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First Round Underway At Indian Wells

How did Vera Zvonareva do in her return to the BNP Paribas Open? Who will be Aga Radwanska and Vika Azarenka's first opponents? It's all going down in the desert...

Published March 05, 2014 12:15

First Round Underway At Indian Wells
Vera Zvonareva

INDIAN WELLS, CA, USA - The first round of the BNP Paribas Open kicked off at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden Wednesday, and while the seeds don't start until Friday, the greats were out anyway.

Including Vera Zvonareva, who swept the singles and doubles here in 2009 - but the two-time Grand Slam finalist and former World No.2 is working her way back from a lengthy illness and injury lay-off, and fellow singles and doubles star Peng Shuai got the better of her this time, prevailing, 46 60 75.

"Today the weather was a little bit hot and dry, but I had a lot of energy and wanted to get out there and play again," Peng said afterwards. "I hadn't played a tournament since Doha so I was very excited.

"I've played Vera a lot of times, and I've lost to Vera a lot of times. In the third set it was really close, and we were holding our serve very well, but I just tried to find a way to break her, and I did."

Peng next plays No.18 seed Eugenie Bouchard - all 32 seeds received a bye in the first round.

"I know she's really young and a really good player, and she did really well at the Australian Open," Peng said. "I have to attack the ball first and play my tennis, and just fight as hard as I can."

Other notable winners on Day 1 of main draw action were Madison Keys, who cruised against Tsvetana Pironkova, 62 61; British qualifier Heather Watson, who beat Swiss wildcard Belinda Bencic, 75 64; and Lauren Davis, who beat Chan Yung-Jan, a qualifier from Chinese Taipei, 64 63.

A week ago, Keys took the title of No.1 teenager in the world from Bouchard, when Bouchard turned 20. Keys just turned 19 a few weeks ago and at No.38 in the world is one of four teenagers in the Top 100, alongside No.43 Elina Svitolina, No.73 Anna Schmiedlova and No.93 Alison Van Uytvanck.

Watson, a former Top 40 player who is working her way back up the rankings after struggles with illness last year, set a second round clash against No.2-seeded birthday girl Agnieszka Radwanska.

Davis' next opponent will be No.3 seed and former BNP Paribas Open champion Victoria Azarenka.

Rounding out the winners were Yvonne Meusburger, Bojana Jovanovski, Kurumi Nara, Annika Beck, Varvara Lepchenko, Yanina Wickmayer, Sílvia Soler-Espinosa, Kristina Mladenovic, qualifiers Yaroslava Shvedova, Casey Dellacqua and Sharon Fichman and American wildcard Shelby Rogers.

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