WTA Indian Wells: Zhang Shuai Moves On After Pauline Parmentier Retires

It was a good contest with both players pushing each other. As the match progressed, they started to look shaky and the first set eventually went to Zhang Shuai in a close tiebreak. That was the end however, as Pauline Parmentier could not carry on with her bronchitis acting up and was forced to retire.

A Tight Set Of Breaks Before Zhang Edges In The Tiebreak

Zhang started off proceedings and right off the bat Parmentier was hitting back her balls with interest. Her attacking game made Zhang work for her first game of the match. Parmentier looked the quicker and aggressive of the two, following up with a love hold and was rewarded with a couple of break points in the third game. The Chinese hung on to save them both before the Frenchwoman created another break point finishing a rally with a forehand drive. This time she capitalized after an error from Zhang to go 2-1 ahead.

The Chinese seemed to have found her groove finding her forehands and pushing Parmentier but the French stood firm to extend her lead to 3-1. The match picked up intensity as both women began to exchange baseline rallies. Zhang kept in touch bringing the score to 3-2.

After which it was a succession of breaks. The Chinese leveled in the next game which saw explosive shots from both players but a rare error cost the Frenchwoman the break. Zhang however wasted the opportunity to lead for the first time, surrendering the game to Parmentier. The Frenchwoman again could not hold onto the break, as a weak second serve allowed Zhang to pounce and level the match 4-4.

The players started to look vulnerable in their service games. Zhang looked to be in trouble once again but came up with some great shots to hold for a 5-4 lead. The pressure was on Parmentier to serve to stay in the match and Zhang almost capitalized earning herself set points. The Chinese however, failed to close out and was almost punished as she faced triple break points in her next game.  She clawed her way back to a huge hold for a 6-5 lead. This time Parmentier closed her game with ease to bring the set to a tiebreak.

Zhang got the first mini break as Parmentier looked to be struggling. The Frenchwoman was losing the long baseline rallies allowing Zhang to race to a 4-1 lead. That lead did not last long, like how the match has been so far, as Parmentier came back to level 5-5. A wide wide forehand though handed the Chinese her third set point of the match. Zhang took it this time closing out the set 7-6(5) with an ace.

Parmentier Retires

Parmentier is forced to retire | Photo courtesy of: Harry How/Getty Images
Parmentier is forced to retire | Photo courtesy of: Harry How/Getty Images

With a set down, the 30-year-old requested for the doctor. Apparently, the Frenchwoman was struggling with bronchitis throughout the first set but was adamant to carry on. After the medical assessment though, the doctors decided that she was not fit to continue and she was forced to retire. Zhang advances to the next round where she meets Caroline Wozniacki.

First Set Statistics

Both women had comparable serve statistics, with Zhang getting in 65 percent of her first serves while Parmentier got in 66 percent of hers.

Zhang was more efficient converting two of her four break chances. The Frenchwoman similarly could only break twice but she had created more opportunities earning seven break points.

Overall, it was a close first set as the Chinese just won more point than her opponent to clinch the set.