It is a testament to Serena Williams’ greatness that the biggest storyline during Tuesday’s action at the 2015 BNP Paribas Open was arguably the fact that she lost a set during her victory.
Williams dropped the first set against Sloane Stephens but was able to prevail with relatively straightforward second and third sets. It was one of several thrilling matches on both the men’s and women’s side of the bracket at Indian Wells, including Eugenie Bouchard's shock defeat to qualifier Lesia Tsurenko.
The men were still in the third round, while the women were in the fourth.
With that in mind, here is a look at the scores and more from Tuesday’s slate at the BNP Paribas Open.
Scores and Schedule Information
|2015 BNP Paribas Open: Tuesday Scores|
|Men's Singles||Milos Raonic||Alexandr Dolgopolov||7-6, 6-4|
|Men's Singles||Gilles Simon||Michael Berrer||6-2, 7-5|
|Men's Singles||Rafael Nadal||Donald Young||6-4, 6-2|
|Men's Singles||Lukas Rosol||Robin Haase||6-4, 6-7, 7-6|
|Men's Singles||Tomas Berdych||Steve Johnson||6-4, 6-2|
|Men's Singles||Jack Sock||Roberto Bautista Agut||3-6, 6-3, 6-2|
|Men's Singles||Roger Federer||Andreas Seppi||6-3, 6-4|
|Men's Singles||Tommy Robredo||Grigor Dimitrov||6-4, 1-6, 7-5|
|Women's Singles||Timea Bacsinszky||Elina Svitolina||4-6, 6-1, 6-1|
|Women's Singles||Serena Williams||Sloane Stephens||6-7, 6-2, 6-2|
|Women's Singles||Simona Halep||Karolina Pliskova||6-4, 6-4|
|Women's Singles||Carla Suarez Navarro||Heather Watson||7-6, 3-6, 6-1|
|Women's Singles||Flavia Pennetta||Maria Sharapova||3-6, 6-3, 6-2|
|Women's Singles||Jelena Jankovic||Belinda Bencic||6-3, 3-6, 6-3|
|Women's Singles||Sabine Lisicki||Caroline Garcia||6-4, 6-4|
|Women's Singles||Lesia Tsurenko||Eugenie Bouchard||6-7 (5), 7-5, 6-4|
An updated bracket can be found here, courtesy of the event’s official website. A full schedule for both the men’s and women’s singles can be found here, also courtesy of the event’s official website.
*Late-night scores will be added after they become final.
Tuesday’s Marquee Results
As mentioned, the buzz in Indian Wells Tuesday surrounded Williams’ somewhat tougher-than-expected match with Stephens on the women’s side of the bracket. After all, Williams is the dominant force in the game, and this is her first appearance in Indian Wells since 2001.
Part of Williams' problem was that she committed an uncharacteristic 52 unforced errors and tallied nine double faults. She played in blistering heat, which may have been an issue, but she ultimately prevailed with an impressive finish, 6-7, 6-2, 6-2.
Williams commented on her match, according to Beth Harris of The Associated Press (via Yahoo Sports): ''I'm just trying to find my bearings. Little off this week, but like I said, I'm just happy to be here. The crowd has been really great. It's been really relaxing here. I just feel I don't want to leave.''
Ben Rothenberg of The New York Times pointed out that Williams closed Stephens out in impressive style with a ridiculous serve on the point before match point:
Good luck stopping a serve like that.
Thanks to that overpowering serve, Williams finished with 14 aces as compared to Stephens’ one, but it was Williams’ mark on first-service points that made the ultimate difference. She won 80 percent of her first-service points and controlled the last two sets.
While Williams did avoid the upset, Maria Sharapova did not.
Sharapova committed a crippling 11 double faults in her 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 loss to Flavia Pennetta and never really looked like herself on the court. She also only converted on one of her five break-point opportunities and missed her chances to take control of the match in the early going in the second set.
Alas, Pennetta rallied and won those final two sets in impressive fashion.
Sharapova wasn't the only big name to stumble, however. Bouchard fell short against Ukrainian hopeful Tsurenko, who scraped beyond the Canadian favourite, per SI Tennis:
Bouchard struggled to establish momentum, winning just 53 percent of her first service points. She was unable to gain control of the vital points, with Tsurenko managing to save six of 13 break opportunities to keep herself in contention.
Tsurenko remained assured throughout and continued to pressure Bouchard into playing big shots. She prevailed in one of her most impressive career wins, and moves onto the next round in confident fashion, where she will now face Jelena Jankovic.
On the men’s side, Roger Federer had little trouble with Andreas Seppi and won in straight sets, 6-3, 6-4.
He finished with six aces, won 75 percent of his first-service points and generally looked like his ageless self on the court.
Rafael Nadal also cruised to an easy straight-sets victory over Donald Young, 6-4, 6-2, in a showdown of southpaws.
Unlike Williams, Nadal did not control his match with his serve and only finished with one ace. He also only won 60 percent of his first-service points and 50 percent of his second-service points.
Still, the BNP Paribas Open noted that it was business as usual for the three-time champion:
The difference for Nadal in this match against Young was his ability in the return game. Nadal actually won an impressive 75 percent of his available break points and simply outmaneuvered Young in the second set to win it 6-2 going away.
While the break points were critical during Tuesday’s match, they are also encouraging moving forward.
Nadal has won plenty of matches on the back of his typically impressive serve throughout his career, but he demonstrated some versatility Tuesday that could carry over into the later rounds. While there is certainly some merit in controlling matches with the serve, it is very difficult to knock off some of the greatest names in the game like Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer without taking advantage of break-point opportunities.
Nadal not only took advantage of those opportunities, but he also dominated them and won the match. If he can continue to do that moving forward, deep into the tournament, he may be able to add yet another Indian Wells title to his illustrious resume.