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Indian Wells: Naomi Osaka through, Venus downs Kvitova
13 March 2019, 12:15 | Tracey Rhodes
China's Zheng Saisai loses in first round of BNP Paribas Open - Xinhua | English.news.cn
And the Japanese's eagerness to get her title defence off to a flyer led to butterflies, with Osaka suffering a scare before emerging with a 6-3, 6-4 last-64 victory over France's Kristina Mladenovic on Saturday.
Frenchwoman and 2017 Indian Wells semi-finalist Mladenovic will face a familiar foe in the second round following her 7-5 6-2 win over Zheng.
After Mladenovic held serve to narrow the deficit to 5-4, the Japanese player faced another break point before wrapping up the match after 1 hour 21 minutes.
The match was Osaka's first as the world's top player and as the reigning Australian Open champion - and she was contesting it coachless after parting ways with Sascha Bajin shortly after her Melbourne triumph.
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Osaka will next face Danielle Collins, the 25th-seeded American who beat Belgian Kirsten Flipkens, 6-4, 6-1. I was kind of waiting for him to do something with the ball rather than doing it myself. Djokovic was stretched in the first set of his opener by American Bjorn Fratengelo, after winning a more routine second set for a straight sets win.
The Australian beat Nadal, former world number three Stan Wawrinka, ninth-ranked John Isner and number three Alexander Zverev on route the title in Mexico. I didn't play my best tennis today, but on certain points where I maybe had a little sniff or a little chance to get into the match ... he came up with a really good shot to break me in the first set.
The eighth seed will meet red-hot Russian Natalia Vikhlyantseva in the third round after the qualifier crushed Spaniard Carla Suarez Navarro 6-2 6-0.
The world number one, making his first appearance since winning the Australian Open, was tested early before claiming a 7-6 (7-5) 6-2 victory. "I think I have a good night-match win streak going for me right now, so I'm not going to say anything negative about that".
In the other women's ties, seven-time major victor Venus Williams pulled off the upset of the day, rallying from a set and two breaks down to topple third-seeded Petra Kvitova 4-6, 7-5, 6-4. "I'm sure her game suits well here as the defending champion, and I'm sure she wants to build on some wins again". [ALSO LIKE] Auger-Aliassime is one of four teens in the draw, along with countryman Denis Shapovalov, Alexei Popyrin and lucky loser Miomir Kecmanovic.
Kecmanovic gained entry into the second round in place of injured fifth-seed Kevin Anderson.
Sixth-seeded Kei Nishikori, who will compete at this tournament for the first time in two years, is scheduled to play Adrian Mannarino on Sunday.
Britain's 22nd seed Kyle Edmund advanced to round three with a 6-2 6-0 victory over Chile's Nicolas Jarry.
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