The first round of the 2018 Indian Wells Masters continued on Thursday as big names and small booked their places in the next phase of the competition at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in California.
Among those in action during Thursday's earlier fixtures was Jeremy Chardy, who defeated French compatriot Julien Benneteau to seal his spot in the second round.
There was another clash between countrymen as Taylor Fritz overcame the challenge of fellow American Reilly Opelka to advance, the latter wild card losing 4-6, 7-6 (6), 6-4 after taking the opening set.
That trend of compatriots battling against one another continued in the women's singles, where Romanians Sorana Cirstea and Monica Niculescu faced off in the opening round, with the former emerging a 6-2, 6-3 victor.
Elsewhere, Danielle Collins ousted American countrywoman Taylor Townsend from the running, and Natalia Vikhlyantseva came out on top of an all-Russian duel against Vera Zvonareva, where she won 6-3, 6-2.
Read on for a roundup of all the early action from Thursday's Indian Wells Masters slate and a breakdown of who's advancing to the second round in California.
Thursday's Early Results
Jeremy Chardy bt. Julien Benneteau: 6-4, 7-6 (9)
Taylor Fritz bt. Reilly Opelka: 4-6, 7-6 (6), 6-4
Horacio Zeballos bt. Yuichi Sugita: 6-7 (5), 6-4, 7-6 (4)
Monica Puig bt. Beatriz Haddad Maia: 6-3, 7-6 (3)
Danielle Collins bt. Taylor Townsend: 2-6, 6-4, 6-3
Sorana Cirstea bt. Monica Niculescu: 6-2, 6-3
Yanina Wickmayer bt. Kayla Day: 6-3, 6-2
Ekaterina Makarova bt. Kirsten Flipkens: 6-2, 6-4
Mona Barthel bt. Veronica Cepede Royg: 6-2, 6-1
Natalia Vikhlyantseva bt. Vera Zvonareva: 6-3, 6-2
Benneteau led fellow Frenchman Chardy by two wins to one in their three meetings prior to Thursday's clash, per SteveGTennis.com, but the latter levelled up their record with a straight-sets victory, 6-4, 7-6 (9).
Three years had passed since the pair had last met in competition, and Chardy timed a late lunge right in the first set before putting the finishing touches on the result with a calmly taken victory in the tiebreak.
That theme also rang true with American Fritz, who found himself on the verge of an early exit at Indian Wells until he rallied late to dish Opelka a first-round departure from the tournament, winning 4-6, 7-6 (6), 6-4.
Fritz won the last three games in succession and had a particularly impressive finish, blitzing his way into the next phase of the contest.
Tennis TV summarised the 20-year-old's composed crescendo:
Monica Puig was among the early women's stars to advance after she beat Beatriz Haddad Maia 6-3, 7-6 (3), while Belgian Yanina Wickmayer downed Kayla Day 6-3, 6-2 and will face Daria Gavrilova in the second round.
Tennis writer Jose Morgado detailed how Cirstea will be another with a seeded opponent next up at Indian Wells, recovering to settle her result against Niculescu despite a second-set wobble:
Collins required a recovery of her own against Townsend but bounced back from an opening-set loss to beat her American foe 2-6, 6-4, 6-3, winning the last four games in a row after suffering back-to-back breaks, per the WTA:
Vikhlyantseva will face 12th seed Julia Gorges in the next round of the tournament after dominating Zvonareva 6-3, 6-2, where the latter suffered three breaks of serve in a disappointing second set.
Ekaterina Makarova and Mona Barthel also progressed after beating Kirsten Flipkens and Veronica Cepede Royg, respectively, and they'll take on No. 10 seed Angelique Kerber and fourth seed Elina Svitolina next.