There was an upset in the second round of the BNP Paribas Open as Peng Shuai looked to be playing her best tennis and strolled to the victory over Ana Konjuh in straight sets, sealing a place in the third round, setting up a meeting with Agnieszka Radwanska there.
Peng steals the first set
A solid start to the match saw Peng Shuai having a comfortable service hold as Konjuh looked a bit shaky in the opening stages, and allowed the Chinese to win the opening game of the match. Konjuh’s slow start to the match started to show its effect in the next game as she was faced with two break points from Peng on her service game, with a huge risk of falling behind an early break. However, the Croatian youngster managed to hit some strong serves into play which saved her from the brink and allowed her to narrowly hold onto her opening service game.
It was Peng who had to fend off break points in the next game as unforced errors caused the Chinese to go down 0-40 in the game. Nevertheless, she maintained her composure and fought her way back to hold the nervy service game, holding onto her serve. Peng once again went down 0-40 in her next service game, but this time she was only able to save two break points as Konjuh went third time lucky, after she hit some booming forehands to take the lead in the set.
After an exchange of service holds, Peng made the fightback as she broke serve comfortably to return level on serve with the scores at 4-4. A tough service game for Peng followed as she was brought to deuce with Konjuh’s strong returns, but managed to close out the service game as she took a 5-4 lead, winning three games in a row. Peng then had her second consecutive break of serve as Konjuh failed to deal with the pressure well while serving to stay in the set, gifting the first set to Peng after 47 minutes of play.
Peng strolls to the victory
The second set saw the Croatian youngster make a fast start as she broke down Peng’s vulnerable serve to have the early lead in the second set, looking to level the match. However, she was unable to hold onto her lead for long as she lost it in just the next game as she started to hand out free points with her unforced errors, with Peng taking advantage of them and breaking straight back to return level. A couple of comfortable service holds followed as both players were unable to find a breakthrough in their return games.
The next break of serve came in the sixth game when Konjuh failed to find her first serves at the most crucial moment, gifting Peng a service break and a 4-2 lead. The lead was extended to three games when Peng had yet another comfortable service hold, placing herself just one game away from the upset. Similar to the first set, Konjuh was unable to deal with the pressure when serving to stay in the match, and eventually fell in straight sets after 81 minutes.