No.8 seed Angelique fought through her toughest test of the fortnight so far, coming back from a set down against qualifier Natalia Vikhlyantseva to reach the fourth round at the BNP Paribas Open, 3-6, 6-1, 6-3.
Reported by WTATennis.com
One of five qualifiers to reach the third round at Indian Wells this year – the most to do so since 2004 – Vikhlyantseva was dialed in from the start against Kerber. She had already fought through four matches in a row, winning all eight sets – including a big upset over No.24 seed Carla Suarez Navarro in the second round.
She took the initiative early on against Kerber, who came out sluggish at the start on a cloudy, cool Monday in the Coachella Valley. After going down an early break. Vikhlyantseva turned around a 0-2 deficit and reeled off four games in a row to make it 4-2. She edged through to claim the opening set 6-3.
But Kerber responded like a three-time Grand Slam champion, reeling off five games in a row in the second set to record a double-break and force the match into a decider.
In the final set, it seemed like a big of fatigue had caught up with Vikhlyantseva, and Kerber raised her level of aggression to power her way to a break at 1-0. The German applied the pressure to Vikhyantseva’s serve, and was rewarded with four break chances in the next service game before breaking through at 4-1.
But with the German racing toward the finish line, Vikhlyantseva found some of her best tennis to save four match points at 5-2, edging a marathon six-minute game. She grabbed one of the breaks back, turning the tables on Kerber – but the German put an end to any comeback efforts right away, sealing the match after just under two hours.
Back into the fourth round at Indian Wells for the fifth time, Kerber awaits the winner between No.9 seed Aryna Sabalenka and No.24 seed Lesia Tsurenko.