By Ros Satar, in Indian Wells

  • 12 seeds are on an early flight to Miami as the third round approaches
  • Just Angelique Kerber and Sloane Stephens still to complete after rain suspended play on Saturday
INDIAN WELLS, USA – The BNP Paribas Open has already dished up a few surprises this week as we roll toward the third round.

 

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The desert continues to confound

The slow gritty courts and the high bouncing, flying balls continue to discombobulate some of the world’s best players. Indian Wells is the start of the US hard court spring swing with the back to back high-stakes tournaments and coming off the Middle East swing we had some high hopes for some players, but who struggled?

  • 12 seeds lost before the third round
  • Nine seeds in the top half of the draw

 

Garbine Muguruza [3]

The biggest name to drop was Garbiñe Muguruza – she talked a good talk in the all-access hour, and actually had a good run in the Middle East after a faltering start to her season with injuries. She fell to the feisty Sachia Vickery after having looked very commanding in the first set, the American fought back to level the set before Muguruza seems to completely unravel.

This one looked as though it really hurt, having reached the quarter-final here last year. She did not do as well in Miami just reaching the Round of 16.

“It was a very tough match, I would say that. I think a little bit of both. I think she really came back playing much better. I think she started playing much better, and she kind of believed a little bit more and start hitting better shots.

“Maybe I did couple mistakes here and there, and she took advantage of that. And with the match, I think she was raising her level more and more.

“I think I was playing good. You know, I just think that I’m going to learn a lot from this match. I’m going to watch it and I’m going to see what went wrong. I think it’s very important because, today, I felt I was in control, and it slipped away a little bit from me. So I will definitely watch it and see exactly what happened.”

 

Johanna Konta [11]

Johanna Konta at the BNP Paribas Open, WTA Indian Wells 2018 | (c) Anita Stahl

It was another frustrating outing for the British No. 1 Johanna Konta as she had looked solid in practice, but it just failed to transpire out on court where she was facing talented Czech teen Marketa Vondrousova.

Read more from our interview with Konta after her match

Konta reflects on early Indian Wells exit ahead of Miami defence ‘I do trust in my ability and game’

Teenagers to watch in the third round

Marketa Vondrousova in the second round of the BNP Paribas Open, WTA Indian Wells 2018

Marketa Vondrousova in the second round of the BNP Paribas Open, WTA Indian Wells 2018 | (c) Jimmie48 Tennis Photography

What is standing out in this batch of scattered seeds is the young players just battering their way forward. As well as Vondrousova, we have US teen Amanda Anisimova is the youngest player to start in the draw and is bidding to be the first 16-year-old since 2005 to reach the R16.

Aryna Sabalenka eased past veteren Svetlana Kuznetsova and will be facing fellow teen Vondrousova in the third round.

Wildcard Caroline Dolahide is facing the World No. 1 Simona Halep in the third round after defeating Dominika Cibulkova, and she is looking to be the first teenager to upset a World No. 1 since Daria Kasatkina in Sydney, 2017.

 

Angelique Kerber and Sloane Stephens still to play

Angelique Kerber in her opening match at the BNP Paribas Open, WTA Indian Wells 2018

Angelique Kerber in her opening match at the BNP Paribas Open, WTA Indian Wells 2018 | (c) Jimmie48 Tennis Photography

The rain on Saturday night put paid to wildcard Victoria Azarenka‘s attempt to upend reigning US Open champion Sloane Stephens [13] while Angelique Kerber [10] will hope to regroup after dropping the first set to Ekaterina Makarova before play was suspended for the day.

Top half of the draw is blown open

No less than nine seeds in the top have gone out, with three at the bottom half, and still plenty of time for upsets!

[3] Garbine Muguruza
[11] Johanna Konta
[15] Madison Keys
[16] Ashleigh Barty
[18] Magdalena Rybarikova
[19] Svetlana Kuznetsova
[22] Elise Mertens
[23] Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova
[25] Barbora Strycova
[29] Kiki Bertens
[30] Dominika Cibulkova
[31] Agnieszka Radwanska

 

The BNP Paribas Open takes place between 8-18 March.

Main Image: Jimmie48 Tennis Photography

 

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