Stunning comeback earns Venus Williams third round spot at BNP Paribas Open

Press Association Sport 11:37 10/03/2019
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Venus Williams booked her place in the third round of the BNP Paribas Open with a stunning comeback victory over Petra Kvitova.

The seven-time major champion upset the third seed and Australian Open runner-up, winning 4-6, 7-5, 6-4.

The American dug in during the second set, fighting back from 3-0 down to force the decider, and again came from behind in the third set to clinch victory after nearly two-and-a-half hours on court.

Top seed Naomi Osaka began her title defence with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Kristina Mladenovic, who just two weeks ago upset the world number one in the Dubai Open.

Karolina Pliskova booked her place in the third round after a hard-fought win over qualifier Misaki Doi.

The number five seed dropped the first set in a tie-break but made light work of the remainder of the match, prevailing 6-7 (4), 6-1, 6-1.

She will now face Belgian qualifier Ysaline Bonaventure, who beat number 28 seed Donna Vekic 1-6, 7-6 (5), 6-4.

Aryna Sabalenka, meanwhile, needed three sets to overcome world number 44 Ajla Tomljanovic. The ninth seed rallied from a second-set loss to win 6-3, 4-6, 6-0 in an hour and 41 minutes.

Angelique Kerber kicked off her campaign with a comfortable 6-0, 6-2 victory over Yulia Putintseva.

The eighth seed won the first 10 games and dropped just two games over the course of the 64-minute match to set up a third-round meeting with Natalia Vikhlyantseva.

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