Each day on TENNIS.com, we’ll feature Tennis Channel’s Court Report, a rundown of the day that was in the sport—along with our thoughts on what’s happening on the courts around the world.
When a former Wimbledon semifinalist and a 17-year-old meet in the opening round of a prestigious tournament, it’s usually not going to be pretty. But Kirsten Flipkens, whose Cinderella run to the final four at the All England Club happened four years ago, isn’t likely to scale such heights again, and CiCi Bellis isn’t your typical teenage tennis player. The young American eschewed college at Stanford for a crack at the pros at an age when few are making an impact on the tour. Bellis, at a career-high No. 55 world ranking, is an exception, and her star has been on the rise ever since her stunning upset of Dominika Cibulkova as a 15-year-old at the 2015 U.S. Open.
That would explain the veteran Flipkens’ reaction—one of exuberance and, likely, relief—when she got past the teenage talent in three sets on the opening day of main-draw play at Indian Wells. After dropping the first set to Bellis, 6-4, Flipkens flipped the script with 6-1 and 6-4 set victories. She moves on to face French Open champion Garbine Muguruza in the second round.
Another American failed to parlay a 6-4 opening-set win into a match triumph on Day 1 of the BNP Paribas Open: Nicole Gibbs. The female focus of Tennis Channel’s “My Tennis Life” series, Gibbs dropped the second and third sets to Heather Watson by 6-2 margins. Watson will face fellow Brit Johanna Konta, seeded 11th at Indian Wells, in the second round.
On the whole, Wednesday was a mixed bag for the United States, whose WTA players went a combined 3-5 in singles play. Bellis, Gibbs, Danielle Collins, Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Christina McHale all took losses, while Madison Brengle, Kayla Day (another 17-year-old) and Louisa Chirico advanced.
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