Indian Wells | Brit trio advance to Q2 at Indian Wells

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Britain’s Heather Watson, Heather Dart and Katie Boulter all advanced into round two of the qualifying competition at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California, on Monday with impressive wins.

The start of qualifying officially kicked off the first WTA 1000 tournament of the Sunshine Swing, which starts its main draw on Wednesday.

Eleven of the Top 100 ranked players were in action in qualifying, and the opening day was not without some high-profile upsets, with Japan’s Mai Hontama, ranked 126, ousting World No 78 and top seed Greet Minnen of Belgium, 6-3 2-6 6-2.

The trio of Brits advanced, with Watson, who reached the Round of 16 in the main draw here in 2015, the same year she rose to a career-high No 38, leading the charge with a 7-5 6-2 win over Spain’s Rebeka Masarova, while Dart was a 6-1 7-5 winner over Lesley Pattinama Kerkhove from the Netherlands, and Boulter upset China’s 6th seed Xinyu Wang, 6-7(8) 6-4 6-4.

Watson, the British No 2, who is ranked 113 these days at the age of 29 and is seeded 21 here, twice broke back immediately against Masarova in the first set to level at 2-2 and 5-5, before clinching her third set point on the Spaniard’s serve.

The former British No 1 then raced into a 4-0 lead in the second and, following 4 successive breaks of serve, was able to seal victory to set up a meeting with Hontama on Tuesday.

Dart, the British No 3 who is ranked 122 and seeded 21, took an hour and 27 minutes to dispatch Pattinama Kerkhove, 6-1 7-5, and she will now take on Anastasia Gasanova for a place in the main draw on Tuesday after Gasanova upset France’s Diane Parry, the No 11 seed, 4-6 6-3 6-3.

Meanwhile Boulter, the British No 4 who is ranked 127, led 4-1 and 5-3 in her first set against Wang, but she was unable to capitalise on 3 set points, before falling short in an 18-point tiebreak.

A break of serve in the 7th game of the second set was enough for the 25-year-old to force a decider.

Although she was unable to take any of her first 6 break points, Boulter eventually won her 7th for a 5-4 lead before serving out the match.

Boulter now faces Italian Sara Errani, who defeated Ekaterine Gorgodze, 6-7(5) 6-4 6-0, to advance.


Harriet Dart dispatched Lesley Pattinama Kerkhove to advance to round two of qualifying

© Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

American Lauren Davis famously stunned No 3 seed Victoria Azarenka, 6-0, 7-6(2), in the second round back in 2014, and has twice reached the Round of 16, but the World No 95 had her hands full against former Wimbledon semi-finalist Kirsten Flipkens and, in their first career head-to-head, it was the crafty 36-year old veteran from Belgium, who prevailed, 7-5 6-3.

Next up for Flipkens is another American, 20-year-old Catherine McNally, who needed 3 hours and 7 minutes to outlast Germany’s Anna-Lena Friedsam, 4-6 7-5 7-5, overcoming 9 double-faults to advance.

McNally’s compatriot 21-year old Alycia Parks, came out on the losing end on Monday, falling 6-2 6-3 to Poland’s Magdalena Frech.

Elsewhere, also advancing on Day 1 of qualifying were: France’s Harmony Tan, who defeated Australia’s Priscilla Hon, 6-3 6-4, while Serbia’s Aleksandra Krunic beat Olga Govortsova, 7-5 7-5, Australia’s Daria Saville took out Kamilla Rakhimova, 7-5 6-3, Slovenia’s Kaja Juvan defeated Tatjana Maria from German, 7-5 6-2, Ukraine’s Lesia Tsurenko outlasted Irina Bara from Romania, 6-0 3-6 6-2, Bulgaria’s Viktoriya Tomova dismissed American Elizabeth Mandlik, 6-2 6-1, Italy’s Lucia Bronzetti dispatched Mexico’s Renata Zarazua, 6-3 6-1 and Hungary’s Dalma Galfi defeated Maddison Inglis from the USA, 4-6 6-3 6-3.


Katie Boulter needed 3 sets to upset No 6 seed Wang Xinyu on Monday at Indian Wells qualifying to also advance

© Sarah Reed/Getty Images


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