Mirza Moves Through, Dramatic Day 1 Finish

Sania Mirza and Sloane Stephens prevailed in some tight battles later in the day Wednesday.

Published March 07, 2012 12:00

Mirza Moves Through, Dramatic Day 1 Finish
Sania Mirza

INDIAN WELLS, CA, USA - It was already a dramatic afternoon at the BNP Paribas Open, with five of the 11 early matches going to three sets - but the tension only got higher as the day went on, with four of the last five matches going the distance, the last one of the night going the longest distance.

Check out the main draw for Indian Wells right here!

American wildcard Sloane Stephens and Canadian qualifier Aleksandra Wozniak went to battle for over three hours in the last match of the center court schedule, with momentum shifts throughout the match but neither ever ahead by more than three games. Stephens served for the match twice in the third set but was broken both times, and when Wozniak built 4-2 and 5-3 leads in the third set tie-break it seemed like the momentum had shifted one last time.

But the American teenager hung tough, even saving a match point down 7-6, and eventually scored a 46 75 76(7) victory over former World No.21 Wozniak.

"I'm so happy right now. I had no idea it was such a long match, when I came off court I asked what time it was and was shocked," Stephens said. "There weren't many people out there - I think my family tripled the attendance, I had aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents... but I love that court and it's always great to be out there. I didn't even feel the cold I was concentrating so hard. I'm just pleased I was able to stay focused to the end and keep positive, keep doing my thing."

Next for Stephens is a first-time meeting with No.18 seed Angelique Kerber.

Stephens wasn't the only marathon woman. Barbora Zahlavova Strycova, Michaella Krajicek and Sania Mirza all won in three sets as well, Zahlavova Strycova rebounding from a disastrous first set to beat Ayumi Morita, 26 61 64; Krajicek rallying from 4-2 down in the third to beat Urszula Radwanska, 36 64 64; and Mirza coming from 64 10 down to beat Kristina Barrois, 46 62 64.

Krajicek had been pushed to three sets in both of her qualifying rounds the last two days, so showed some impressive stamina to make it out on top again.

"I'm feeling really good but very exhausted at the moment!" Krajicek said. "The last time I played Urszula I was up a set and 6-5 with match point, then ended up winning in three sets, so I knew it would be really tough and she wasn't going to go away. Everyone here is really tough. I respect everyone playing here.

"I'm really relieved to win today, though, it could have gone either way."

Next up for Krajicek is a first-time meeting with the No.31 seed, Zheng Jie. "I've never played her but I'm sure my coach will tell me how she plays," she said. "She's ranked quite high and it will be a tough match but I will try my best."

The only other late match saw Elena Vesnina dispatch Australian qualifier Casey Dellacqua, 64 75. Vesnina next faces No.32 seed Christina McHale.

WTA Live powered by TennisTV is live at Indian Wells starting Sunday...

Share this page!

Related news

  • Insider Doubles Take: Surface Switch

    June 27, 2016
    WTA Insider David Kane | The Top 2 doubles teams have split the first two major titles; can Santina regain their grip? Plus a breakdown of the Wimbledon doubles draw.
  • Champions Corner: Cibulkova

    June 26, 2016
    WTA Insider | Fresh off her second title of the season, Dominika Cibulkova reveals how learning to let go has helped her gain even more success as Wimbledon looms.
  • Insider Notebook: Pre-Wimbledon Press

    June 26, 2016
    WTA Insider Courtney Nguyen | What did the game's biggest names have to say ahead of the third major tournament of 2016? Find out here on wtatennis.com!
To The Top