Tennis

Tomljanovic earns 3-set victory to open Indian Wells tournament

Ajla Tomljanovic of Australia beat American Hailey Baptiste 6-2, 2-6, 6-2 in opening-round play at the BNP Paribas Open on Wednesday.

Australian beats American Baptiste; Russia's Alexandrova overcomes American Kaliera

Australia's Ajla Tomjanovic hits a forehand shot to Hailey Baptiste of the United States during their match at the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells Tennis Garden on Wednesday in Indian Wells, California. (Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

Ajla Tomljanovic of Australia beat American Hailey Baptiste 6-2, 2-6, 6-2 in opening-round play at the BNP Paribas Open on Wednesday.

Ekaterina Alexandrova of Russia overcame American Elvina Kaliera 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 (7) despite 18 double faults as the combined men's and women's event returned to its usual March place on the calendar after being disrupted by COVID-19.

The tournament was one of the first major sporting events to be cancelled in March 2020 when the pandemic shut down the world. It was moved to October last year and played with few spectators in the stands.

Beatriz Haddad Maia defeated 2020 Australian Open winner Sofia Kenin, 6-3, 7-5. Kenin was a finalist at the French Open two years ago, but couldn't capitalize on her success. She struggled last year and her ranking has dropped to 130th in the world this year.

Alison Riske routed Caty McNally 6-0, 6-3 in an all-American matchup.

Kaia Kanepi defeated 17-year-old American Robin Montgomery 6-3, 6-3. Montgomery, winner of the junior girls' singles and doubles titles at the 2021 U.S. Open, connected on 57 per cent of her first serves but had nine double faults.

Other first-round winners were American Claire Liu, Petra Martic and Misaki Doi.

Ukrainian refugee Dayana Yastremska lost her opening-round match against Caroline Garcia of France 6-4, 6-7, 7-5. The 21-year-old fell just short in the Lyon Open final on Sunday after fleeing her home in war-torn Odessa following the Russian invasion.

Women's draw missing top players

The women's draw is missing the world's top two players — Ash Barty and Barbora Krejcikova. Barty said she hasn't sufficiently recovered after winning the Australian Open and Krejcikova has an elbow injury.

Novak Djokovic said he will not be able to compete at Indian Wells or Miami because he is unvaccinated and can't travel to the United States.

The five-time champion in the desert tweeted the Centers for Disease Control "confirmed the regulations won't be changing so I won't be able to play in the U.S."

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