Following Heather Watson’s late night 6-4 6-2 defeat to wildcard Victoria Azarenka on Thursday, two more British players bowed out of the singles events in Indian Wells yesterday, although the circumstances of their defeats could hardly have been more different.
First to go was 11th seed Johanna Konta, whose struggle to rediscover her golden form of last summer continues. She fought gamely for 2 hours and 15 minutes in the hottest part of the day against the Czech Republic’s Marketa Vondrousova, but simply made too many errors in subsiding to a 7-6(5) 6-4 defeat. Afterwards the eighteen-year-old Czech player described the win as “the best of my career.”
In stark contrast, Cameron Norrie’s 6-3 1-6 6-1 loss to Japan’s Taro Daniel offered tantalising glimpses of what is surely a golden future for the current British No.3. The Japanese player’s greater experience got him across the victory line, but only just, and he was a relieved man at the end. Norrie will be disappointed to have lost his first Masters 1000 match, but he did well to qualify and is on a steep upward curve.
The tournament’s outstanding performance of the day was undoubtedly Caroline Dolehide’s 5-7 6-3 6-4 victory over 30th seed Domenika Cybulkova. The 19-year old from Illinois hits the ball with tremendous power, and her serve, which regularly tops 120 miles an hour, will give trouble to anyone she plays.