INDIAN WELLS, Calif. (AP) Two young American women stepped into the BNP Paribas Open spotlight Friday at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.
Jamie Hampton, a wild-card entry who last week moved into the top 100 for the first time at No. 99, beat former No. 1 Jelena Jankovic of Serbia 6-4, 6-3.
A few minutes later, Christina McHale beat Elena Vesnina of Russia, 6-3, 7-5 to set up a possible third-round match against Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, who was scheduled to play the final match Friday night.
The Americans were nearly upstaged by 21-year-old Mona Barthel of Germany, who fought Australian Open champion and No. 1 Victoria Azarenka for 3 hours before bowing to the tournament's top seed, 6-4, 6-7 (4), 7-6 (6).
Azarenka was up 5-1 in the second set before Barthel held serve and began to play almost flawless tennis. She won five games in a row before Azarenka held serve to force a tiebreaker. Azarenka lost the final three points of that tiebreaker, then trailed in the third set 4-1 after losing serve with three straight double faults, but she won the next two games.
Barthel cashed in her third break point on Azarenka's serve to go up 6-5, only to play an extremely loose game and lose serve to set up the tiebreak. The 12-point tiebreaker was more of the same. Azarenka went up 3-0, then double-faulted for the 12th time to make it 4-4. Azarenka went up 6-4 and Barthel got even with a service winner and a long forehand from her opponent. But at 6-6 Barthel hit a backhand return long, then lost the match with a long backhand groundstroke.
On the men's side, American teenager Denis Kudla also won, taking a 2-6, 7-6 (3), 6-4 victory over Tobias Kamke of Germany. Kamke was a last-minute fill-in for Dmitry Tursunov of Russia, who withdrew due a wrist injury.
The men the crowd came to see - No. 1 Novak Djokovic, No. 2 Rafael Nadal and American stars Andy Roddick and Mardy Fish - didn't play singles Friday.
McHale started slowly against Vesnina, suffering an early service break, but won five of the final six games in the opening set. The 19-year-old from New Jersey used the same script in the second, winning four of the final five games.
Hampton had never won back-to-back matches in a WTA Tour event, and her most recent match against a top-ranked player was a 6-0, 6-1 loss to Maria Sharapova in the second round of the Australian Open.
She said that this time the experience gained in Australia and her first-round win over 38th-ranked Polona Hercog both were beneficial against Jankovic.
I didn't really know what to expect,'' said Hampton.I think the fact that I got a match under my belt here helped me a lot. In Australia I didn't have that against Maria and she wiped the court with me.''
Hampton will face Jarmila Gajdosova of Australia in the third round. Gajdosova upset No. 22 seed Yanina Wickmayer of Belgium, 2-6, 6-2, 6-4.