Djokovic and Osaka advance at Indian Wells; Venus shines - GulfToday

Djokovic and Osaka advance at Indian Wells; Venus shines

Djokovic

Novak Djokovic plays a shot against Bjorn Fratangelo during their second round match on Sunday. Agence France-Presse

INDIAN WELLS: Novak Djokovic and Naomi Osaka, both ranked No. 1 in the world, cruised to straight-set victories at the ATP Indian Wells on Saturday night.

The 31-year-old beat Bjorn Fratangelo 7-6 (5), 6-2 in pursuit of a record sixth title in the desert. It was Djokovic’s 50th match win at the tournament, his highest total at any ATP Masters 1000 event.

Defending champion Osaka beat Kristina Mladenovic 6-3, 6-4 in her first attempt at defending a WTA Tour title.

Mladenovic upset Osaka in straight sets two weeks ago at the Dubai tournament. It was Osaka’s first match since ascending to the No. 1 ranking.

Djokovic needed 1 1/2 hours to beat Fratangelo and improve to 11-1 on the season. Afterward, Djokovic went over to greet former No. 1 Pete Sampras, who sat courtside.

Djokovic indicated he was rusty at the start, having taken over a month off after winning the Australian Open in late January.

Venus Williams outlasted No. 3 seed Petra Kvitova 4-6, 7-5, 6-4 in the second round. It was just her eighth match of the year.

Kvitova served 10 aces and 10 double-faults in the 2 1/2-hour match. She became the highest seeded woman to lose so far.

Williams, a three-time semifinalist at Indian Wells, is the oldest woman in the tournament at 38. She’s seeking her 50th career title. Williams also needed three sets to beat Andrea Petkovic in the first round.

Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber routed Yulia Putintseva 6-0, 6-2. Kerber broke serve to open the match on her way to winning the first 10 games in a row.

Kerber, seeded eighth, converted 93 per cent of her first serves and moved on to a third-round match against qualifier Natalia Vikhlyantseva.

Other seeded winners were: No. 5 Karolina Pliskova, No. 9 Aryna Sabalenka, No. 11 Anastasija Sevastova, No. 21 Anett Kontaveit and No. 24 Lesia Tsurenko.

Alexander Zverev, Milos Raonic, Gael Monfils, Gilles Simon and Laslo Djere were seeded winners on the men’s side.

There were several upsets on Day 4 of the combined ATP-WTA event.

Associated Press

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