Indian Wells | Boulter beaten, Badosa pulls out, but Volynets, Kerber and Pera advance before rain halts play

On a day curtailed by late rain, the BNP Paribas Open got underway on Wednesday at Indian Wells, with disappointment for Katie Boulter and Paula Badosa, wild-card Katie Volynets ousting Mirra Andreeva, and Angelique Kerber handily beating Petra Martic.

Follow your heart, enjoy what you love, and dream big. Angelique Kerber

Just 3 days after accomplishing her ­greatest career achievement in winning her first WTA 500 title in San Diego on Sunday, and rising to No 27 in the world, Boulter was swiftly brought back down to earth by Camila Giorgi, who dismantled her, 6-3 6-2, in 78 minutes to advance to the 2nd-round.

It was always going to be a challenge for the British No 1, despite arriving in the desert favoured to beat the Italian, who has struggled badly of late, and fell out of the top 100 this week to No 106, her lowest ­ranking since 2013.

Giorgi is an experienced former Top 30 player, though, having won the WTA 1000 event in Montreal 3 years ago, and can blow anyone off the court when she is in full flow.

When the 32-year-old is off form, her game can deteriorate drastically but, on Wednesday, the Italian was in sparkling form, and took control of the baseline from the get-go, crushing the ball off both wings to force Boulter onto her back foot as she dictated most exchanges.

Boulter simply could not keep up, and her errors began to mount as she struggled with her serve and became increasingly passive as the match wore on.

Having lost her serve early in both sets, Boulter spent most of the match trying to hang in, and clearly found it difficult to settle.

In the 2nd-round, Giorgi will face the No 26 seed, Linda Noskova from the Czech Republic, who received an opening bye.

Spain’s Paula Badosa withdrew ahead of her 1st-round match due to a lower back injury, and was replaced by a lucky loser, Nadia Podoroska of Argentina.

“So sorry I have to withdraw from my favourite tournament,” she wrote on social media. “I tried everything to be able to play but wasn’t enough.

“I’m having a very difficult time with my injury but I’m fighting everyday to come back as soon as possible.

“I wanna thank the fans that are sticking with me, specially this past year. I’m sorry l haven’t given what you are expecting from me, and I’m just giving you sad news lately. (Trust me is the last thing | want also).

“I also want to thank the tournament for the WC [wild-card], you are the best tournament in the world. See you next year.”

Badosa was the 2021 Indian Wells champion, her first WTA 1000 title and biggest of her career in which she has claimed 3 WTA titles.

It is another tough setback for the former World No 2, who retired injured from her Dubai 1st-round match 3 weeks ago, and had come to Indian Wells intent on starting her Sunshine Double campaign in the desert.

On Tuesday, Badosa participated in the Eisenhower Cup, a Tie Break Tens charity event, in which she teamed up with her boyfriend Stefanos Tsitsipas, and did not show any signs of discomfort, but she withdrew the following day ahead of her scheduled 1st-round meeting against Ashlyn Krueger.


Wild-card Katie Volynets upset 16-year old Mirra Andreeva on Day 1 at Indian Wells

© Michael Owens/Getty Images

Meanwhile, 22-year old Katie Volynets upset Mirra Andreeva, the 16-year old from Russia who was seeded No 38, in the 1st round, 7-5 7-5, for the Northern Californian’s first Top 40 win of the season.

The home favourite, wild-carded into the main draw, showed admirable resilience, especially in a second set that the Russian had controlled from the beginning, but could not close out, despite having 4 set points in her favour.

Andreeva had appeared more aggressive than her opponent, securing the first break in the 3rd game, although Volynets quickly responded to maintain parity.

With the score at 4-4, Andreeva gained a valuable break that allowed her to serve for the first set, but a couple of unforced errors gave the break to Volynets, who won 3 consecutive games to take the set, coming from behind.

Volynets’ consistency from the baseline frustrated Andreeva, who nonetheless maintained the initiative in the set.

The young Russian was consistent with her service, and with 2 breaks in hand, she led 5-3 and 40-0 with the opportunity to level the match, but, after squandering 4 set points, Volynets levelled, her resistance proving the sturdier as she secured her second career win in a WTA 1000 main draw.

In the final games, Andreeva had appeared nervous, lacking initiative, and playing high shots down the middle of the court, hoping for Volynet errors.

The American did not hesitate when presented with chances, securing 4 consecutive games and winning on her first match point to conclude the match.

A visibly upset Andreeva quickly exited the court, no doubt stressed at having wasted her opportunities in the match, leaving Volynets to face the 6th seed, Ons Jabeur, from Tunisia, in round 2.


