Australian Nick Kyrgios, coming off a scintillating run to the ATP title in Acapulco, lost his opening match at the ATP Indian Wells Masters to German Philipp Kohlschreiber.
However, veteran Venus Williams came from a set and two breaks down to see-off third-seeded Petra Kvitova 4-6, 7-5, 6-4 and reach the third round.
For Kohlschreiber, ranked 39th, a break of serve in each set was enough to despatch the 33rd-ranked Kyrgios 6-4 6-4.
Kyrgios had captured his first ATP title in more than a year when he lifted the Mexico Open trophy, beating three top-10 players along the way in world number two Rafael Nadal, No. 9 John Isner of the United States and, in the final, third-ranked German Alexander Zverev.
Kyrgios’s title run in Mexico wasn’t without controversy, with Nadal praising the mercurial Aussie’s talent while also charging he “lacks respect for the public, the opponent and for himself.”
Kyrgios shrugged off those comments and said Saturday he’d put the good and bad of Acapulco behind him. But he collapsed at the first hurdle.
“He’s an incredible competitor,” Kyrgios said of Kohlschreiber. “He knows how to win tennis matches. I didn’t play my best tennis today, but on certain points where I maybe had a little sniff or a little chance to get into the match … he came up with a really good shot to break me in the first set.
“He had an unbelievable backhand cross pass, and we played a really long point … Just a tough match.”
Venus Williams who beat Kvitova said of the victory:”Today I just fought and tried my hardest,” said Williams, currently ranked 36th in the world.
“Honestly, a double break is not ideal against a great server, especially a left-handed server.
“A lot of it is just being in the moment. And I think I created some opportunities. I had some good points. I think she had a few tight points, and here we are.”
She booked a third-round clash with fellow American Christina McHale, a 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 winner over 30th-seeded Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.
Two-time Wimbledon champion Kvitova, who was runner-up to Naomi Osaka at the Australian Open in January, also reached the final in Dubai last month.
The Czech appeared to have taken control of the stadium court slugfest when she broke Williams for a 4-3 lead in the third.
But Williams immediately broke back and Kvitova soon found herself serving to save the match. She took a 40-15 lead in the final game, but two double faults, followed by a lucky netcord bounce for Williams gave the American a match point and Kvitova sailed a ball long to end matters after two hours and 27 minutes – sparking an ebullient celebration from Williams.
In other matches, world number one Novak Djokovic shook off a nervy start to dispatch US qualifier Bjorn Fratangelo in straight sets Saturday to reach the third round of the ATP Indian Wells Masters.
Djokovic, playing his first match since winning a record seventh Australian Open title in January, was less than sharp in conceding an early break to his 128th-ranked rival.
Also, Naomi Osaka, who followed up her US Open victory with an Australian Open triumph that propelled her to number one in the world, eased past France’s Kristina Mladenovic in her second round match. Osaka won 6-3 6-4 and will now meet Danielle Collins of USA in the third round.