Maria won her first match at the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells after a 6-1 7-5 win over Yanina Wickmayer of Belgium. The match lasted an hour and 45 minutes as she booked her spot in the third round.
Maria was in control in the first set as she broke to lead 1-0 and 3-0 and at 5-1 broke for the third time with a forehand winner to take the set 6-1 in 31 minutes.
The second set was tougher as the games were closer, at 5-4 on Wickmayer’s serve, Maria had four chances to break the Belgian’s serve but Wickmayer held to level the set 5-5. Maria had a comfortable hold in her next service game and won the match when Wickmayer hit a backhand long as Maria broke serve to clinch the match on her sixth match point.
Maria had 25 winners to Wickmayer’s 22 winners but the more telling statistic was the number of errors as Maria had only 16 to the Belgian’s 28 errors.
In Monday’s third round match, Maria will play No.32 seed Victoria Azarenka of Belarus. Maria has played Azarenka thirteen times before and Azarenka leads the series 7-6. Here are the matches they have played against each other:
2007 Moscow R2: Azarenka won 7-6 6-2
2009 Los Angeles R2: Maria won 6-7 6-4 6-2
2009 Beijing R2: Maria won 6-3 6-7 7-5
2010 Stanford Final: Azarenka won 6-4 6-1
2011 Miami Final: Azarenka won 6-1 6-4
2011 Rome Quarter-Final: Maria won 4-6 3-0 ret.
2012 Australian Open Final: Azarenka won 6-3 6-0
2012 Indian Wells Final: Azarenka won 6-2 6-3
2012 Stuttgart Final: Maria won 6-1 6-4
2012 US Open Semi-Final: Azarenka won 3-6 6-2 6-4
2012 Beijing Final: Azarenka won 6-3 6-1
2012 WTA Championships Semi-Final: Maria won 6-4 6-2
2013 French Open Semi-Final: Maria won 6-1 2-6 6-4