No.2 seed Angelique Kerber survived a topsy-turvy tussle with Pauline Parmentier; the No.1-to-be next plays No.14 seed Elena Vesnina who had her own marathon in Indian Wells.
WTA Staff

INDIAN WELLS, CA, USA - No.2 seed Angelique Kerber found herself on the brink of defeat on Monday before the German righted the ship against French veteran Pauline Parmentier, pulling out a 7-5, 3-6, 7-5 win to reach the fourth round of the BNP Paribas Open.

"It's really hot here!" she exclaimed during her on-court interview. "At the end, it was a tough match and a high-level match from both of us. Pauline played unbelievably from the first ball, and we both battled until the end.

"I'm just happy to win because it was really close, and really up and down. I'm just happy to be in the next round!"

Kerber made a seamless return to the California desert in her opening round match on Saturday, but was made to battle early on against Parmentier, who recovered from a break down to win five of the next six games and serve for the first set.

"She is a really tricky opponent," she added in press. "I mean, she played a lot of spin, especially from the forehand side. So I think that I need a little bit time to get used to it.

"I think we both play on a really high level. I mean, it was completely different match than I played here on my first round."

Down set point, the soon-to-be World No.1 triggered one more momentum shift to take the last three games and move to within one set of victory.

Parmentier proved to be undaunted by that disappointment, promptly breaking twice to start the second set, later breaking at love to level the match.

Taking a similar lead in the deciding set, the former World No.40 was a point from 5-2 when Kerber turned the tables, winning six of the final seven games to wrap up the comeback in two hours and 33 minutes.

In all, Kerber hit 27 winners to 40 unforced errors; Parmentier took far more risks with 47 winners, but was undone by 51 errors; she still gave the No.2 seed all she could handle, saving a whopping 13 break points throughout the epic encounter.

"I was trying to move well, and I'd had great practices in the last few months so I'm ready to stay on court for three hours. I had it in my mind that I could run forever and I was just trying to go for it."

Standing between her and a first Indian Wells quarterfinal since 2013 is No.14 seed Elena Vesnina, herself in the midst of a career-best run at this event. The Russian recovered from a bout with dizziness to blast past No.25 seed Timea Babos, 6-4, 1-6, 6-4.

Kerber leads their head-to-head 3-1, but Vesnina won their most recent meeting at the 2013 Connecticut Open.

"I think it will be another good match against Vesnina. I don't know when it was, the last time played. Long time ago. But, yeah, I think it's another challenge and I think it will be a good match."