Gar­bine sur­vives a scare

New Straits Times - - Sport -

IN­DIAN WELLS: French Open cham­pion Gar­bine Mugu­ruza got a fright from Kayla Day but out­lasted the pre­co­cious Amer­i­can teenager 3-6, 7-5, 6-2 to reach the fourth round of the WTA In­dian Wells hard court tour­na­ment in Cal­i­for­nia on Sun­day.

Kayla took the first set from the sev­enth seed and had two break point op­por­tu­ni­ties at 5-5 in the sec­ond but the 17-year-old was un­able to ham­mer home her ad­van­tage.

Gar­bine used her ex­pe­ri­ence to get out of trou­ble, even­tu­ally set up a meet­ing with Ukrainian 10th seed Elina Svi­tolina in just over two hours un­der a re­lent­less sun.

“I started a bit off,” the 23-yearold Spa­niard said. “My shots weren’t there. The ex­pe­ri­ence of keep­ing calm and fight­ing helped; it’s no se­cret.

“I think I’m im­prov­ing in gen­eral a lot of things, but I know that maybe two years ago this match I wouldn’t turn it around. I think that’s ex­pe­ri­ence.”

Gar­bine was im­pressed with Kayla, the US Open ju­nior sin­gles cham­pion.

“She re­minds me a lit­tle of me, when I was su­per mo­ti­vated and play­ing very good,” she said.

Kayla hoped to learn from her de­feat.

“I was pretty up­set af­ter my match, be­cause it didn’t go the way I wanted it in the end but if you look at the big pic­ture, I was able to push a top 10 player really far,” she said.

On a day when three matches went to third set tiebreaks, there ul­ti­mately were no big up­sets, with Czech third seed Karolina Pliskova and Rus­sian eighth seed Svet­lana Kuznet­zkova also win­ning.

And fifth seed Slo­vakian Do­minica Cibulkova also ad­vanced, if only barely, sav­ing a match point in a 2-6, 7-6 (7-5), 7-6 (7-4) win over left-handed Czech Kristyna Pliskova, whose 18 aces were not enough.

Kristyna also had 13 break op­por­tu­ni­ties in the third set alone, but con­verted only two.

In an even closer en­counter, Swiss 15th seed Timea Bac­sin­szky sur­vived four match points to beat Dutch 18th seed Kiki Bertens 6-3, 5-7, 7-6 (10-8).

Eleventh seed Jo­hanna Konta was the high­est ranked player to fall, the Bri­ton edged 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7-1) by Carolina Gar­cia of France.

AFP PIC

Gar­bine Mugu­ruza re­turns a shot to Kayla Day in Cal­i­for­nia on Sun­day.

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