Zheng Sets Up All-Chinese Blockbuster

Zheng Jie won a marathon against Paula Ormaechea to set up a second round clash with Li Na. Who's got the upper hand in the head-to-head? You may be surprised...

Published March 06, 2014 12:15

INDIAN WELLS, CA, USA - The first round of the BNP Paribas Open wrapped up, with a number of tantalizing second round clashes waiting in the wings now - including an all-Chinese blockbuster.

Watch highlights, interviews and more video from Indian Wells right here on wtatennis.com!

For almost three hours on Stadium 4 - two hours and 57 minutes, to be exact - Zheng Jie and Paula Ormaechea were battling it out in a grueling first round encounter, with Ormaechea looking completely in control as she built a 63 31 lead. But Zheng has been to two Grand Slam semifinals and No.15 in the world for a reason - she came storming back with five games in a row to take it to a third set.

After letting 3-1 and 5-3 leads go in that third set Zheng had to close it out in a tie-break, 36 63 76(5). What she showed at the very end was more than impressive though - having hit no aces until that point, she hit her first of the match to get to match point, then a few points later her second to clinch it.

Her reward? A second round clash with Li Na, the No.1 seed this fortnight. But their head-to-head isn't what it might seem - Li has won their last two, but Zheng leads Li in the overall head-to-head, 4-2.

The other Top 4 seed in the top half of the draw is No.4 seed Maria Sharapova, and her second round opponent will be Julia Goerges, after the German beat Jana Cepelova in a see-saw battle, 61 26 63.

Sharapova has beaten Goerges in all three of their previous meetings, though they've all been close.

There was a feel good story on Stadium 2, as Francesca Schiavone finally brought her 2014 season to life, battling past Mona Barthel, 36 62 62. Schiavone, a former French Open champion who has been ranked as high as No.4 in the world, was on a nine-match losing streak coming in - and 0-7 this year.

Over on Stadium 6, two former Top 30 stars trying to work their way back from shoulder injuries went to battle - and it was Aleksandra Wozniak who got the better of Urszula Radwanska, 62 60.

Afterwards, Wozniak talked about her new coach - former World No.3 Nathalie Tauziat.

"The federation asked me if I wanted to work with Nathalie, and it's going really well," Wozniak said. "We started in January. She brings a lot of experience, she's very positive and she's very calm, and she really puts herself in your shoes when you're playing. She really tells you what you need to hear.

"I'm really lucky to have her. I think everyone's looking for the kind of coach who's been there."

Tauziat actually had a lot of success at this event, too - she reached the semifinals back in 1991, falling to Martina Navratilova, and she was a three-time quarterfinalist as well in 1992, 1996 and 1997.

Other winners during the day session on Thursday were Elina Svitolina, Monica Niculescu, Karolina Pliskova, Ajla Tomljanovic, María-Teresa Torró-Flor, Alisa Kleybanova, qualifier Camila Giorgi and a trio of wildcards - Croatia's Donna Vekic and Americans CoCo Vandeweghe and Taylor Townsend.

Caroline Garcia and Czech qualifier Barbora Zahlavova Strycova rounded out the winners at night.

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