INDIAN WELLS — Despite a comfortable set and 3-0 lead, Garbine Muguruza stumbled out of the BNP Paribas Open in her opening round to qualifier Sachia Vickery, 2-6, 7-5, 6-1.
"Honestly, probably when I wake up sometime tomorrow my coach will call me and say, 'You just beat Muguruza,' and I'll be like, 'No way,'" Vickery said. "I didn't expect to win because I was down by so much."
It marks the world No. 100's best career win—by a landslide—as she moves into the third round to face fellow dark horse Naomi Osaka.
"I think she really came back playing much better," Muguruza said. "At the game of 3-1, she started playing much better, and she kind of believed a little bit more and start hitting better shots."
Muguruza hadn't lose to a player ranked this low since falling to No. 124-ranked Jana Cepelova at Wimbledon in 2016.
"I just think that when players with not a lot of experience play against top players, they are very motivated," the world No. 3 said. "They kind of elevate always their game. I think today was a little bit the case. She was getting a little bit more excited, and the key points went her way."
While it's back to the drawing board for Muguruza, Vickery relishes seeing her hard work pay off.
"Everything is just kind of coming together," the 22-year-old said. "I have had so many matches in the past where I was just almost there, but I can never really just make that breakthrough. And I was just so close, just always losing it and losing it.
"Today I was just, like, go for it. Even if you lose, just lose hitting. That worked out really well for me."
The American won over a lot of hearts on Friday with her sheer determination to never give up, even with all the odds stacked heavily against her. It's not often that a two-time Grand Slam champion loses from such a lead.
After match point, Vickery crossed her arms and beat her chest, a salute any Black Panther fan would know.
"That was definitely Wakanda Forever. I'm so obsessed with the movie," Vickery said. "It's taking over my life. I have seen it four times already. Literally, I'm obsessed."