On Friday at Indian Wells, the rising stars of women’s tennis came, saw and conquered.
Teenagers Amanda Anisimova, Aryna Sabalenka, Marketa Vondrousova and Caroline Dolehide all progressed to the third round at Indian Wells after impressive victories over seeded opposition.
Naomi Osaka, 20, continued her fine run at the tournament with a commanding 6-3 6-2 win over 31st seed Agnieszka Radwanska, a former world No.2.
That result followed her first-round defeat of five-time major champion Maria Sharapova.
Osaka simply had too many weapons for the slight Radwanska, winning 83 per cent of her first-serve points and bossing rallies with her superior pace of shot.
Another strong showing from Naomi Osaka. Very impressed with her point construction and patience in rallies. Beats Radwanska, 6-3 6-2 in 1h 31.
— James Peeling (@Moo_Tennis) March 9, 2018
The Japanese is expected to next face No.3 seed Garbine Muguruza, should the Spaniard get past American qualifier Sachia Vickery.
French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko saw off Switzerland’s Belinda Bencic 6-4 3-6 6-1.
US Open junior champion Anisimova scored the biggest win of her young career – the 16-year-old upset Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-4 6-1 and next faces Petra Kvitova, who beat Yulia Putintseva 6-7 (4-7) 7-6 (7-3) 6-4 in three hours and 17 minutes.
American 19-year-old Dolehide, ranked 165th, saw off 30th seed Dominika Cibulkova 5-7 6-3 6-4 and next faces top seed Simona Halep, a 6-4 6-4 winner over Kristyna Pliskova.
The 19-year-old Sabalenka welcomed Svetlana Kuznetsova back to tennis with a 6-4 6-3 win, completed in just 73 minutes.
Kuznetsova had been sidelined for five months due to a left-wrist injury requiring surgery, and was unlucky to draw the powerful Belarusian, who has now won five of her past six matches.
— Jimmie48 Photography (@JJlovesTennis) March 9, 2018
Maintaining a top-20 ranking despite her absence and seeded No.19 at Indian Wells, Kuznetsova reached the final at last year’s tournament and will likely plummet in the rankings after failing to defend a large batch of points.
Sabalenka will next face Vondrousova, who stunned 11th seed Johanna Konta in the second round.
Vondrousova, just 18 years of age, recovered from 2-4 down in the second set to clinch a 7-6(5) 6-4 win against the Brit.
The Czech rising star played with controlled aggression in the closing stages as Konta misfired from the back of the court.
Konta next heads to Miami to defend her title with a lean win-loss record in 2018 of 6-6.
Vondrousova is going to be very good but concerning for Konta that the teen was the more composed at the big moments. Not the way Konta wanted to prepare for the defence of her Miami title.
— Eleanor Crooks (@EleanorcrooksPA) March 9, 2018
22 March 2018
Indian Wells champion Naomi Osaka defeated 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams 6-3... More
18 March 2018
Roger Federer staged a gritty comeback to defeat unseeded young gun Borna Coric on Saturda... More
19 March 2018
"There's basically three people I wanna play. It was Venus, her (Sharapova) and Serena."Th... More