Thursday, 8 March 2012

Cirstea and Stephens battle through in Indian Wells

Sorana Cirstea
Sorana Cirstea has shown some promising form in 2012 and despite not playing at her best yesterday, she produced one of her most impressive displays of character to beat Iveta Benesova, 4-6 7-5 7-6 in the first round of the BNP Paribas Open.  Benesova looked to have the match in the bag as she served for the match at 6-4 5-4; however Cirstea showed great fight to win the next three games and force a decider.  Cirstea showed her superior mental toughness to Benesova as she saved nine break points in the third set to set up a second round tie with Agnieszka Radwanska

Benesova was not the only player to suffer an episode of choking on a dramatic first day of action at Indian Wells.  Marina Erakovic wasted four match points as she went down to Galina Voskoboeva, 5-7 6-3 7-5.  In the longest match of the day at 3 hours and 12 minutes Aleksandra Wozniak blew a match point as she lost to Sloane Stephens, 4-6 7-5 7-6.  Wozniak seems to be playing very well at the moment, but is struggling to get over the finish line in close matches as she lost a similarly tough match to Agnieszka Radwanska in Dubai two weeks ago. I was glad to see a Brit get through as Elena Baltacha battled back from a set and break down to beat Arantxa Rus.  The other Brit in action, Anne Keothavong lost a tight three setter to the returning, Timea Bacsinszky who won her first WTA main draw match since last year's tournament in Miami having been sidelined with a serious foot injury.

In other matches, promising talents, Mona Barthel and Carla Suarez Navarro both won through in straight sets.  Barthel eased past Jill Craybas, 6-1 6-2 meanwhile Suarez Navarro saved 14 break points during her 6-4 6-2 victory over Tsvetana Pironkova.  There were wins for some players who have recently struggled for form; Jarmila Gajdosova came from a set down and a break down in the third set to beat Coco Vandeweghe, 4-6 6-3 6-3.  The high flying doubles pair of Elena Vesnina and Sania Mirza also won their first round encounters.  A minor surprise was the exit of the in-form Sara Errani.  She was beaten by Vania King, 7-6 6-4 and will now play Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova who she has beaten in her last two matches.

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