Indian Wells, California: Emma Raducanu, Simona Halep and Iga Swiatek all came out on the winning side of three set matches while Danka Kovinic upset former world number one Karolina Pliskova in second round action at Indian Wells on Friday.
Raducanu’s 6-1 3-6 6-1 victory is the Briton’s first at the WTA 1000 event as she looks to get her season on track after falling in the second round at the Australian Open and retiring in Guadalajara with injury.
The US Open champion came out hot in the Southern California desert, playing nearly flawless tennis to take the first set before Garcia responded with more power in the second.
After exchanging breaks to begin the decider, Raducanu won the final five games to seal the win on a sunny day on Stadium One.
“It’s amazing to be back and it’s amazing to get my first win in the desert here,” the 19-year-old Raducanu said in an on-court interview before a supportive crowd.
“I hope to come back for many years.”
Halep’s 6-2 4-6 6-2 win over Ekaterina Alexandrova followed a similar trajectory as the two-time major champion breezed through the first set before running into resistance in the second and running away with it in the third.
“It’s always tough to play the first match of the tournament and she is a very difficult opponent,” said Halep, who now holds a 3-2 lead in their head-to-head matches.
“But I’m happy that I could win. It’s important at this stage.” Swiatek needed time to find her serve in her match against Ukrainian Anhelina Kalinina but once she did, the third seeded Pole eased into the third round with a 5-7 6-0 6-1 victory.
With their wins, Halep and Swiatek remain on track for a possible semi-final clash.
In the biggest upset of the tournament so far, Danka Kovinic stunned big-serving Pliskova 2-6 7-5 6-4 in a hard fought two-and-a-half hour match.
The match was world number eight Pliskova’s first of the year.