INDIAN WELLS, CA, USA -- Ekaterina Alexandrova of Russia pulled off another upset in the second round of the BNP Paribas Open on Saturday, ousting No.13 seed Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark, 7-5, 2-6, 7-5.
Alexandrova, currently sitting at a career-high ranking of World No.59, picked up the second Top 20 win of her career by shocking Wozniacki, the 2011 BNP Paribas Open champion, after nearly two and a half hours of play. Former World No.1 Wozniacki had beaten Alexandrova in straight sets in both of their two previous meetings.
"It feels amazing, I can’t describe it," Alexandrova told the press, after her win. "I played her two times before, and two times, it was not the best play. But now, I think maybe I’m just grateful for everything, and the hard work that I did finally paid off, and I’m just happy."
Photos: Indian Wells 2019 off-court fun
This time around, Alexandrova dictated play, with 44 winners to Wozniacki's 13. The Russian also had 53 unforced errors to the Dane's 28, but Alexandrova nevertheless emerged victorious in the final two games of the match to clinch a second straight win in her first-ever Premier Mandatory main draw.
"I just tried to stay focused through the whole match," Alexandrova continued. "In the third set, I was more focused on my game, and not hers, and I think that’s the key."
"I just tried to run and play every point, and I think it worked out," the Russian concluded.
24-year-old Alexandrova will take on No.23 seed Belinda Bencic of Switzerland in the third round. Bencic eased past Alison van Uytvanck in the second round, 6-4, 6-1, to extend her winning streak to nine straight matches.
After an exchange of breaks in the first two games of the match, both Wozniacki and Alexandrova tightened up their play, with the relentless speed and guile of Wozniacki and the breakneck pace of Alexandrova matched up at a stalemate through eight straight service holds at 5-5.
It was Alexandrova who wrested control of the tail end of the set, using powerful returns to grind through a long game and break Wozniacki for a 6-5 lead. Alexandrova then had to face two break points, but saved them with a backhand winner and her first ace, respectively, to get to deuce. Wozniacki then fired two forehand errors to give Alexandrova the 52-minute first set.
The tables turned in the second set, though, as Wozniacki took advantage of errors from the Russian to open up a overwhelming 4-0, double-break lead. A service hold put Wozniacki a game away from a bagel set as she extended rallies long enough to maneuver Alexandrova into errors.
However, Alexandrova kept fighting, fending off two set points to hold for 5-1, then breaking the Dane to move to 5-2. But in the next game, Wozniacki came out on top at the end of a grueling rally to grasp a third set point, which was converted after Alexandrova hit a volley error.
Despite dropping the second set, the late surge in it bolstered the Russian, who claimed the first break of the decider at 1-1, and held onto her lead up to the point where she served for the match at 5-4.
But in that game, Wozniacki moved Alexandrova all over the court before setting up deep groundstrokes, breaking the unseeded player for 5-5. However, just when the momentum seemed to have swung the Dane’s way, Wozniacki dropped serve at love amid a flurry of errors.
Serving for the match a second time, Alexandrova was not to be denied. A powerful forehand pulled the Russian to 30-30 before her seventh ace finally gave her a match point. One more big serve by the Russian was returned into the net, and Alexandrova picked up another milestone victory in her burgeoning career.