(March 13, 2016) INDIAN WELLS, California – Serena Williams was pushed to the brink in the first set but defeated Yulia Putintseva 7-6(2), 6-0 to advance to the round of 16 at the BNP Paribas Open on Sunday.
Putintseva went up a break to take a 3-1 lead in the first set against the world No. 1 and served for the set twice at 5-4 and 6-5 but failed to close. Williams dominated the tiebreak 7-2, and did not lose another game. The 21-time major champion ended he match with an ace.
Williams talked about the first set rollercoaster: “I was just trying to find my rhythm out there. Trying my best to not get off to a slow start. Then I got broken really early and I couldn’t manage to break back.
“But I was just trying to fight out there and do what I could.”
Asked about what makes Putintseva’s game frustrating, Williams said: I don’t know. I found it good to play. I just wasn’t finding my rhythm. I hadn’t played someone like her in a second, so I was just trying to get my bearings there.
“I made a lot of errors in that first set. I went for a lot and I usually make those, but I kept missing. Even in the first game. Wow, this echo is annoying. Is that better? Yes, I think. Yeah. Okay.
“Even though I won, I made some simple errors that just kept going for the first set.”
Williams had 29 unforced errors in the first set.
Third seed Agnieszka Radwanska, making a 10th straight appearance in Indian Wells defeated 32nd seed Monica Niculescu 6-2, 6-1. She was the 2014 runner-up.
She was asked about the upsets tournament, but in women’s tennis in general. Half of the women’s seeds are out of the tournament.
“I think the conditions also are very tough,” she. But, well, to be honest, those lower-ranked players are also playing good tennis, so it’s not like you can play your 50% and you’re gonna win.
“Maybe that how was like maybe 10 years ago, that you really didn’t play your best and you was still keep winning even two easy sets
“And I think at the moment you really have to play 100% from the first rounds because there are no easy matches. Especially that a lot of players unseeded, and you think they kind of should be in the top 20 and you are playing them in the first round and you’re in trouble.
“Well, I think that’s tennis. What you’re not have your day, you are in trouble.”
Eighth seed Petra Kvitova survived Johanna Larsson 6-3, 4-6, 7-5. Larsson was serving for the match at 5-4 in the third set before Kvitova broke serve.
The Czech was very happy to advance.
“It’s such a relief, I think. I think I fought much more than the first set, so the relief is a little bit bigger.
“I think I played better, as well, especially first set. Unfortunately the accident happen on the stands, so it was kind of weird, you know, to sitting on the chair and someone is really struggling with the hot. It was just tough.
“I think that she really pushed me a lot, because she couldn’t really miss anything. I was like really have to doing everything what I could in the moment and really trying to have some winners, because otherwise we can play still now,” she said with a smile.
More to follow….