Friday was the first day with seeds coming into action in Indian Wells Tennis Garden. Top ranked players got the byes in first round, but half of them started their BNP Paribas Open campaign against unseeds who past through opening matches of the main draw. Start of second round delivered notable upsets both in WTA and ATP competition.
Belinda Bencic came up short in all-Swiss clash against Jil Teichmann. The world's number 9 approached to the exciting match-up against her fellowcountry with brilliant score of 16 wins and just 3 loses so far in 2023. Bencic started the match as expected, winning the opening set, but Teichmann took the control of the play since start of second one, not allowing her national team-mate to move into front foot till the end of match. Teichmann won 3-6 6-3 6-3 after 2.5 hours of battle and will face Rebecca Peterson in 3rd round. The Swede moved past Shuai Zhang, who needed to retire after just 3 games of the match against world's number 103.
Donna Vekic was expected to be one of the dark horses of the tournament in Indian Wells after a great start of 2023 and winning the WTA 250 tournament in Monterrey last week. The Croatian was a favorite in the match-up against Lesia Tsurenko, but lost in three sets 6-2 2-6 2-6. Start of the match did not foreshadow any possible problems for Vekic who was running up front, and clinched the opening set convincingly. The Ukrainian raised up her level in second set and forced the decider. Vekic started third set with an early break and was seemingly taking back the control of this match, but then something has clearly broke up in her play, as Tsurenko won 6 games in a row and made quite a shocking upset on the world's number 23. The match ended up with controversy, as Vekic refused the handshake from Tsurenko.
Another big favorites who played their first matches in Indian Wells today did not disappoint though. Aryna Sabalenka gave away just 2 games to Evegeniya Rodina, winning 6-2 6-0. Petra Kvitova, Veronika Kudermetova and Cori Gauff also advanced after straight set wins against lower rated opponents.
Jessica Pegula needed to fight back against Camila Giorgi, winning 3-6 6-1 6-2. The recent Merida Open champion started match really well with 4 games won in a row, which clinched the opening set for her. Pegula regrouped well since then, giving away just 3 games to Giorgi in two following sets. Maria Sakkari was another high seed in danger. The Greek was 2-6 down against Shelby Rogers, but also recovered well, forcing the decider where she sealed the advance into next round with a bagel.
The ATP action brought even more surprises, not just in case of the quantity of upsets. Stefanos Tsitsipas is out of BNP Paribas Open after his 2nd round loss to Jordan Thompson. The Aussie, who denied a successful comeback of Gael Monfils in first round was an underdog in match-up against tournament's seed #2, who was rated as pre-match favorite with an odd 1.16. First set was a great display of performance from Thompson. Both players approached the tie-break without losing serves, but it was the Aussie who put the pressure on Tsitsipas, producing 4 breakpoints, without facing any single one in opening set. He followed the blow in tie-break, taking it with a shocking 7-0 score. Second set started with three breaks in three opening games with Tsitsipas moving up front. The Greek has confidently forced deciding set, winning second set 6-4. The decider could also start well for the world's number 3 as he produced the only one breakpoint of whole set in opening game, but Thompson cleared the danger. The Aussie turned out to be better in the decisive tie-break, winning it 7-5 and achieving his best ever career's win so far.
The bottom areas of ATP main draw are left not just by Tsitsipas. Grigor Dimitrov is also out after retiring in decisive set against Jason Kubler, who is another Aussie to make an upset on Friday. Taro Daniel earned another great upset in his tally. The Japanese eliminated Matteo Berrettini just one week after taking the victory against Casper Ruud in Acapulco. Daniel turned out to be better than the Italian in three sets 7-6(5) 0-6 6-3 and will face Cameron Norrie in next round.
All the Friday's ATP highlights: