Match Points, 20th of March, 2016: Highlights from the BNP Paribas Open, Indian Wells

The 2016 BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells came to a conclusion on Sunday with Victoria Azarenka being crowned the champion. The WTA tour continues to be unpredictable from week-to-week but there were signs in the desert that some of the top ten players are finally getting their 2016 seasons in order. I enjoyed this tournament (time difference aside!) and it had a nice balance between seeds surviving, but upsets too. As ever, here’s my Match Points from the two weeks in Indian Wells with my favourite matches, tweets, photos, GIFS and plentyyyy more!

Match Points

Singles Champion

Victoria Azarenka confirmed her place back in the world’s top ten, defeating the world number one, Serena Williams in the final, 6-4 6-4. It was a strange final for sure… a key stat was Serena converting just ONE of 12 break points. The world number one mounted a late comeback but it was too late with Azarenka saving break points in the final game of the match. Huge credit to Azarenka who secured her fourth win over Serena, all coming in finals. It was a tough one for Serena with perhaps emotions/nerves back in the final of Indian Wells taking over. This was the first time since 2004 (!) that Serena has lost back-to-back finals…

Doubles Champions

In their first tournament together, Bethanie Mattek-Sands and CoCo Vandeweghe won the doubles title, beating Karolina Pliskova and Julia Goerges, 4-6 6-4 10-6 in the final.

Completed Singles Draw

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WTA rollercoaster scorelines

Carina Witthoeft d. Irina Falconi, 0-6 6-4 6-4 (R1) – Falconi led 6-0 *1-0

Shuai Zhang d. (24) Caroline Wozniacki, 4-6 7-6(8) 7-5 (R2) – Wozniacki led 6-4 4-2*

Roberta Vinci d. Margarita Gasparyan, 6-3 6-7(7) 7-6(5) – Gasparyan led 4-0* in the third set

Elina Svitolina d. Annika Beck, 4-6 7-6(0) 6-1 (R2) – Beck led 6-4 5-2*

Magdalena Rybarikova d. Daria Gavrilova, 2-6 7-5 6-4 (R2) – Gavrilova led 6-2 5-3*

Agnieszka Radwanska d. Dominika Cibulkova, 6-3 3-6 7-5 (R2) – Cibulkova led 5-2* 40-30* in the third set

Petra Kvitova d. Johanna Larsson, 6-3 4-6 7-5 (R3) – Larsson led 5-3* in the third set

Sam Stosur d. Christina McHale, 6-4 2-6 6-4 (R3) – McHale led *3-0 in the third set

Tennis worth catching up with…

Radwanska d. Cibulkova (6-3 3-6 7-5, R2)

In one of the best matches of the year so far, Radwanska saved a match point with a stirring comeback in the third set.

Vinci d. Gasparyan (6-3 6-7(7) 7-6(5)), R2)

There were so many twists and turns in this match with Gasparyan saving a match point in the second set (having nearly blown a 6-1 lead in the second set tiebreak). The Russian player had match points of her own but couldn’t convert. There was some fabulous shotmaking from both players, especially Gasparyan, in this match.

S.Williams d. Radwanska (6-4 7-6(1), SF)

This was arguably Radwanska’s best ever showing against Williams but still, it was straight sets! Radwanska served for the second set at *6-5 but she brought the best out of Serena who produced some superb tennis in the second set tiebreak.

Tweets I liked

Facebook posts I liked

Stats

The stats from Indian Wells are normally error-ridden… Bondarenko and Tsurenko proved this in their third round tussle.

However, there were some good stats from Indian Wells. Kerber-Allertova was one match where both players produced more winners than unforced errors. It was also the case for Pliskova-Kasatkina in the quarter-finals where the Czech player produced a tremendous performance.

The semi-finals were both super and this was reflected in the stats.

Pictures

Funny moments of the week

I love how Pliskova’s coach looks away during the racquet smash!

Muguruza is number one for epic racquet smashes.

But this was the best of the week. I love how Serena nonchalantly flicks it away at the end!

This is me every week.

During a wild second round match, Wozniacki had a few complaints to the umpire about Zhang’s grunt, which was hilarious.

As ever, the @FanofBencic account on Twitter picked out some great moments from Belinda Bencic’s matches this week. Her battle of the net cords had me laughing in her second round match against Lauren Davis.

I liked this from the doubles final trophy ceremony.

Dipping into something that happened on the ATP tour but I cannot STOP laughing at this from Vasek Pospisil!

The Tennis Face Challenge was a fun idea during All-Access Hour.

Best points/shots

Agnieszka Radwanska produced a pair of hotshots in her third round win over Monica Niculescu

Radwanska was on the end of a cracking forehand pass from Serena Williams in their semi-final

This was an incredible shot from Camila Giorgi.

Here’s an awesome point from the Townsend-Sevastova qualifying match captured by @MRisingStar18 on Twitter

Wowsers from Serena in the final…

Anddddd the miss of the tournament came from Magdalena Rybarikova. This still makes me shudder!

Memorable handshakes

Belinda Bencic makes another appearance in the “memorable handshakes” category after her third round loss to Magdalena Rybarikova.

Petra’s a class act 🙂

I like this.

Nice sportsmanship from Eugenie Bouchard after Timea Bacsinszky suffered a fall.

Press Conferences/Interviews

This was nice from Kurumi Nara!

Simona Halep was on good form, both on the court and in press. This press conference was after her first win where she talked a lot about the Olympics and mixed doubles.

Here is Daria Kasatkina’s press conference after her quarter-final loss to Karolina Pliskova where she talked about her love of football.

Daria Kasatkina was one of the storylines of the week… she’s adorable!

Favourite articles

Loved WTA Insider’s Q&A with Casey Dellacqua, one of the nicest players on the WTA tour.

Nicole Gibbs had a super week in Indian Wells, winning five matches. Here’s her latest blog post for the WTA website.

A huge thanks to Jimmie48 for his continued great work for Women’s Tennis Blog. Here’s just one of his many photo round-ups from the desert.

Podcasts

This week’s WTA Insider podcast featured an interview with Agnieszka Radwanska which was great!

Fantasy Games

Racket Rally: At the time of writing, ma01dp continues to lead the Moo’s Tennis Blog league from bosiddon, Sergeus, zynx52 and Twobc2p. I had a decent week with 5 shares in Azarenka, 15 shares in Kasatkina and 20 shares in Zverev. To join RR or update your team, click HERE.

Tennis Draw Challenge: Thanks to all those who have joined the Moo’s Tennis Blog league and we are now up to 34! For the bracket game, congrats to dublin101 who was the champion for Indian Wells after correctly predicting Azarenka to defeat Serena in the final. I had a solid week (especially after recent weeks!) and finished joint fourth. More details on joining the game and Moo’s Tennis Blog league can be found HERE.

Phwoo that was a long recap… if you’re reading this, thanks for sticking with it! Hopefully it was worth it :-). What were your thoughts about Indian Wells? As always, comments are appreciated. 

15 thoughts on “Match Points, 20th of March, 2016: Highlights from the BNP Paribas Open, Indian Wells

  1. Happy for Vika on her 2nd IW title,she has battled hard the last couple of years with injuries,now with this win will be ranked No 8 in the world,well done Vika!

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    • I second that. Vika’s one of the true characters in the sport and IMO a nice person as well; I remember her kindness to Andrea Petkovic in helping to bandage her foot when Andrea got injured during one of their matches.

      In her last New Year’s message she even thanked her haters, saying they helped her with her motivation.

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  2. I loved the speeches from both women. It was an ok match in the end but Serena was really subdued. Its speculation on my part but I feel like she was making a concerted effort to keep her emotions at bay. She really sort of broke down in her speech and it was the first kind of any emotion we’d really seen from her then. Even when she smashed her racket she looked indifferent LOL

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  3. I saw:
    Petra was clearly nervous and kind of scared of Radwanska!
    Radwanska was very clearly scared of Williams!
    Williams definitely nervous against Azarenka!

    Funny:
    Wozniacki complaining to Umpire about Zhang’s grunt. She did an excellent job of imitating it. I have watched that 100 times already. Lol

    Hot:
    Vasek Pospisil is the most attractive male tennis player ever for me! He is everything!

    Sad:
    Miami draw has S.Williams Azarenka on opposite sides again, I really wanted to see Azarenka-Radwanska match.

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    • Wozniacki was having a terrible day, lol, she was like an angsty teen. I saw a picture of Pospisil with Bouchard at last year’s Hopman Cup Party and they looked mighty dapper together. I do agree. Milos Raonic has this thing going on with his hair which seems like something from a black and white movie from way back, else, the canadians may have won the lottery in the looks department for their tennis stars.

      I did like the way the seeds generally performed at Indian Wells. So far, it’s been Vinci, Kerber, and Azarenki. Different styles but all have been able to apply themselves in beating Serena(albeit, not always at her best). Serena will likely be playing well, she likes Miami. However, the IW experience will most probably benefit players like Radwanska and she may play better here. I think this tournament could end up being tougher generally, but her section is winnable. Who knows what might be this time around, although it seems it might be easier to best a player like Serena in a tournament final than the semis. I’m watching Kerber, Kvitova, Keys, Halep and Sloane as well to see if they do anything different this time.

