By Kim Douglass
(March 14, 2011) This weekend delivered excitement at the BNP Paribas Open with upsets and comebacks, Monday is only just the beginning of what is sure to be an action packed finals.
There's nothing more exciting to see than the underdog making his mark at the big show.In this case, the little known player is American Donald Young who is essentially playing the best tennis of his career. Entering the tournament as a qualifier, Young was able to move past Italy's Potito Starace in the first round. However, it was his 7-6, 6-3 victory over Andy Murray that has drawn all eyes to his perfomance. Murray may have admitted that his second round exit from Indian Wells was unacceptable for someone of his ranking, but this hasn't seemed to shake or jar the confidence exhibited by the World Ranked No. 143 player.
Today, Young will face Tommy Robredo of Spain who defeated Germany's Mischa Zverev 6-3, 3-6, 7-5. The two battled for two hours and 18 minutes before Robredo was able to sink 10 break points in the third set, but only managed to convert two.
Also taking the court today is Juan Del Potro, still running high from his title clinching victory at Del Ray beach, the Argentinean defeated Ivan Ljubicic in the first round, 5-7, 6-4, 6-2. Because of this, 2011 is the first time in Indian Wells history that a defending champion has lost the following year in their first match.
Del Potro will face Alexandr Dolgopolov of
Ukraine, a player who has gained a lot of momentum since entering the Australian Open in
January where he defeated Robin Soderling, amongst other top seeded players, in his pursuit to the quarterfinals. At Indian Wells, the no.23 ranked player is seeded 20th in the tournament, and already beaten Romanian Victor Hanescu in straight sets.
Meanwhile, American qualifier Ryan Sweeting remains in the tournment after a stunning, 6-1 0-6 6-1, victory over Argentinean Juan Monaco. Playing more aggressively, Sweeting successfully upset the 27th seed who was visably frustrated on the court after multiple forced points with drop shots.
His work will undoubtedly be cut out for him as he faces ATP World No.1 ranked player Rafael Nadal, who lost only two games in his second-round, 6-0, 6-2 victory over Rik De Voest on Saturday. Though the Spainiard won this match, he only secured two-thirds of the points and landed 47 percent of his first serves during the 60 minute faceoff.
Top seed Caroline Wozniacki will face Spaniard Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez, who beat Simona Halep, 7-5, 6-0, today. The Dane has had a relatively easy time since entering the tournament, cruising to an easy victory on Sunday over American qualifier Sloane Stephens, 6-3, 6-2.
Also hitting the courts is No. 4 Samantha Stosur, who advanced on Saturday after facing Spanish qualifier Laura Pous-Tio, 6-2, 6-2. She will now go on to play, former world No. 1, Dinara Safina who rolled over, two-time Indian Wells Champion, Daniela Hantuchova, 7-6 (7-2), 6-4.
Though Safina committed eight double faults on her serve, with three in the fourth game of the first set, she was still able to fight for her victory. One would never guess that Safina was only recently flirting with the idea of retirement. Now, after a somewhat dramatic re-entrance into the mainstream, the Russian player battled back from injury and outside of the top 100 in the world rankings.
Rounding out the matches is another former No. 1, Maria Sharapova, who won, the BNP Paribas Open crown in 2006. The 23-year-old may currently be preoccupied with planning a wedding, and even following her NBA player fiancé wherever he may play, with her NBA League Pass account.
She told reporters after her 7-5, 6-7 (3), 6-1 victory over Anabel Medina Garrigues, which took 2 hours, 56 minutes to complete, “If you want the user name, password, I got it all."
She now faces 24-year-old, Aravane Rezai of France in the 3rd round of the tournament at Indian Wells. The 20th seed, has only faced Shuai Zhang, where she was the victor after a 7-6(5), 6-0 in the second round, after earning a bye in the first week.