Azarenka came into Indian Wells with some question marks - she hadn't played since the Australian Open due to a foot injury - and those questions seemed to be very real in the first set, as she dropped it at love in just 30 minutes. She pushed as hard as she could in the second set, going up 2-0 and 3-1 and coming within a few points of taking it to a third at 5-4, but in the end the No.3-seeded Belarusian just couldn't pull it out. Davis pulled off the biggest win of her blossoming career, 60 76(2).
"It means so much to me. My first Top 10 win, and just being in the third round of Indian Wells really boosts my confidence," Davis said. "The crowd was awesome. Really, really supportive. I think that really helped me a lot. At times I blocked them out, because when you're up and you're about to beat the No.4 girl in the world, you're maybe looking towards the end of the match a little bit too much.
"But I just tried to focus on myself and just block them out, and this win means a lot to me."
And on Azarenka perhaps being a little bit rusty coming into the tournament? "I know she hasn't played a tournament in about six weeks, so that gave me more confidence, that I've played more matches than she has," Davis said. "I commend her for playing through it though, for sure. I respect her a lot."
"I wanted to give my best shot," Azarenka said. "It was maybe a little bit too early, but I gave a fight. I'm pretty proud of whatever I did today. I think it's pretty good considering what I've been through.
"It's something you have to go through after injuries. I just need to see what's best for me now for Miami. Right now I just want to feel pain free - it's not the most fun to be out there like that."
No.6 seed Simona Halep, No.7 seed Jelena Jankovic, No.10 seed Caroline Wozniacki and No.13 seed Roberta Vinci all won in straight sets. For Vinci, her 63 63 victory over Madison Keys was a particularly meaningful one - the Italian came into the BNP Paribas Open with an 0-6 record on the season.
Wozniacki beat Bojana Jovanovski, 61 63. She had lost two of her last three meetings with the Serb.
"I knew it wasn't going to be an easy match today because I have had tough matches against her in the past," the former World No.1 said. "I started out well. I played aggressively. I knew what I was supposed to do out there. She changed her tactics a bit in the second set and didn't really give me too many angles to play with, and I got a bit tighter at the end, but I was happy I could close it off."
The other three later matches all ended in upsets, with Australian qualifier Casey Dellacqua taking out No.19 seed Kirsten Flipkens, 16 63 61, Kazakhstani qualifier Yaroslava Shvedova beating No.24 seed Kaia Kanepi, 63 62, and Annika Beck outlasting No.30 seed Elena Vesnina in three sets, 62 36 63.