Wed, Mar 13, 2019 - Page 16 News List

Reigning champ Osaka advances at Indian Wells

AP, INDIAN WELLS, California

Japan’s Naomi Osaka returns to Danielle Collins of the US in their BNP Paribas Open third-round women’s singles match in Indian Wells, California, on Monday.

Photo: AP

Naomi Osaka on Monday rolled past Danielle Collins 6-4, 6-2 in the third round of the women’s singles at the BNP Paribas Open, keeping the world No. 1 on track to defend her title.

Collins struggled with her serve throughout the match, committing seven double faults and connecting on just 47 percent of her first serves.

Osaka’s first-serve percentage was 66 and she won 70 percent of her first-serve points.

“In the first set I was just really flat-footed. I didn’t feel like I was moving well at all,” Osaka said. “Then I just tried to really hype myself up. My mindset was just to keep trying to get my feet moving, and stay pumped up and positive.”

Osaka won her first career title at Indian Wells a year ago, propelling her to a career-best season in which she defeated Serena Williams for the US Open title.

She began this season by winning the Australian Open and moving to the top of the rankings. After that triumph, she fired her coach and lost in the first round in Dubai, before taking on a new coach, Jermaine Jenkins.

“It is different from last year, but I think I am getting used to it,” Osaka said. “I have been practicing on Court 3 for the past few days, and I’m really grateful there is a lot of people that come out and watch. I try to sign all of the signatures.”

Venus Williams is turning back her own clock, moving into the fourth round with a 6-2, 7-5 victory over qualifier Christina McHale.

Venus Williams is seeking her 50th career WTA Tour title in the desert, where she has never won the event, and at 38, she is showing vintage form.

“I don’t really play that often, so when I do, I need to play well,” she said. “It’s extra motivation for me to play just a little bit better out there.”

Ranked 36th in the world, Venus Williams endured three sets in her first two matches. She rallied past Andrea Petkovic in the opening round and followed up by outlasting third seed Petra Kvitova in a third-set tiebreaker.

Kvitova had made the finals in two of her first three tournaments this year.

Venus Williams, who made the semi-finals in the desert last year, was playing McHale for the first time. She rallied from early breaks down in both sets to win.

“I never played her, so it’s also you’re out there learning,” she said.

Fifth seed Karolina Pliskova eased past qualifier Ysaline Bonaventure 6-3, 6-2, while eighth seed Angelique Kerber outlasted qualifier Natalia Vikhlyantseva 3-6, 6-1, 6-3 and ninth seed Aryna Sabalenka defeated 24th seed Lesia Tsurenko 6-2, 7-5.

Two seeded women lost: No. 11 Anastasija Sevastova, who retired trailing 5-0 in the first set against No. 21 Anett Kontaveit, and No. 15 Julia Goerges, who lost to Mona Barthel 7-5, 1-6, 6-4.

In the men’s singles, third seed Alexander Zverev lost to fellow German Jan-Lennard Struff 6-3, 6-1.

Playing just his third tournament of the year, Zverev said he has been sick for a week.

“That hasn’t changed, unfortunately,” he said.

Seventh seed Dominic Thiem defeated 27th seed Gilles Simon 6-3, 6-1, while 13th seed Milos Raonic was challenged by qualifier Marcos Giron before winning 4-6, 6-4, 6-4.

Serbian lucky loser Miomir Kecmanovic battled past 30th seed Laslo Djere 6-2, 7-6 (7/3).

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