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      • Del Potro isnt next gen though. And I’d personally take Gasquet, Novak or Feliciano Lopez over him anyway. Hell, if you put a bag over Nadals face…

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      • Lol, I dont find Federer attractive either. Nadal has a very hot body so he is hard to not look at, Gasquet is handsome and the way he walks is very charming. I have read in many places that Gasquet might be gay. Lopez and David Ferrer are both good looking men.

        I see that men on the tour these days (and have been for quite sometime) are not afraid to wear bright neon pinks and oranges and not afraid to wear tighter shorts, Djokovic’s shorts are always very much hugging his lower body. I think Federer started with bright colors and more tailored shorts and others followed. If it was anybody else than Federer then we would still be seeing those super loose ugly shorts on the men.

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  4. Milos isn’t half bad either. And thank God for the fitted shorts; those loose bags were an eyesore. Am I the only one who finds Wawrinka to be sexy?

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  5. My sympathies regarding the time difference headaches — Indian Wells happens to be in my own time zone but is the only such big tournament, so I enjoy it while I can. The Prime Meridian is often a much better place to be for a tennis fan.

    – Alas, poor Vasek Pospisil; he’s lost to Gilles Simon three times so far this year, including twice in the last two weeks, both times after taking the first 5 games. At least he got some revenge in doubles when he and Jack Sock beat Simon and Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi 6-0 7-5 (notice who won the first 5 service games again). Vasek also wears his heart on his sleeve in a big way and that bottle smash is not out of character on a bad day. Good catch though!
    – On that note, my choice for wacky scoreline of the fortnight: Simon d. Pospisil 1-6 6-0 6-1.
    – For some reason, watching Sara Errani and Carla Suarez Navarro play ping-pong absolutely made my day when I first saw it! Not sure if it’s their laughter while rallying, Carla’s reaction to hitting the net, or the fact she decided to use two hands on the backhand for whatever reason.
    – Nice to see Karolina Pliskova performing well again and getting those groundstrokes firing. Her Birmingham final against Kerber last year was my first time watching her (TSN in Canada doesn’t show as much of the WTA as the ATP, regrettably) and what most impressed me was her almost Clijsters-like power and precision on the backhand with no glaring flaws anywhere else.
    – Oh, Milos. Once I heard the score I couldn’t bring myself to watch his final against Djokovic, but it sounds like his injury may have compounded a sloppy performance. Instead, I’ll mention that the doubles “quiz” given to him and John Isner was rather entertaining (he was actually smiling!), particularly when John claimed to be 6’10.5″ tall, to which Raonic immediately interjected, “With stilettos?” Not the first quip I’ve heard from him either.
    – I think there has to be a face-off for Miss of the Month. Is it:
    a) Rybarikova’s cringe-worthy wayward smash (see gif in main post)?
    b) Wawrinka’s wayward smash to hand Goffin the final match point?
    c) Berdych’s wayward smash to hand Raonic the match? (Boy, if looks could kill, Tomas’s box would have been dead after that miss.)
    d) Sasha Zverev’s dumped volley up match point on Nadal?
    – I missed commenting on this a couple weeks ago — we’ll blame the mild shell shock of Canada’s terrible, horrible, no good, very bad Davis Cup weekend in Guadeloupe — but wow, Naomi Broady has a wacky backhand! If memory serves, James once described it as “funky”, which suits it perfectly. That’s also a monster serve she has, and I’d love to see more of her and her unusual game on the main circuit.
    – Speaking as a very avid amateur photographer and fan of photography, Jimmie48’s work is always excellent, but those shots from Indian Wells are really stunning. …And what on Earth WAS Serena doing behind Vika there??

    Thanks as always for the great posts, James, I love reading them!

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    • Thanks again for the comment, Alexander! Hope you enjoyed the tennis in your timezone. While it’s rough for some, at the same time it’s favourable for others! A few responses to your points…
      – I still haven’t got my head around that Pospisil-Simon scoreline!
      – Good point about the ATP misses as well, that was a weird day. Gutted for Zverev, but I think he’ll come back in a positive way.
      – I’m pleased to see Broady doing well this year. The serve is a huge weapon on the tour and yes, i’m sure i’ve called that backhand funky before!
      – I’m in awe of Jimmie48’s work. His photos are, as you say, stunning. It’s an honour to be able to share some of his shots on my blog.

      Glad you like these posts 🙂

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