By Ros Satar, in Indian Wells
- Felix Auger-Aliassime [WC] def. Stefanos Tsitsipas  6-4 6-2
- Venus Williams def. Petra Kvitova  4-6 7-5 6-4
INDIAN WELLS, CALIFORNIA USA – Two big upsets took centre stage in second round action at the BNP Paribas Open, as the youngest and oldest player claimed victories.
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Felix Auger-Aliassime [WC] def. Stefanos Tsitsipas  6-4 6-2
Canadian wild-card Felix Auger-Aliassime showed why he is the next ATP NextGen player to take note of. Having downed Britain’s Cameron Norrie in fearless style in the first round, the Canadian plied the same kind of big hitting to do the same to Stefanos Tsitsipas. His run to the Australian Open semi-final and reaching two finals back-to-back, winning Marseille and losing to Roger Federer in Dubai made him one to watch as he took to the court, but possibly for the wrong reasons.
Exhibiting the same kind of self-belief that Tsitsipas had against Federer in Melbourne, Auger-Aliassime was able to impose his game once more on his opponent, denying him rhythm and a chance to get into the points, and claiming his first victory over a Top 10 opponent.
After the match he said: “I thought I was able to be pretty aggressive, like all the other matches we played in juniors. That’s my style of play. For some reason it fits well with his. I just feel like he doesn’t have a lot of openings maybe when I play him. I guess that’s maybe what he feels, as well.
“Again, I didn’t know what to expect today because he’s a completely different player. Again, I believe in myself. I thought I had my chances. But again, I served really well today, so that was obviously a big key.”
There has been a lot of intense tennis for Tsitsipas, and while he has cracked the Top 10 and is looking to be a long-term fixture there, he acknowledged that perhaps his mind had not been quite as sharp coming into the start of the Sunshine Double.
He told reporters: “My mind at the moment is not very fresh. I feel like I had enough of tennis already, but still doesn’t mean anything. I mean, he deserved that victory. He won it by himself. I didn’t give it to him.
“But me, I mean, myself I would say that just so much tennis that when you do the same thing over and over again, your mind gets so tired and you’re not the same focused like before.
“And unfortunately, it happened here. I think taking some small break before Miami will probably help. But, I mean, I’m a bit disappointed because I really wanted to do well here. It’s a really nice place to get some good results and play well.”
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Venus Williams def. Petra Kvitova  4-6 7-5 6-4
Anything the youngest male in the main draw can do, the oldest female in the main draw could do better. After struggling with illness and battling back against Andrea Petkovic, it looked as though Venus Williams had not quite gotten over what was ailing her.
Slow speed serves, and Petra Kvitova’s customary fight saw the Czech break late, serve out the first set and swiftly jump out to a comfortable 3-0 lead in the second set. But a momentary lapse to let Williams back into the match saw the 38-year-old seize the chance for the pair to battle through another three-setter.
Even going up a break in the decider would not be enough for Kvitova, who leads the Porsche Race to Shenzhen. Williams’ fightback sets her on a path of emulating the deep runs of the last two years (quarter-final in 2017 and semi-final in 2018).
Not normally known for her effusiveness in press, Williams admitted that she had enjoyed the home crowd behind her, especially having to fight to come from behind in the final set:
“Honestly, a double break is not ideal against a great server, especially a left-handed server. But the good part is being in matches, you just — a lot of it is just being in the moment.
“I think I created some opportunities. I had some good points. I think she had a few tight points, and here we are.
“It seemed like I played even better when I was down. I really didn’t have any other choice because she was playing so well and serving so well. So, it’s nice to know that in that sort of situation I can still play and just lift my level.”
After being one of the most consistent players this year, Kvitova tried to find the humour in what had been a tough loss to take from a leading position.
“I don’t know. Who knows? Well, it was such a weird match, to be honest. We started, I think, pretty nervous, both. I took the first set. Suddenly I was leading in the second, but somehow I just gave her a chance again to be back in the match, and she took it.
“Suddenly, she just started to play better, I started to play worse, and that’s why that happen to the third set, which I didn’t break up, but I don’t know. I was so frustrated with myself from the half of the second set to the end, which shouldn’t happen to me.
“Yeah, I didn’t have such a bad match this year like this one. I really played … bad, and, yeah. I want to swear, but I will not. I’m very polite. I should be nice.”
Play continues at the BNP Paribas Open with continued second action for the ATP and the start of the third round for WTA matches at 11am (6pm GMT).
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