Venus Williams has tumbled out of the BNP Paribas Open in her first match at the event since 2001, falling 6-4 6-3 to Japanese qualifier Kurumi Nara in California.
The 10th seed was eliminated on Friday night in front of a sparse, wind-blown crowd that returned after a rain-delay midway through the first set.
Williams played at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden for the first time since she and sister Serena and father Richard were booed and heckled after Venus withdrew from her semifinal against Serena because of an injury.
On Friday, Venus received standing ovations before and after her error-filled, second-round match.
“It’s been a wonderful moment,” she said. “Everyone could have picked up where they left off and it would have started over again, but everyone was welcoming. It was a great day.”
Bothered by the gusty wind, she was most prominent of the upset victims.
Poland’s Agnieszka Radwanska, the No.3 seed, rallied from a 4-1 deficit to thwart Slovakian Dominika Cibulkova 6-3 3-6 7-5, while two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, the Czech No.8 seed, needed a third-set tiebreaker in a 6-3 4-6 7-6(5) victory over Danka Kovinic of Montenegro.
No.11 seed Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic lost 6-4 6-4 to Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan.
Lesia Tsurenko of Ukraine upset Italian 15th seed Sara Errani 6-4 6-3, and 19th-seeded Jelena Jankovic of Serbia, last year’s runner-up and the 2010 champion, rolled over Carina Witthoeft of Germany 6-1 6-3.
Jankovic set up a third-round match against American Coco Vandeweghe, a 6-4 6-3 winner over two-time major champion and 16th seed Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia.
11 June 2019
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