Tennis·ROUNDUP

Canada's Leylah Fernandez wins opening doubles match at Indian Wells alongside France's Alizé Cornet

Canada's Leylah Fernandez won her opening doubles match at the BNP Paribas Open alongside France's Alizé Cornet on Thursday in Indian Wells, Calif.

Naomi Osaka beats Sloane Stephens in her first match at the tournament since 2019

Leylah Fernandez of Laval, Que., hits a shot during her doubles victory with partner Alize Cornet of France on Thursday at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, Calif. (Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports via Reuters)

Canada's Leylah Fernandez won her opening doubles match at the BNP Paribas Open alongside France's Alizé Cornet on Thursday in Indian Wells, Calif.

The duo upset No. 2 seeds Samantha Stosur of Australia and Zhang Shuai of China 1-6, 7-6 (7), 10-8. They will next face Germany's Vera Zvonareva and Laura Siegemund on Sunday.

Fernandez is scheduled to play her first singles match of the tournament on Saturday against American Amanda Anisimova in the second round.

The 19-year-old from Laval, Que., is riding momentum after winning her second straight Monterrey Open title last Sunday with a victory over Colombia's Camila Osorio.

Osaka makes victorious return

Earlier, Naomi Osaka of Japan made a winning return to Indian Wells by rallying to beat American Sloane Stephens 3-6, 6-1, 6-2 in a first-round meeting of former major champions.

Trailing 2-0 in the third set, Osaka fought off three break points to hold and begin a run of six straight games to close out the match in just under two hours. She broke Stephens three times in the set, including at love in the sixth game.

"That was a really good test for me," Osaka said.

Cold winds blowing from 20 to 30 mph sent debris swirling around the court.

"I felt like I was fighting for my life. I was fighting against her, I was fighting against the wind. It was crazy," Osaka said. "I'm really proud with how I handled it."

Osaka, the 2018 winner at Indian Wells, is back in the desert for the first time since 2019. The Japanese star hasn't played a tournament since January when she lost in the round of 32 at the Australian Open. Only having played a handful of events last year, her ranking has dropped to 78th in the world.

"I keep taking these long breaks," she said. "I do need to play a lot more matches and I do need to give myself the opportunity to get more into the swing of things."

Osaka has said she has faced bouts of depression since winning the U.S. Open in 2018. The four-time major champion withdrew from the French Open last year to preserve her mental health.

Stephens, the 2017 U.S. Open winner, lost for the first time in three career meetings with Osaka. Her ranking has dropped to 38th, although she was coming off a win in the tournament at Guadalajara, Mexico, last month.

Other first-round winners were Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan, Daria Saville and Tereza Martincova. Shelby Rogers, an Indian Wells quarter-finalist last year, needed nearly three hours to get by Nuria Parrizas Diaz 6-1, 5-7, 7-6 (3).

In men's first-round matches, Americans Mackenzie McDonald, Jenson Brooksby, Jack Sock and J.J. Wolf all won.

Christopher Eubanks saved three match points in outlasting Maxime Cressy 5-7, 7-6 (8), 6-4 in an all-American matchup. Nick Kyrgios, who received a wild card, beat Sebastian Baez 6-4, 6-0.

With files from CBC Sports

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