Down the line: The highs and lows from Indian Wells

In her latest Down the Line column, Reem Abulleil looks at the highs and lows of an eventful 10 days in Indian Wells - from Vesnina's incredible run to Petchey's ill-advised comment.

Reem Abulleil
by Reem Abulleil
20th March 2017

article:20th March 2017

V for Vesnina: Elena Vesnina with her Indian Wells trophy.
V for Vesnina: Elena Vesnina with her Indian Wells trophy.

An eventful 10 days in Indian Wells have gone by and the tennis tours have immediately switched coasts from California to Florida for the Miami Open this week.

Here’s a look at the main high and lows from Indian Wells…


BEST PLAYER

Elena Vesnina

Shelby Rogers, Timea Babos, Angelique Kerber, Venus Williams, Kristina Mladenovic and Svetlana Kuznetsova – that is one impressive list of scalps Vesnina has claimed en route to the title. Her form during the fortnight and fighting ability, particularly in the final was matched by her eloquence in the press conference room. She really is the full package.

BIGGEST BREAKTHROUGH

Pablo Carreno Busta

Not many may have noticed but the Spaniard has made the semis or better in his last four tournaments.  His run to the last-four in Indian Wells has taken him into the top-20 for the first time in his career. He is Spain’s No3 player right now and is propped nicely at No7 in the Race to London.


BIGGEST UPSET

Vasek Pospisil over Andy Murray

It was the loss no one saw coming. After claiming the Dubai title, it looked like Murray was back on track and he was determined to do well in Indian Wells. Instead, he lost for a first time in five meetings with the 119th-ranked Pospisil and later pulled out of the Miami Open with a right elbow injury.

NextGen ALERT

Yoshihito Nishioka

The 21-year-old Japanese only entered the draw as a lucky loser but made the most out of his second chance, battling his way into the fourth round, thanks to a stunning comeback from 1-6, 2-5 down against Tomas Berdych. He then fell to eventual runner-up Stan Wawrinka 7-6 in the third.

WORST COMMENT

Mark Petchey

Andy Murray’s ex-coach and current commentator said this after the epic three-hour women’s final: “So those fans in Europe and elsewhere who have organised their day around this men’s match you feel this delay is acceptable?”

Such an uninformed and incomprehensible comment from someone who knows very well that the concept of “followed by” and “not before” is the norm in tennis scheduling. Instead of complaining about the so-called “delayed” start of the men’s final, how about paying credit to Vesnina and Kuznetsova who battled in scorching conditions (they were scheduled at 11:00am) for three hours playing some thrilling tennis?

Here’s Vesnina’s response when told about the remarks made on social media: “People will always be upset. Either it’s a short final, now we have a long final. I mean, they put us in the schedule at 11:00am. We play final at 11:00. We showed the great match out there, you know.

“It was a big fight. I think in Russia they showed the whole match. And I will tell you, to be honest, in Russia we don’t have tennis at all on the TV live on the main channel.

“So I think that’s great for woman’s sport, great for woman tennis. Me and Svetlana, I think we should proud how we actually were fighting and the quality of the tennis was really high.

“Even people will say, Okay, the next final was a little bit delay. Come on, guys. You know, you had one of the best match in the final you can have, you know. It was, like, ups and downs. And the underdog won, you know, (smiling). I think this is the best scenario. Then you still have Roger in the final. You still will see him, you know. I think he won. I don’t know if he won or not.

“It’s always going to be like this. People will be upset about something, you know. But in the end of the day, the woman tennis will play three-sets match, like, nothing — not many people were expecting that I could win this match. It was so — I think, till the end, you couldn’t pick the winner. I think it was so interesting and so exciting to see this final. I’m proud of what we did with Svetlana today.”

Well said, Elena. Well said!


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