WTA Indian Wells: Venus stops the clock vs Kvitova. Pliskova and Bencic win

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WTA Indian Wells: Venus stops the clock vs Kvitova. Pliskova and Bencic win

Throughout her illustrious career, Venus Williams has won almost 50 WTA titles although none of those came at Indian Wells, not playing in the desert between 2002-2015. Venus had played well there in the last three years and that continued in 2019 too, ousting the 3rd seed Petra Kvitova 4-6, 7-5, 6-4 in two hours and 27 minutes, beating the Czech for the third time in seven matches.

They won an identical number of points and Venus prevailed with one extra break on her tally, using the fact that Petra served at only 49% and hit ten double faults, breaking her five times and giving the serve away four times to emerge as the winner.

Petra won the opener with a break in game nine, fending off three break points in the following game for a 6-4 and an early advantage that made her an even bigger favorite for the overall triumph. The Czech almost cemented the victory with a double break at the start of the second set when Venus started to climb back, breaking Petra in games four and eight before clinching another break in game 12 for a 7-5.

Kvitova was in the better position in the decider, breaking Williams at 3-3 before losing the advantage in the very next game, allowing Venus to rattle off the last three games and move into the third round. The 25th seed Danielle Collins toppled Kirsten Flipkens 6-4, 6-1 in an hour and 30 minutes, dropping serve once and dominating on the return after an early setback to win 11 of the last 12 games and race towards the finish line.

The 23rd seed and Dubai champion Belinda Bencic needed just 73 minutes to oust Alison Van Uytvanck 6-4, 6-1, doing a lot of damage with the first serve and getting broken only twice. The Belgian managed to stay in touch until 4-4 after erasing the deficit twice before Belinda scored another break for a 5-4 lead, closing the set with a hold at love.

The Swiss never looked back and was the only player on the court in set number two, bringing the match home to reach the third round in style. The 11th seed Anastasija Sevastova took down Madison Brengle 6-3, 6-4 in an hour and 17 minutes in the match with 12 breaks, grabbing seven of those to prevail in straight sets.

A qualifier Ysaline Bonaventure defeated Donna Vekic 1-6, 7-6, 6-4 in two hours and ten minutes, overcoming a slow start and keeping the focus in set number two before two breaks in the decider that pushed her over the top against the better-ranked opponent.

The 5th seed Karolina Pliskova survived an early scare against Misaki Doi to notch a 6-7, 6-1, 6-1 win, losing 12 points on serve in sets two and three to mount the pressure on her opponent and sail towards the finish line in an hour and 40 minutes.