The Spanish Lara Arruabarrena and the Puerto Rican Mónica Puig got off to a good start in their participation in the Indian Wells tournament and made it to the second round today after beating the Slovakian Magdalena Rybarikova and the American Nicole Gibbs, respectively.
Arruabarrena beat Rybarikova 6-0, 6-1 in 68 minutes and will face Czech Karolina Pliskova in the next round, while Puig defeated Gibbs 6-3, 7-5 in one hour and 27 minutes. Puig, who will now face the Spanish Carla Suárez, seeded number 12, achieved victory after going behind in the second round (1-4).
The other side of the coin was the defeat of the Spanish Silvia Soler Espinosa by 6-3 and 6-4 against the Russian Daria Gavrilova in one hour and 18 minutes.
Romanian Monica Niculescu, who beat Serbian Aleksandra Krunic 6-2, 6-1, will be Serena Williams’ first rival in the return of the American to the championship from which she decided to absent herself for the last 14 years due to an incident of character racist.
It will be the first time that Williams steps on the cement of the Californian desert since her victory against Kim Clijsters in the 2001 edition. The North American has a streak of 11 games without losing and has just won the Australian Open.
It will be the first duel between both tennis players. “I have always wanted to play against the number one and Serena is a magnificent player. I hope to be up to the task,” Niculescu said.
In the most showy match of the day, Heather Watson survived the resistance of Julia Goerges, whom she knocked down 6-4, 5-7, 6-3 after two hours and 25 minutes of play. His next match will be against Camila Giorgi, seeded number 29.