Round 3 of the 2014 BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells saw two rising stars of the tour, Eugenie Bouchard and Simona Halep, advance to set up an intriguing 4th round match-up. When she’s on, Simona Halep is one of the best shot makers on tour. However, in her match against Lucie Safarova, Simona was not on top of her game. A lot of that had to do with Safarova, who was pressing Halep the entire 3 sets. The contest could easily have gone Lucie’s way. Like a true top player must do at times, Simona found a way to win when she didn’t have her A-game, taking the match 6-2 4-6 6-4. Even the first set 6-2 score is a bit deceptive. All three sets were tightly fought. Conversely, Eugenie Bouchard put on a dazzling display of power tennis in taking out 6th seed Sara Errani. If Genie’s 6-3 6-3 win (and it wasn’t really even that close) is a sign of things to come, she truly could emerge as tennis’ next big star. So advantage Bouchard in the match against Halep, right? Well…not so fast. Simona is capable of matching Genie’s play. She was just a bit off against Safarova. Honestly, this one’s tough to call. Best to just sit back and enjoy the match between two players who might one day fight for Major honors.
A player Genie Bouchard looked up as a developing youngster, Maria Sharapova, exited Indian Wells much earlier than she expected. The defending champion was shown the door by Camila Giorgi, 6-3 4-6 7-5. Masha has lost in tournaments this year to Dominika Cibulkova, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and now, Giorgi. I have to wonder if all the extra activities, such as her participation as an ambassador at the Sochi Olympics and her promotion of her Sugarpova candy line, are affecting her preparation. Or maybe she needs to reassess her coaching situation. Whatever the issue, the player she has been recently is just a fraction of what she’s capable of showing. Hopefully, Masha will get things turned around soon.
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1 LI NA (won 6-3 6-4 vs Karolina Pliskova)
2 AGNIESZKA RADWANSKA (won 6-0 6-0 vs Annika Beck)
CAMILA GIORGI (won 6-3 4-6 7-5 vs 4 Maria Sharapova)
6 SIMONA HALEP (won 2-6 6-4 6-4 vs Lucie Safarova)
7 JELENA JANKOVIC (won 6-3 6-2 vs Magdalena Rybarikova)
8 PETRA KVITOVA (won 6-3 2-6 6-0 vs Svetlana Kuznetsova)
18 EUGENIE BOUCHARD (won 6-3 6-3 vs 9 Sara Errani)
10 CAROLINE WOZNIACKI (won 7-6 (7) 3-6 6-1 vs Yaroslava Shvedova)