Puig dominant in first-round win

Published by Matt Trollope

Monica Puig clubs a forehand in her straight-sets rout of Danielle Collins at Indian Wells; Getty Images
Women’s first-round action commenced at Indian Wells on Tuesday, with Monica Puig the most notable winner.

Olympic champion Monica Puig has begun her BNP Paribas Open campaign on the best possible note with a dominant display in the opening round on Wednesday.

Puig, the world No.43, romped to a 6-0 6-2 win over American wildcard Danielle Collins, who came through the US college system playing for the University of Virginia.

Puig wrapped up the win in 69 minutes on Indian Wells’ Stadium 1, overwhelming Collins with her relentless power from the baseline.

“You never know what to expect (against a wildcard opponent). I used to play her when I was like 10 or 12 so I hadn’t played her in a few years so I had to feel her out a little bit,” Puig said.

“I found my groove there and finished off strong so I’m really happy.

“I always like playing on centre stage; it’s where I feel most comfortable I guess. I’m just really happy to be back her at Indian Wells. It’s one of my favourite tournaments for sure.

Next up for Puig is No.3 seed Karolina Pliskova, who received a bye through to the second round.

Several women enjoyed come-from-behind victories earlier on Wednesday at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.

In the first match of the day on Stadium 1, Heather Watson recovered to beat local Nicole Gibbs 4-6 6-2 6-2.

Gibbs reached the fourth round here as a qualifier last year and stands to lose a huge chunk of points from her ranking as a result of her first-round loss.

Another American falling at the first hurdle was rising star CiCi Bellis, who held leads of 3-0 and 4-2 in the third set before bowing out to Kirsten Flipkens 4-6 6-1 6-4.

But it wasn’t all bad news for the Americans in the Californian desert; wildcard Kayla Day swept past Japan’s Kurumi Nara 6-3 6-4 to increase the local presence in the second round.

In an all-Romanian battle, Monica Niculescu accounted for a fading Sorana Cirstea 4-6 6-3 6-1 while China’s Wang Qiang recovered to beat Kateryna Bondarenko 5-7 6-4 6-4.

In later matches, Kristyna Pliskova thrashed local wildcard Bethanie Mattek-Sands under lights on Stadium 1, winning 6-0 6-3.

Former top five star Sara Errani – now ranked outside the top 100 – accounted for Mandy Minella in a thrilling three-setter that saw the Italian scrape through 1-6 6-4 7-5.

Errani next faces 17th seed Barbora Strycova, while Pliskova comes up against No.33 seed Daria Kasatkina.

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