Bouchard rallies past qualifier, Garcia crashes out at Indian Wells


Former world number five Eugenie Bouchard was forced to dig deep, rallying to beat qualifier Risa Ozaki in the first round of the BNP Paribas Open.

Bouchard dropped the opening set but recovered to post a 2-6 6-4 6-2 victory at Indian Wells on Thursday.

The 2014 Wimbledon runner-up's win earned a showdown with 21st seed Sloane Stephens.

Caroline Garcia's presence at the WTA Premier tournament was brief, surprisingly ousted by local Christina McHale in straight sets.

Fresh from a semi-final run in Monterrey, Garcia suffered a 6-4 6-4 defeat.

Laura Robson's first match on the WTA Tour since August resulted in a 7-6 (7-3) 6-2 loss to Magdalena Rybarikova and Zhang Shuai - the Cinderella story of the Australian Open following her quarter-final run having never won a grand slam match previously - benefited from Pauline Parmentier's retirement after taking out the first set 7-6 (7-5).

Annika Beck, Zarina Diyas, Yanina Wickmayer and Madison Brengle were also among those to advance.


It was not smooth sailing for Bouchard, despite improving her win-loss record to 14-5 this year, especially in the first set.

Winning just 61 per cent of her first serves compared to Ozaki, who won 13 of 16, Bouchard quickly found herself in a deep hole after being broken in the fourth game and again in the eighth as her Japanese opponent closed out the set in half-an-hour.

Bouchard stepped up her game in the second, and after initially struggling to hold serve, she levelled the match, before easing to victory in a relatively straight-forward deciding set.

As for Garcia, she had no answer for American McHale, who set the tone after breaking to love in the first game with a forehand winner.

Her efforts, which saw her fend off two break points as she served out the first set, ensured a second-round meeting with fourth seed Garbine Muguruza


Robson struggled on serve, tallying eight double faults, while she was broken on five occasions as she served at just 55 per cent throughout.

McHale fired down seven aces to see off her highly-fancied French opponent.

Monica Puig was in a giving mood, offering up 10 break points against Mirjana Lucic-Baroni. However, the Puerto Rican saved nine in her 6-1 6-2 victory.

Bouchard converted six of eight breaks to navigate her way into the second round.


As Venus Williams prepares to end her 15-year boycott of Indian Wells, Serena beamed: "I am really excited to be here and I am excited for her to have the same experience I had last year. Last year it wasn't time for her. She was dealing with a lot physically with her illnesses. She wanted to try to make an effort to see what it was like."

The crowd at Stadium One were applauded by the victorious McHale: "You guys helped me pull through that match. I love the atmosphere and I love being at Indian Wells!"


The Paribas Open really heats up on Friday as the main drawcards take to the court in the second round. World number one and top seed Serena Williams faces Laura Siegemund in the evening.

Sister and 10th seed Venus makes her long-awaited return against Kurumi Nara and defending champion Simona Halep goes head-to-head with local Vania King.

Polish third seed Agnieszka Radwanska - the 2014 runner-up - will meet Dominika Cibulkova, while Petra Kvitova comes up against Danka Kovinic.