Main draw action kicked off on Wednesday at the 2018 BNP Paribas Open. Day 1 in Indian Wells featured the match of the round and I stayed up later than planned to watch the Swiss duo and two of my faves, Timea Bacsinszky and Belinda Bencic. Read on for my highlights of the opening day. I’m not going to try and cover all the results this tournament. Any omissions are not intentional and purely down to what I watched and whether I had time to write about it!
Another one to watch – Amanda Anisimova!
Scoring her first WTA main draw win, the 16-year-old, Amanda Anisimova defeated the 32-year-old, Pauline Parmentier in the first result of the day from the 2018 BNP Paribas Open. Anisimova eased to the victory, 6-2 6-2 in 70 minutes. There’s so much to like about Anisimova’s game and the way she goes about her tennis – i’m already on the bandwagon! She’s got a decent serve and is sound off both wings. The backhand was, at times, sensational. Anisimova was taking the ball so early and finding some great angles. Next up for the young American is Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova – i’d say winnable based on Pavs’s recent form.
Putintseva’s best win of 2018
Yulia Putintseva vanquished the recent Budapest champion, Alison Van Uytvanck, 6-0 2-6 6-2. Putintseva was surprisingly stable (!) in the decider against an increasingly erratic, Van Uytvanck. There were some fun points in the decider and Putintseva even tried to ramp up the crowd (as she always does 😂) after one special rally. Putintseva ultimately wasn’t troubled in the decider as she came through for her first top 50 win of the year. Putintseva had dropped just four games against Van Uytvanck in two previous matches and while losing a set here, maintains her 100% record against the Belgian player.
Wang Qiang beats Bacsinszky in three
Wang Qiang defeated Timea Bacsinszky who was playing just her second singles match since Wimbledon. The first set flew by in just 21 minutes with Bacsinszky struggling badly on the forehand side. The Swiss player gained a foothold in the match by saving a break point at the start of the second to hold and then kept climbing, eventually breaking for the set having failed to serve it out. There were moments where the backhand started to shine and more forehands were landing in!
Bacsinszky did a good job at injecting variety into the rallies and went to the forehand slice a lot in the third set. It worked for a time. Credit to Wang Qiang though who was patient and managed to handle Bacsinszky’s variety at the end. Bacsinszky’s level tailed off as Wang Qiang finished off the match rather comfortably, 6-0 4-6 6-2. All in all, I was quite encouraged by Bacsinszky’s improvement from the first set. Timea needs more matches!
Bencic saves a match point, edges Babos
If you’re going to watch back anything from day 1 of Indian Wells then I would definitely recommend the third set of Belinda Bencic up against Timea Babos – it was absolutely wild and super entertainment! There were so many fun points and Bencic seemed to spent most of her time in the forecourt. The pair shared marathon service games in the middle of the decider.
Bencic saved a match point at *4-5 on a quality point where one of her shots clipped the net. The Swiss player held serve at *4-5 and *5-6 in the decider and then seemed to settle and focus in the deciding set tiebreak. Bencic won, 1-6 6-1 7-6(4) in two hours and 23 minutes. After a couple of shaky losses since beating Venus Williams at the Australian Open, this was a huge win for BB.
While I was sleeping…
Naomi Osaka beat Maria Sharapova in the blockbuster match of the day, 6-4 6-4. Sharapova fought from an early break down in both sets to get to 4-4 but was broken serving at *4-5 in both sets. Osaka advances to a second round match-up against Agnieszka Radwanska in what will be a first career match-up between the pair.
The doubles draw 🍿🍿🍿
The doubles draw was announced on Tuesday and it’s a fun one! This comes in light of the recent announcement that if anyone were to win both singles and doubles at Indian Wells they will win a $1 million bonus. I think my favourite pairing is Victoria Azarenka and Aryna Sabalenka who will take Eugenie Bouchard and Sloane Stephens in a popcorn first round match.
Picks for Indian Wells
I’ve made my picks at Tennis Draw Challenge (WTA closed now but you can still enter an ATP draw). I’ve ended up with the following QFs:
Halep vs. Strycova
Muguruza vs. Pliskova
Sevastova vs. Svitolina
Kerber vs. Wozniacki
I’ve got Svitolina over Muguruza in the final. Confidence level? Pretty low! There has been a rather baffling sense of predictability so far (or at least fewer upsets than normal) with many of the top players in excellent form. I’m intrigued to see whether it will continue.