Novak Djokovic Triumphs in Return to Indian Wells After 5-Year Hiatus; Coco Gauff Stages Comeback to Avoid Early Exit

Novak Djokovic, the world’s top-ranked player and a five-time Indian Wells champion, celebrated a victorious return to the BNP Paribas Open after a five-year absence.

With a 6-2, 5-7, 6-3 victory over Aleksandar Vukic on Saturday, Novak Djokovic made a triumphant comeback to the desert in his first BNP Paribas Open match in five years.

Novak Djokovic Triumphs in Return to Indian Wells After 5-Year Hiatus; Coco Gauff Stages Comeback to Avoid Early Exit

Rafael Nadal and the 24-time Grand Slam singles champion are the only players to have won 400 matches in ATP Masters 1000 series competitions. Although he hasn’t competed at Indian Wells since 2019, top-ranked Djokovic is tied with Roger Federer for the most victories by a male at the tournament with five.
Additionally, Coco Gauff prevailed—barely—beating Clara Burel 2-6, 6-3, 7-6 (4) after rising just in time to stave off an early exit.

The U.S. Open women’s champion was one game away from being the second-ranked American upset victim of Burel this year after falling behind 4-0 and then 5-2 in the third set of her opening encounter. In the second round of the Australian Open, Jessica Pegula, ranked fifth, was defeated by the French player ranked 47th.
In the third round, the third-seeded Gauff will take on Lucia Bronzetti. The Italian defeated Anhelina Kalinina, ranked 32, 6-3, 6-4.

But on Saturday, Pegula lost in the second round once more, this time to Russian Anna Blinkova 6-2, 3-6, 6-3.

Also Read: Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal Reunite Ahead of Sunshine Double

Naomi Osaka defeated No. 14 Liudmila Samsonova of Russia, 7-5, 6-3, to eliminate another seeded player. The 2018 BNP Paribas winner is the four-time Grand Slam champion who resumed action this year following childbirth. Next up for her is Elise Mertens, ranked 24.

27th No. The two-time champion Victoria Azarenka lost to American Caroline Dolehide 7-5, 2-6, 6-3. The 2021 U.S. Open women’s champion Emma Raducanu advanced to the third round when Dayana Yastremska, ranked thirty, was forced to quit due to Raducanu’s 4-0 advantage.

In the third set of his first encounter since losing to Jannik Sinner in the Australian Open quarterfinals, Djokovic overcame the 69th-ranked Vukic to avoid an upset.

Novak Djokovic Triumphs in Return to Indian Wells After 5-Year Hiatus; Coco Gauff Stages Comeback to Avoid Early Exit

Djokovic won two Masters 1000 championships in 2018—one in Cincinnati and one in Paris. However, he was unable to compete in the first two months of the year in Indian Wells and Miami and was still barred from entering the United States at the time due to his foreign nationality and lack of COVID-19 vaccination.

2008 and 2011 were his victories in the desert; from 2014 to 2016, he won three times in a row. The 36-year-old Serbian has an ATP Masters 1000 record of 400-86. Nadal, who pulled out of the competition shortly before it started, has 406 wins in the nine events held at a level lower than the Grand Slams.

Together with No. 13 Grigor Dmitrov, two previous Indian Wells champions, No. 12 Taylor Fritz and No. 28 Cam Norrie, advanced to the third round. No. 14 Ugo Humbert and No. 21 Adrian Mannarino progressed, but No. 23 Alejandro Davidovich Fokina was defeated 6-3, 6-4, by another Frenchman, Arthur Fils.

Indian Wells: Jannik Sinner comfortably wins, and Iga Swiatek defeats Danielle Collins

Iga Swiatek will now take on Linda Noskova or Camila Giorgi following her victory against Danielle Collins.
At the BNP Paribas Open, top-ranked Iga Swiatek advanced after defeating Danielle Collins, a power-hitter, 6-3, 6-0 on Friday. This season, Swiatek has improved to 15-2 and defeated the 30-year-old American for the fifth time in a row. The American had earlier declared her intention to retire at the end of the current campaign.

In the Australian Open’s second round in January, Swiatek defeated the other player 6-3, 3-6, 6-4. This one was a lot simpler. With her first serve, Swiatek, a four-time major champion, won 71.1% of her points whereas Collins only won 50%. With seven double-faults and unforced errors, Collins gave herself no favors.
Currently, Swiatek is up against Linda Noskova or Camila Giorgi, who were scheduled to play later on Friday night. Swiatek was defeated by 19-year-old Noskova in the third round at Melbourne Park.

In another women’s match, former Grand Slam champions Angelique Kerber and Jelena Ostapenko faced off and Kerber prevailed 5-7, 6-3, 6-3. It was comparable to Kerber’s three-set victory in Cincinnati in 2021, before to her childbearing and comeback this year. Kerber is a three-time Grand Slam champion who advanced to the 2019 Indian Wells final.

In the men’s division, Australian Open champion Jannik Sinner easily defeated Thanasi Kokkinakis 6-3, 6-0 to run his winning run to 16 games. With 74.5% of his service points won, the third-ranked Sinner improved to 4-0 all-time against Kokkinakis.

In addition, Alejandro Tabilo, Alexander Zverev, Stefanos Tsitsipas, and Alex de Minaur all prevailed in straight sets. Andrey Rublev beat Andy Murray 7-6 (3), 6-1.

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