World number two Angelique Kerber suffered a huge scare during her BNP Paribas Open third round match against Pauline Parmentier, having to recover from a huge deficit in the final set to triumph in the end.
Kerber steals the first set
It was a pretty even start to the match as both players started the match with an exchange of service holds, with neither of them looking like they would be making a breakthrough anytime soon. Nevertheless, a golden opportunity for the first break to occur was in the fourth game of the set, with Kerber earning five break points in the marathon 21-points game and being fifth time lucky as she converted her fifth break point to prevail in the game and take the advantage, jumping out to an early 3-1 lead.
Kerber failed to hold onto the lead for long, though, as she immediately lost it in the next game after getting broken by her opponent despite having three game points, allowing her opponent to return on serve as soon as possible. Parmentier almost gave the advantage back again as she faced a break point in the next game once more, but she maintained her composure to fend off the offense from Kerber, remaining level on serve in the set.
Earning a break point in her third straight return game, Kerber benefited from the abundance of unforced errors that Parmentier was making but the Frenchwoman always stepped up her game and found her first serve whenever a break point opportunity arises, and therefore the German increased her amount of missed break points to six in a total of just four return games.
Those missed chances proved to be costly as Parmentier relied on her solid and powerful groundstrokes to break serve to love in the next game, taking the lead for the first time in the match as she had then golden opportunity to serve out the first set. The Frenchwoman almost successfully completed the job as she earned a set point while serving for the set, but Kerber saved it with her formidable forehand that saved her from the brink.
Parmentier would rue that missed chance to seal up the set as Kerber broke back all of a sudden despite looking down-and-out previously, returning level on the scoreboard. The world number two, with the momentum and confidence, strolled to the victory of the first set after winning eight of the next ten points, sealing the first set after 63 minutes of play.
Parmentier shocks everyone
Kerber had the worst possible start to the second set as she wasted a total of four game point opportunities and got broken eventually to give Parmentier the early advantage out of nowhere, despite the fans thinking that the German would stroll to win the second set easily. Parmentier extended her lead to two games when she easily consolidated the break, looking to send the match into a deciding set.
It may seem too early to have this thinking, but her lead was further affirmed when she broke serve yet again to run away with a double break advantage and a 3-0 lead. Kerber tried to mount a comeback by breaking straight back and getting one of the breaks back, lessening the deficit to just two games. However, Kerber’s woes on her serve continued as Parmentier consistently troubled the higher-ranked player with her deep groundstrokes, leaving Kerber having no chance to be on the offense, thus Parmentier regained her double break lead and eventually placed herself in an advantageous position to close out the set as she consolidated the break with a tough hold of service, fending off a break point in the process.
Kerber finally had her first service hold of the second set as she saved a set point to keep herself in the set for at least one more game with some booming forehands that once again saved her from the brink. The world number two made it like a comeback was on as she got one of the breaks back, and seemed to be gaining the momentum just before Parmentier maintained her composure and served out the set to love and clinching the second set within just 37 minutes.
Parmentier runs out to huge lead; gets pegged back
After three consecutive holds to love to start the final set with, it seemed to be a very tight final set as neither was able to find a breakthrough in their return games. However, just when the fans thought that it would be a tight affair, another love game came by us but this time it was a service break as Parmentier broke to love and took the hard-earned advantage in the final set, edging closer to her first ever victory over a top 10 player.
The Frenchwoman was able to consolidate the break with a tough hold of serve, extending her lead to three games and was just two games away from the huge upset. Serving at 4-2, Parmentier earned a game point as she went up 40-30 in the game, but lost the point despite Kerber’s backhand that seemed to land on the line did not get challenged by Parmentier, and the TV replays showed that the German’s shot was indeed out. Had Parmentier challenged the call, it would have been a service hold sealed up for her and have her lead extended to 5-2.
This was the turning point of the match as Kerber made use of her forehands and Parmentier’s unforced errors to break back all of a sudden to return level on serve, before extending the final set into an 11th game where Kerber prevailed in a marathon 15-points game after capitalizing on her fourth break point in the game to take the lead in the final set for the first time, which came along with the chance to serve out the match. Although facing some difficulties, Kerber eventually closed out the match with a sigh of relief as she fended off yet another break point to triumph in three sets after 2 hours and 35 minutes of play.