Caroline Garcia broke a winless spell against Dayana Yastremska in one of the standout matches on Day 1 of main-draw play at the BNP Paribas Open.
After missing a pair of match points in the second set, Garcia rallied from a break down in the decider to take a 6-4, 6-7(8), 7-5 victory in 2 hours, 27 minutes -- her first win in three matches against Yastremska.
Both players had performed well last week on the indoor hard courts in Lyon, France, with Yastremska reaching the final and Garcia falling in the semifinals. But it was the Frenchwoman who adjusted to the cool, outdoor conditions in the California desert the better of the two early on, and led 6-4, 3-1 with a point for 4-1.
After going 0-for-5 on break points in the opener, Yastremska pulled level at 3-3 with a break from 40-0 down and later saved two break points at 5-5. She forced a decider after denying Garcia chances to win earlier at 6-5 and 7-6 in the tiebreak, but lost a 4-2 lead — with two points for 5-3 — in defeat.
Garcia's victory was one of five matches to go the distance on Wednesday, and the second of two to push past 5-5 in the decider.
In the day session, Ekaterina Alexandrova survived a stern challenger from 18-year-old American wildcard Elvina Kalieva, who served for the match before Alexandrova rallied for a 4-6, 6-2, 7-6(7) victory.
Haddad Maia beats former Slam champion Kenin
Brazil's Beatriz Haddad Maia upset top seed and former World No.1 Karolina Pliskova in Indian Wells when the event was held last fall, and notched a win against a Grand Slam champion in her latest trip to Palm Springs. The left-hander closed out Wednesday's slate of play with a 6-3, 7-5 win over former Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin.
"It's always nice to be here. First round is always a tough match. Sofia is a great player and a Grand Slam champion. I didn't play my best tennis but I tried to compete every single point," Haddad Maia said after the match.
"I wasn't too aggressive but ... I wasn't 100% feeling well, but I was trying my best so I was happy with the win."
Haddad Maia came from 2-0 down in the second set to secure the victory and advance to a second round match against No.29 seed Clara Tauson of Denmark. The second set lasted more than an hour on its own, and after Haddad Maia failed to convert a match point in the 10th game, she made no mistake in the 12th.
After reaching the quarterfinals in Adelaide to start the season, Kenin has now lost six straight matches.
Kanepi secures event's first win; Liu, Riske, Volynets advance
The first main-draw victory of the tournament belonged to Estonia's Kaia Kanepi, whose 6-3, 6-3 victory over American teenager Robin Montogmery kicked off Wednesday's action. Kanepi, playing for the first time since reaching the quarterfinals of the Australian Open, needed just 71 minutes to defeat the reigning US Open girls' singles and doubles champion playing in just her third WTA main-draw match.
Despite serving 10 double faults and landing just 48% of her first serves, Kanepi broke the teenager six times to move through to a second-round meeting with No.22 seed Belinda Bencic.
"I expected a tough match because I knew she's serving and hitting hard, and I had to be ready for that," Kanepi said. "I think overall, the game was quite good for a first-round match, except the second serve sometimes."
Elsewhere, though, a quartet of Americans — Claire Liu, Ann Li, Alison Riske and Katie Volynets — were among the players who moved through to Round 2. Riske came through an all-American opener against Caty McNally with a 6-0, 6-3 victory, while wildcards Liu and Volynets sealed a pair of tight victories.
Liu advanced to a second-round meeting with compatriot and No.16 seed Coco Gauff thanks to a 7-6(2), 6-4 over Bulgaria's Viktoriya Tomova, while Volynets rallied for a 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 win over Arantxa Rus for her first WTA main-draw victory in just over two years. She moves on to face 2018 finalist and No.23 seed Daria Kasatkina.
Li's 1-6, 7-6(5), 6-0 victory over Madison Brengle was also a thriller. She saved two match points on serve in the 12th game of the second set.