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Venus surges, Keys stumbles at Indian Wells

Venus surges, Keys stumbles at Indian Wells

Venus Williams fought back to down third seed Petra Kvitova 4-6 7-5 6-4 and reach the BNP Paribas Open third round on Saturday, while Naomi Osaka got her title defense off to a flying start with a straight sets win over Kristina Mladenovic.

She received a first-round bye in Indian Wells and then beat Victoria Azarenka 7-5, 6-3 on Saturday [NZ time].

Nadal, a three-time Indian Wells victor, is playing his third tournament of the year after a runner-up finish to Djokovic at the Australian Open and a second-round loss to eventual champion Nick Kyrgios in the Mexico Open in Acapulco.

Osaka, playing her first match under new coach Jermaine Jenkins, fired five aces against Mladenovic's one and sealed the win in 1 hour, 21 minutes. I think I did that in the Australian Open.

The American seven-time grand slam singles champion was the better of the two players in the third set and managed to break twice.

"The tournament in Australia was unbelievable considering all these things, the only regret is that I could not compete at my best in the final but I found a great Djokovic", Nadal told ESPN this week.

She booked a third-round clash with fellow American Christina McHale, a 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 victor over 30th-seed Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.

Two-time Wimbledon champion Kvitova, who was runner-up to Naomi Osaka at the Australian Open in January, also reached the final in Dubai last month.

"He had an unbelievable backhand cross pass, and we played a really long point ..."

But Williams immediately broke back and Kvitova soon found herself serving to save the match.

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This time the Japanese was on song as she won in straight sets.

However, the American was unable to close it out, a double fault and a pair of errors handing Djokovic the opening set.

"It was such a weird match, to be honest. I just didn't play well today", he said.

"I was kind of waiting for him to do something with the ball rather than doing it myself", he said.

Eugenie Bouchard, meanwhile, fell at the first hurdle following a three-set loss against Kirsten Flipkens at the WTA tournament.

Taking everything into consideration, I am going to pick Rafael Nadal to win this match.

Kerber, the eighth seed, progressed impressively, dismantling Yulia Putintseva 6-0 6-2 in just over an hour.

Women's fifth seed Karolina Pliskova started on a rusty note, but eventually beat Japanese qualifier Misaki Doi 6-7 (4/7), 6-1, 6-1.

Russian 14th seed Daniil Medvedev is also through after he dismissed American Mackenzie McDonald 7-5 6-0 and he will face Filip Krajinovic next after the Serb conquered 20th-seeded Belgian David Goffin 6-3 6-3.

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