Simona survives on day of upsets

Indian Wells: Top seed Simona Halep narrowly avoided an upset in the BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament third round here Sunday, digging deep for a 1-6, 7-6(7-3), 6-2 win over World No. 165 Caroline Dolehide, while 16-year-old Amanda Anisimova also advanced to the fourth round upsetting two-time winner here, Petra Kvitova.

Romanian Halep was outplayed by American Dolehide in the first set but slowly exerted her authority and, after surviving a second set tie-break, gradually wore down the tiring teen to secure victory.

Wild card Anisimova, took out ninth seed Kvitova 6-2, 6-4, ending the Czech’s win streak at 14 matches following tournament titles in St Petersburg and Doha.

It was another highly impressive performance by junior US Open champion Anisimova, who became the first 16-year-old to reach the fourth round since Viktoriya Kutuzova in 2005.

“I’m still in shock,” Anisimova, who is ranked 149th in the world, told reporters. “She’s the best player I have ever played, and it was the biggest court I have ever played on.”

French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko, seeded sixth, was beaten 3-6, 3-6 by Croat Petra Martic, while French 14th seed Kristina Mladenovic was also sent packing 1-6, 2-6 by China’s Wang Qiang.

US Open champion Sloane Stephens enjoyed a satisfying second round win over Victoria Azarenka, who beat the American three straight years at the Australian Open from 2013-15. “I was a little more aggressive,” said Stephens, who won 6-1, 7-5.

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