WTA Indian Wells: Victoria Azarenka, Amanda Animiova and Kenin reach R2

Tennis - Daria Gavrilova, Bernarda Pera, Johanna Konta, Bianca Andreescu and Marketa Vondrousova have reached the second round as well

by Jovica Ilic
WTA Indian Wells: Victoria Azarenka, Amanda Animiova and Kenin reach R2

A two-time Indian Wells champion Victoria Azarenka is safely through to the second round after a rock solid 6-2, 6-3 win over a compatriot Vera Lapko in an hour and 23 minutes. Azarenka served at only 52% and had to play against six break points, fending off four of those to limit the damage in her games and mount the pressure on the other side of the net that Lapko failed to endure.

The 20-year-old struggled on both the first and second serve and got broken six times from 13 chances, dropping ten straight games from 2-0 up in the opening set and saving five match points before Vika crossed the finish line to reach the second round.

Johanna Konta took down Pauline Parmentier 6-2, 6-3 in an hour and a half for the fourth straight win over the French girl. Interestingly, the Briton served at 72% but was forced to play against no less than 11 break points, repelling ten of those and stealing half of the points on the return to break Parmentier four times from eight chances.

Johanna won the last four games of the opening set and five straight in set number two from 2-0 down, saving eight break points in the final three service games and converting the third match point in game nine for the place in the second round.

The 17-year-old Amanda Anisimova caught the attention of the tennis world a year ago here at Indian Wells and she is back on the winning way in the desert, toppling Aleksandra Krunic 6-0, 6-4 in 66 minutes. The youngster lost serve only once and her sharp and aggressive groundstrokes were too much to handle for the Serb, taking more than 50% of the return points and scoring five breaks for a positive start of the event.

They needed just 25 minutes to complete the first set and Aleksandra fought better in set number two, staying in touch until 4-4 before Amanda grabbed another break at 5-4 to seal the deal and advance into the second round.

Bernarda Pera is off to a great start as well, ousting the 17-year-old qualifier Catherine McNally 6-2, 6-1 in 73 minutes, dropping just 13 points behind the initial shot and taking 55% of the return points to notch six breaks and control the scoreboard all the time.

A teeanger stayed in touch in the opening four games although Pera proved to be too strong after that, winning ten of the last 11 games to sail through and score the fifth win of the season so far. In the repeat of the Acapulco final, Sofia Kenin prevailed against Yafan Wang 1-6, 7-5, 6-4 in two hours and 35 minutes, crossing the finish line first despite the fact she won five points less than the Chinese.

There were 31 break points up for grabs and the young American managed to overcome a slow start and stay in the match with a late break in game 11 in set number two. From 3-0 down in the final set, Yafan won four straight games before Sofia bounced back, leveling the score at 4-4 and scoring the crucial break in the ninth game before moving over the top with a nice hold for a 6-4 and the place in the next round.

An 18-year-old Canadian Bianca Andreescu had to work hard to defeat Irina-Camelia Begu 6-7, 6-3, 6-3 in two hours and 23 minutes, suffering five breaks and erasing that deficit with a great performance on the return, claiming eight breaks of serve to control the pace in sets two and three for another big step towards the top-50 where she should enter soon.

Daria Gavrilova Johanna Konta Marketa Vondrousova