Tennis·ROUNDUP

Leylah Fernandez, Denis Shapovalov advance to 3rd round at Indian Wells

Canada's Denis Shapovalov and Leylah Fernandez advanced to the third round at the BNP Paribas Open on Saturday.

Medvedev, Nadal also open with wins; Paolini upsets Sabalenka on women's side

Leylah Fernandez of Laval, Que., reacts after winning a point against Amanda Anisimova at the BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament on Saturday in Indian Wells, Calif. (Mark J. Terrill/The Associated Press)

Canada's Denis Shapovalov and Leylah Fernandez advanced to the third round at the BNP Paribas Open on Saturday.

Shapovalov of Richmond Hill, Ont., rallied to defeat Spain's Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 in second-round action. The match lasted two hours 34 minutes.

It was the Canadian's first match of the tournament at Indian Wells after earning a first-round bye.

Two hours later, Fernandez of Laval, Que., prevailed over 20-year-old American Amanda Anisimova 2-6, 7-6(0), ret. in 1:36:03.

WATCH l Fernandez advances at BNP Paribas Open after Anisimova retires:

Leylah Fernandez advances at Indian Wells after Amanda Anisimova's abrupt retirement

9 months ago
Duration 3:00
Leylah Annie Fernandez of Laval, Que., advanced to the third round of the Indian Wells Masters after her opponent, American Amanda Anisimova abruptly retired after losing the second set tiebreak.

Anisimova retired after losing the second-set tiebreak.

It was a sudden and unexpected turn of events after Fernandez looked destined to lose the match just minutes earlier.

The Canadian fought off match point in the ninth game of the second set to reduce the deficit to 5-4. The 19-year-old then fought off three consecutive match points down 0-40 to break Anisimova's serve.

In the 11th game, Fernandez overcame two break points before dominating the tiebreak 7-0.

It was unclear why a teary eyed Anisimova told the chair umpire she would be unable to continue the match.

Fernandez, fresh off the defence of her Monterrey Open title — her second WTA crown — gets Shelby Rogers of the United States in the third round.

Earlier on the same court, the 13th-ranked Shapovalov found his rhythm and began pulling away in the decisive third set. He broke his opponent on three consecutive service games to take a 5-1 lead.

The Canadian wrapped up the 43-minute third set with a lovely return on triple match point.

Shapovalov finished the encounter with seven aces and 30 winners, and managed to overcome 57 unforced errors and nine double faults.

WATCH l Shapovalov tops Davidovich Fokina at BNP Paribas Open:

Denis Shapovalov rallies to advance to 3rd round at Indian Wells

9 months ago
Duration 3:49
Denis Shapovalov of Richmond Hill, Ont., rallied to defeat Spain's Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 and advance to the third round of the Indian Wells Masters.

The 22-year-old faces hard-serving American Reilly Opelka in the next round.

After dropping the first set, Shapovalov battled back in the second.

The difference was a lengthy seventh game that saw Davidovich Fokina, ranked No. 45 in the world, fight off four break points before the Canadian finally broke through on the fifth one. That was the only service break of the set.

Medvedev makes debut as world No. 1

Daniil Medvedev beat Tomas Machac 6-3, 6-2 on Saturday at Indian Wells in the Russian's first match since ascending to No. 1 in the world.

Medvedev made quick work of his Czech opponent, finishing Machac off in just over an hour. The Russian won 80 per cent of his first-serve points and saved the lone break point he faced.

Rafael Nadal didn't have it as easy in opening his pursuit of a fourth title at Indian Wells. He got pushed to the limit by practice partner Sebastian Korda before winning 6-2, 1-6, 7-6 (3), giving Nadal a 16-0 record this year.

"I started to play a little bit more crosscourt with my forehand and with having a little bit more of calm," Nadal said. "He made a couple mistakes and I was able to save myself."

Nadal won the Australian Open in January for his record 21st major championship, breaking a tie with Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic. He won other titles in Melbourne and in Mexico.

Nadal trailed 5-2 in the third set before winning four straight games with two breaks of Korda to take a 6-5 lead. Korda held at 6-all to force the tiebreaker. The 38th-ranked Korda led 3-2 and then Nadal reeled off five straight points to close out the 2 1/2-hour match.

"He's one of the greatest players of all time. He's super hot. Hasn't lost a match this year," Korda said. "To kind of push him to the edge was awesome. Shows a lot of my game, how dangerous it can be against tough opponents."

Before the match, Nadal withdrew from the Miami Open, which begins March 21. He is managing a chronic condition in his left foot.

Earlier this week, Medvedev received a trophy commemorating his status atop the ATP Tour rankings. He displaced Djokovic, who wasn't allowed to enter the U.S. to play because he's not vaccinated against COVID-19.

Medvedev has to reach the quarter-finals in the desert to stay in the top spot.

"If I'm going to lose it because I'm either going to play a bad match or my opponent is going to play an amazing one, there is the next tournament in Miami," he said. "That's how tennis is, every week is a new story. Right now it's Indian Wells week and I want to make it a good story."

Daniil Medvedev of Russia reacts after a point against Tomas Machac of the Czech Republic at the BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament on Saturday in Indian Wells, Calif. (Marcio Jose Sanchez/The Associated Press)

Playing without a flag

Medvedev is among players from Russia and Belarus competing at Indian Wells without flags, symbols or anthems as a result of Russia's invasion of Ukraine. The decision to eliminate their national identity was made by the International Tennis Federation and both tours.

"It's definitely not for me to decide," Medvedev said. "I follow the rules. I want to play my favourite sport."

Other seeded men's winners were: No. 8 Casper Ruud, defending champion Cameron Norrie, No. 15 Roberto Bautista Agut, No. 17 Reilly Opelka and No. 19 Carlos Alcaraz.

Paolini stuns Sabalenka

In women's play, Jasmine Paolini upset second-seeded Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus 2-6, 6-3, 6-3 in the second round for the Italian's first career win over a top-10 player. Sabalenka fired eight aces to go with 10 double faults.

"After the first set I didn't expect to win the match," Paolini said. "But then point by point I started to believe it. I started to hit better the ball, deeper on the court."

Ranked 46th, Paolini won her first WTA Tour singles title last year and reached the top 50 after the Australian Open.

Other seeded winners were: No. 4 Anett Kontaveit, No. 6 Maria Sakkari and No. 27 Petra Kvitova.

Tearful Osaka bows out early

Rattled by a derogatory shout from a spectator, Naomi Osaka went on to lose 6-0, 6-4 to Veronika Kudermetova in the second round on Saturday night.

Osaka trailed 3-0 in the first set when a woman in the stands apparently shouted, "Osaka, you suck." The Japanese star approached the chair umpire with the unusual request to use the microphone to address the crowd.

A supervisor came on court for a prolonged discussion with Osaka while Kudermetova waited behind the baseline for the match to resume.

After the match, Osaka spoke to the crowd with tears streaming down her face. She said the reason the fan upset her was that she had recently seen a video of Serena and Venus Williams being heckled by fans at Indian Wells in 2001. The sisters boycotted the tournament for years until eventually returning.

Osaka has said she struggled with depression after winning the 2018 U.S. Open. She withdrew from last year's French Open to tend to her mental health.

With files from The Associated Press

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