Angelique Kerber pulled off an impressive win against Petra Martic at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden on Wednesday afternoon

© Michael Owens/Getty Images

Elsewhere, 3-times Grand Slam champion Angelique Kerber beat Petra Martic from Croatia, 6-3 6-4, in her opening encounter.

The German, who returned to the tour in January after 18 months on maternity leave, beat Martic behind some solid serving on a sunny centre court, before rain delayed play in the evening.

“Follow your heart, enjoy what you love, and dream big,” Kerber said when asked what message she had for her daughter Liana.

Kerber announced her maternity leave just days before the 2022 US Open, welcoming daughter Liana with partner Franco Bianco the following February.

The 36-year old returned to action at the start of 2024, winning a match at United Cup, but lost in both of her subsequent appearances at the Australian Open and in Linz.

Looking fresh in her first Indian Wells appearance since 2022, Kerber made quick work of her first meeting with Martic in over a decade, defeating the Croatian in 90 minutes on Stadium 1 court.

At 33 years old Martic, who is down from her career-high ranking of No 14 and, unseeded at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, struggled early against Kerber, despite the slow conditions, and surrendered the first break of serve.

Although the Croatian quickly broke back, Kerber was undaunted, winning a long 6th game to retrieve the initiative, and served out the opening set on her second opportunity.

The second followed a similar pattern, with Kerber emerging from an early exchange of breaks, and proving more consistent than Martic, pushing for a potential double-break advantage.

Martic gamely saved 3 break points to stay within reach, but the German dug herself out of a 0-30 hole to keep the pressure on as the match reached its critical point.

Serving for the match, Kerber raced to double match point, converting her second to book an intriguing clash with Jelena Ostapenko, the 2017 Roland Garros champion, and the 10th seed at Indian Wells.

The pair last faced off in Cincinnati in 2021, where Kerber rallied from a set down to defeat the Latvian in 3 sets, but Ostapenko has enjoyed an excellent start to 2024, winning 2 titles and returning to the Top 10 for the first time since 2018.


Qualifier Bernarda Pera got the better of Daria Saville in 3 very tight sets on Wednesday

© Anthony Wallace/AFP via Getty Images

Australia’s Daria Saville suffered an agonising loss when she went down to qualifier Bernarda Pera in 3 tough sets.

Despite showing remarkable grit to win the second set and forcing a decider, Saville was pipped at the post by the American, who rallied hard to snatch the final set breaker, 7-5, to advance to the round of 64.

Little had separated the two throughout, as both battled with serve, Pera committing 12 double-faults to Saville’s 13.

Pera converted 9 out of 22 break-point opportunities, while Saville won 9 of her 21 chances.

In the end, there was just one point separating them, with Pera winning 129 points overall to Saville’s 128.

Pera advances to meet Marketa Vondrousova, the Czech 7th seed.


Wild card Venus Williams waits as rain suspends her match against Nao Hibino of Japan at the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells Tennis Garden on Wednesday night

© Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

In other Day 1 results, Yulia Putintseva from Kazakhstan, eased past Germany’s Tamara Korpatsch, 6-2 6-3, and will face 15th seed Ekaterina Alexandrova from Russia, while Czech Anna Bouzkova was an easy winner over Spain’s Sara Sorrives Tormo, 6-1 6-1, Germany’s Tatjana Maria got past Aranxta Rus from the Netherlands, 7-6(5) 6-2, Slovakian qualifier Rebecca Sramkova defeated Wang Yafan, 6-4 6-0, and Mai Hontama, a Japanese qualifier outlasted China’s Zhang Shuai, 5-7 6-2 6-0.

Rain suspended play on Day 1 at the BNP Paribas Open, pushing a number of marquee 1st-round matches into Day 2.

The following matches were underway before being suspended:

  • Venus Williams vs. Nao Hibino, 1-1, rescheduled to second on Stadium 1
  • Caroline Wozniacki vs. Zhu Lin, 7-6(6), 0-1, rescheduled to second on Stadium 2
  • Danielle Collins vs. Erika Andreeva, 7-6(3), 6-5, rescheduled to second on Stadium 3
  • McCartney Kessler vs. Nuria Parrizas Diaz, 2-3, rescheduled to second on Stadium 6

The following matches had yet to begin:

  • Robin Montgomery vs. Hailey Baptiste, rescheduled to second on Stadium 9
  • Nadia Podoroska vs. Ashlyn Krueger, rescheduled to second on Stadium 8
  • Taylor Townsend vs. Magda Linette, rescheduled to third on Stadium 6

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