ReutersAmerican qualifier Sachia Vickery completed an astonishing comeback to stun third seed Garbine Muguruza 2-6, 7-5, 6-1 in a second-round win at the BNP Paribas Open in California on Friday.
Seemingly down and out trailing 3-0 in the second set, Vickery raised her game, brought the Indian Wells center court crowd alive and eventually wore down an increasingly frustrated Muguruza.
The Spaniard crumpled in the third set as 100th-ranked Vickery clinched the biggest win of her young career.
“I’ve just worked so hard for so many years and I’ve always been so close but just could never really get over that hump,” 22-year-old Vickery said in an on-court interview.
“This is just the most amazing night of my life and I couldn’t be happier.
“Honestly I couldn’t believe it. I just tried to fight every point and just hang in there. The crowd was amazing and got behind me.”
Earlier, Petra Kvitova survived a marathon match against Dulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan to emerge with a 6-7 (4-7), 7-6 (7-3), 6-4 win.
After capturing her 21st and 22nd career titles in St. Petersburg and Doha, ninth seed Kvitova was not at her best, mixing 66 winners with 78 unforced errors.
The twice Wimbledon champion finally triumphed in three hours and 17 minutes as a frustrated Putintseva smashed her racket on the court after coming so close to an upset.
“It’s kind of tough to explain, because it was really up-and-down,” Kvitova told reporters after her 14th straight victory, matching the longest steak of her career.
“My mental side wasn’t really tough, I have to say. It was always, like, a good point and I was up mentally, and then it was a bad point, and I was down. That was almost all match.
“I couldn’t show the game which I played the last few weeks.”
Next up for Kvitova will be 16-year-old American wild card Amanda Anisimova, who dominated Russian 23rd seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-4, 6-1.
Halep, Osaka cruise
Romanian top seed Simona Halep used a superior serve to beat Czech Kristyna Pliskova 6-4, 6-4 on a day when nine seeds were beaten, including Agnieszka Radwanska (31).
Radwanska was beaten by Japan’s Naomi Osaka, who continued her barnstorming form with a 6-3, 6-2 victory two days after ousting former world No. 1 Maria Sharapova.
Osaka, 20, dominated on first serve, and also broke four times.
Her next opponent will be Vickery.
Meanwhile, Sharapova said on Friday she had split with her coach Sven Groeneveld, two days after losing a third consecutive match for the first time since 2003.
The news comes after Sharapova, who said the decision to end their four-year partnership was “mutually agreed,” was beaten by the 44th-ranked Osaka in the first round on Wednesday.
After losing in the third round of the Australian Open to Angelique Kerber she was then beaten in the first round of the Qatar Open by Romanian qualifier Monica Niculescu.
She pulled out of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.
Sharapova has struggled to recapture top form since her 15-month ban for taking the banned drug meldonium ended last April.
“After four successful and challenging years of collaboration together, I would like to thank Sven for his incredible loyalty, work ethic and most importantly the friendship that we have formed that will go beyond this working partnership,” Sharapova said in a statement on her website.Speech