Serena Williams Image Credit: USA TODAY Sports

Indian Wells: The BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California, lost 23-times Grand Slam winner Serena Williams, who retired against Garbine Muguruza with what organisers described as a viral illness. The Spaniard was ahead 6-3, 1-0 at the time.

World No. 2 Simona Halep survived a tough challenge from Ukrainian qualifier Kateryna Kozlova to win their third round match 7-6, 7-5.

The Romanian finally put away the 114th ranked Kozlova with eight consecutive points in the second set, a backhand winner proving the decider just as it had in the first set.

Halep said her opponent had been tough to put away.

“It was difficult for me to close out those sets,” she said. “When I was leading the match, she played without fear.”

On the men’s tour, Rafael Nadal raced into the third round as Roger Federer made a less speedy but still successful start to his quest for a sixth title on Sunday.

Nadal, a three-time Indian Wells winner, needed just 72 minutes to get past overmatched Jared Donaldson, 6-1, 6-1.

Federer looked set for a similarly easy time of it, but had to turn back a second-set challenge from German Peter Gojowczyk in a 6-1, 7-5 win.

“I struggled a little bit with my serving in that second set and that gave him chances. Because he was serving better, he started to swing more freely and then it was tough,” Federer said.

— AFP