INDIAN WELLS, CA, USA - No.2 seed Varvara Lepchenko of the United States scored a dramatic victory to close out first round action at the Oracle Challenger Series event at Indian Wells on Tuesday.
The former World No. 19 needed three sets and nearly three hours to see off Japan's Misaki Doi, 7-6(5), 5-7, 7-6(2).
Lepchenko was forced to save a pair of set points in the first set, but there was little between the two players for the duration of the two hour, 58-minute encounter.
Doi later saved a match point late in the second set before forcing a tiebreak, but a dominant final stretch of points on return in the tiebreak for the American decided the match.
Lepchenko won all points played on Doi's serve, allowing the 31-year-old to earn victory in the clash of left-handers and set up a second round with Australia's Ajla Tomljanovic.
Also needing three sets to advance in two hours, six minutes was top seed Magda Linette, who dispatched American qualifier Victoria Duval, 6-3, 4-6, 6-2.
Elsewhere, No.4 seed Kateryna Bondarenko came from a set down to defeat Russia's Evgeniya Rodina, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, while
No.3 seed Hsieh Su-wei and No.8 seed Duan Ying-ying had comparatively easy passages through to the second rounds than their seeded counterparts, with Hsieh defeating American wildcard Ashley Kratzer, 6-4, 7-5, and Duan dispatching Japan's Kurumi Nara, 7-6(5), 6-3.
Only one seed was vanquished on Tuesday, as No.5 seed Jennifer Brady fell at the first hurdle in a 6-2, 6-2 upset at the hands of Sara Errani.
In two all-American first round matches, Kristie Ahn defeated Taylor Townsend, 7-5, 6-1 despite seeing a 5-2 lead slip in the first set, while teenager Sofia Kenin defeated Sachia Vickery, 6-3, 6-4.
The 19-year-old Kenin, who made the third round of the US Open last year, is on the cusp of the world's Top 100 after arriving in Indian Wells this week ranked at World No.104, just two spots off her career-high.
Rounding out Tuesday's first-round winners was Richel Hogenkamp of the Netherlands, who also came from a set down to defeat American Alison Riske, 4-6, 6-2, 6-2.
The tournament in Indian Wells is the second event of the Oracle Challenger Series. The first event was played on Jan. 20-28, at the Newport Beach Tennis Club in Newport Beach, Calif. Two-time NCAA singles champion Danielle Collins defeated former Wimbledon junior champion Sofya Zhuk 2-6, 6-4, 6-3 in the final.
The top two Americans with the highest accumulated points in the Oracle Challenger Series will be awarded wildcards in their singles main draws at the 2018 BNP Paribas Open, held March 5-18 at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.