INDIAN WELLS, California, March 14 AAP-REUTERS – Samantha Stosur has scored a typically rollercoaster three-set win to reach the fourth round of the BNP Paribas Open in California.
Australia’s former US Open champion battled back from a service break down in the deciding set to eke out a 6-4 2-6 6-4 victory over American Christina McHale.
Stosur dropped serve to love to fall behind 3-0 before reeling off six of the next seven games to take the two-hour thriller.
Seeded 26th, Stosur is likely to face two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka for a place in the quarter-finals in Indian Wells.
Earlier, Swiss seventh seed Belinda Bencic and former champion Ana Ivanovic were both sent packing.
Bencic was stunned by Slovakia’s Magdalena Rybarikova 6-4 3-6 6-3 while former Serbian world No.1 Ivanovic was beaten by Czech Karolina Pliskova 6-2 6-0.
The 97th-ranked Rybarikova eliminated Australia’s Daria Gavrilova in her previous match.
After an uneven start at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, 18th seed Pliskova’s game clicked into gear in spectacular fashion, reeling off 10 consecutive games to close out her one-sided victory.
Ivanovic entered the tournament fresh off a run to the quarter-finals and semi-finals in Dubai and St Petersburg, respectively, while Pliskova had suffered a couple of early exits in the Middle East.
Pliskova, perhaps, perked up in seeing Ivanovic across the net. She had won all three of her previous encounters with Ivanovic, including earlier this year in Sydney.
“We’ve played a few times already and I’ve always won. But I think I played really good tennis today and I’m happy that I made (the next round) so fast,” said Pliskova, who powered in 18 winners.
Next up for Pliskova will be Britain’s Johanna Konta, who advanced 6-4 6-1 over Czech Denisa Allertova, who had conquered second-seeded Australian Open champion Angelique Kerber in the previous round.
Rybarikova advanced to another challenging test against US Open runner-up Roberta Vinci.
The ninth-seeded Italian hurried past Elina Svitolina of Ukraine 6-1 6-3 to book her spot in the fourth round.