Top seeded Pliskova ousted in third round at Indian Wells

Indian Wells (United States) (AFP) –


Top seed Karolina Pliskova crashed out of the WTA Indian Wells tournament on Monday, losing in straight sets to unseeded Beatriz Haddad Maia 6-3, 7-5 in a third round match.

Playing in windy conditions on one of the outer courts at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, Brazil's Haddad Maia jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the second set before the Czech picked up her game.

Haddad Maia fought back, clinching the match on her second set point when Pliskova flubbed a backhand off the top of her racquet sending the ball skyward to end the contest which took over two hours to complete.

World number three Pliskova hammered five aces but had 12 double faults. She won just 25 percent of her second serve points and had her serve broken eight times.

Lucky loser Haddad Maia moves on to face Estonia's Anett Kontaveit in the fourth round.

The red-hot Kontaveit continued her fine run of form by ousting defending champion Bianca Andreescu 7-6 (7/5), 6-3 in the third round.

Kontaveit, who is seeded 18th, stretched her 2021 win streak to eight straight matches and continued her domination over Andreescu, winning all three career matches over the Canadian.

This was the first loss for Andreescu at Indian Wells. Two years ago she became the first wild card to win the women's title.

The tournament, which features both men's and women's fields, is normally held in March but returned to the California desert this fall after a two-and-a-half-year hiatus due to Covid-19.

Martina Navratilova (1990-91) remains the only female player to successfully defend the title.

Andreescu's defeat also leaves just one former winner in the women's draw, Victoria Azarenka who won twice in 2012 and 2016. Azarenka has already advanced to the fourth round.

Andreescu led 3-1 in the second set Monday and seemed to have found her game but then made too many unforced errors as Kontaveit clinched it on the first set point.

In the men's draw, Argentina's Diego Schwartzman defeated Daniel Evans of Britain 5-7, 6-4, 6-0 and Casper Ruud of Norway rallied to beat South Africa's Lloyd Harris 6-7 (4/7), 6-4, 6-4.