Sam & Dinara To Meet, Caroline Wins Too
Published March 12, 2011 12:00
INDIAN WELLS, CA, USA - At last year's BNP Paribas Open, Samantha Stosur made it to the semifinals then cracked the Top 10 for the very first time; this year she comes in ranked No.4 and made an impressive start to the $4.5-million tournament, beating Spanish qualifier Laura Pous-Tio, 62 62.
Stosur, the No.4 seed, lost her serve at 15 in the first game of the match but was on target the rest of the way, losing just 13 points in her other seven service games and breaking her opponent five times, advancing in just 66 minutes.
Next up for Stosur is a familiar foe, former No.1 Dinara Safina. Safina saved three set points at 4-5 in the first set and eventually made it past No.26 seed and two-time Indian Wells winner Daniela Hantuchova in straights, 76(2) 64.
"Every win is important," said Safina, who has won back-to-back matches for the first time since last September. "This definitely feels good. I tried very hard and was fighting. I pulled out the set points then started to play a little better."
After going 0-3 during this year's Australian season, including a 60 60 loss to Kim Clijsters in the first round of the Aussie Open, Safina had a turning point. "I went to Moscow for Fed Cup and said to my mom, 'I'm retiring. I don't want any more of this.' I wasn't happy being on the court anymore. She told me to stay positive. I do love the sport. And I still believed. When you have some bad moments and your head is falling down, if you believe, you can say it's just not your day and you're going to keep working hard. You never give up.
"My mother is the person who knows me. I could really speak about what I had deep inside. I knew it would hurt her, but I couldn't keep it inside anymore."
Safina leads Stosur in their head-to-head, 3-1. Stosur won the last meeting.
Current No.1 Caroline Wozniacki also won, defeating wildcard Sloane Stephens in 68 minutes, 63 62. Next for Wozniacki will be No.28 seed María José Martínez Sánchez, who has won all three of their prior meetings.
"I've never won against her, so it's going to be a tough one," Wozniacki said of the Spanish lefty, also Spain's No.1. "She's always trying to take away your rhythm, but I'm looking forward to it. Hopefully I can get it this time."
The Radwanska sisters both reached the third round as well. No.9 seed Agnieszka Radwanska got past Iveta Benesova, 76(5) 64, while Urszula Radwanska upset No.31 seed Klara Zakopalova, 63 57 62. For the younger Urszula, who saved match point in her first round win over Bojana Jovanovski, the road back from a six-month back injury lay-off last year has been tough.
"I missed being on the tour during last year but I was with my sister at a few tournaments so I was still in touch with everyone," Urszula said. "I was a little bit sad watching all the girls playing while I couldn't. But I have been practicing hard and believed I could do well here. These two matches have been tough. I was very happy to beat Bojana because I lost to her in my last two events."
In Doha, Jovanovski saved five match points to beat Urszula; in Kuala Lumpur, she came back from 61 42 down to beat her. Agnieszka next plays No.24 seed Maria Kirilenko while Urszula next faces No.8 seed Victoria Azarenka. The winners of those matches will play each other in the fourth round.
Other winners in early action were No.13 seed Flavia Pennetta, No.20 seed Aravane Rezai, No.22 seed Alisa Kleybanova and qualifier Lucie Hradecka. Pennetta rallied from 4-2 down in the third to beat Elena Baltacha, 64 36 64.