So, it was definitely nerve-wracking kind of, but I was enjoying it so much out there and I was playing my best. It was a good day.”
Other significant matches took more seeds out of the WTA draw. Petra Martic defeated Jelena Ostapenko 6-3, 6-3. Maria Sakkari defeated Coco Vandeweghe 6-2, 6-4.
Angelique Kerber took advantage of a rain delay, coming back from a one set deficit to win in three. “I try to change a little bit my game today than yesterday… it was completely different match. I mean, to playing also night and day here, I mean, the temperature is a little bit different. I was practicing the last few days, like, during the day, so it was also a little bit different. So that's why I was just trying to just starting the match from zero and not thinking that I lost the first set.”
Viktoria Azarenka’s comeback run was halted by 2017 US Open champion Sloane Stephens, who defeated the Belarussian 6-1, 7-5. Stephens was cautiously optimistic when it came to reflecting on losses she had since her victory in New York: “after Australia I was able to take some time, and I'm feeling a lot better, playing better. I got some matches in Acapulco last week. And to get a win here, it's not easy having a bye and then playing somebody who has already played a match. Feeling good. Everything's all good.”
The other returning mother, Serena Williams, faces her sister Venus in the first match of the Monday night session.