INDIAN WELLS, CA, USA - The underdogs put forth impressive showings at the BNP Paribas Open on Saturday, with four of the first eight seeds in action falling to unseeded players - Chanelle Scheepers was one of those underdogs.
Just a few days from her 28th birthday, Scheepers continued to show she is only getting better as her career goes on, scoring a 63 62 win over No.29 seed Kaia Kanepi. Kanepi was playing her first match since the Australian season, having missed all of February with a right shoulder injury - but she is always a threat, evidenced by her triumph at the Premier event in Brisbane this year.
"Kaia started the year out very well but has been out for a while. I didn't know what to expect, exactly," Scheepers said afterwards. "It's hard for every player to play their first match back after a while or after an injury, but in the end you just try to focus on yourself, and try to do what you do best on the court.
"I thought I played really well today. My base game was very solid and I didn't give her any free points. I really tried to make her work for every point."
Scheepers just won her first WTA title last fall. "I'm continually improving my game, whether it's my technique or how I adapt to the different conditions."
Another upset followed shortly afterwards, with Lourdes Domínguez Lino breaking the big serve of Sabine Lisicki a total of five times for a 61 64 win over the No.11 seed. The win over the No.13-ranked Lisicki was a very significant one for the 30-year-old Domínguez Lino, in fact her best career win - her only other Top 20 win came against a No.18-ranked Flavia Pennetta back in 2006.
"I'm so happy, I don't know what to say," Domínguez Lino said. "I played really well today. Maybe it was easier for me than her, because it was my second match of the week, while for her it was her first - but my first match was very tough, I had to save a match point and won 7-5 in the third set, so I don't know.
"I'm just so happy to be in the third round here. I feel really good about it."
Domínguez Lino's No.110 ranking may be a little misleading - she was ranked in the 40s for most of 2011, but a foot injury sidelined her for the last four months of the season. She now seems to be getting back on track. "My foot is just fine now," the Spaniard said. "I had to stop for like four months last year but I started playing again in Australia this year, and it feels good now. I'm fine."
No.10 seed Francesca Schiavone, No.15 seed Ana Ivanovic, No.16 seed Dominika Cibulkova and No.21 seed Roberta Vinci all advanced in straight sets. Schiavone beat Ukrainian qualifier Lesia Tsurenko, 62 64, revenge for a lopsided loss in Fed Cup play earlier this year; Ivanovic beat Johanna Larsson, 61 62, revenge for a loss to the young Swede at last year's French Open.
"I had a little bit of that match in my mind," Ivanovic said of Roland Garros. "I didn't play well that match so I knew I had a better chance this time around. It was a bit of an awkward match still, so I'm happy to win and get revenge."
Ivanovic won this title in 2008, just a few months before winning the French Open. "If you ask the players, it's one of their favorite tournaments of the year," she said of Indian Wells. "It's very relaxed and a nice environment to play in. I like playing in the desert. You don't get too much wind most days, unless you're playing the final in 2009! But it's always great conditions. I like playing in the heat. It suits me. I feel very comfortable here and have big support here too."