The third round of the BNP Paribas Open saw Peng Shuai creating an upset over Agnieszka Radwanska in straight sets, outhitting her in every aspect of the game as the Chinese gave her an own taste of her own medicine as she mixed in drop shots and lobs into the match, leaving Radwanska shell-shocked at times.
Peng steals the first set
A fast start to the match for Peng saw her strolling to a comfortable service hold in the opening game of the match with her groundstrokes looking on point and precise, allowing her to take the first game without any troubles. After going up 15-30 in her first return game of the evening, Peng saw unforced errors getting the better of her as she allowed Radwanska to have the narrow hold of service, leveling the scores at 1-1.
It was surprisingly the Pole who made the first breakthrough of the match as she broke serve to love in the third game of the set, playing some excellent offensive tennis to take the early lead. However, the world number six was then overpowered by the Chinese as Peng broke straight back to prevent Radwanska from consolidating the break, returning on serve as soon as possible.
Peng then managed to consolidate the break of serve to take a 3-2 lead, playing some inspiring tennis as she gave Radwanska a taste of her own medicine by hitting a variety of shots during the match. The Chinese continued her excellent run as she won her third consecutive game to take a 4-2 lead, edging closer to winning the first set. Despite having the momentum running in her, Peng gave the advantage back with some unnecessary unforced errors, allowing Radwanska to make an immediate reply by breaking straight back, returning on serve and keeping the set wide open again.
After an exchange of service holds, Peng found herself one game away from winning the first set with Radwanska having to serve to stay in the set. Peng stepped up her game just at the right time as she came up with some good returns and played some great offensive style of tennis to earn three break points, which were also set points, all of a sudden.
Despite Radwanska making a fight back by getting to deuce and earning game point to level the scores. Nevertheless, Peng did not get affected by the loss of all the set points as she managed to capitalize on her fourth set point to be halfway from the upset.
Peng almost loses big lead
Peng got off to a perfect start in the second set as she carried the momentum over from the first set, holding her serve comfortably in the opening game of the set. Her confidence then powered her to break serve in the next game, taking the early lead in the second set and took an overall lead of a set and a break.
However, a loose service game which followed up next allowed Radwanska to break straight back, with a glimpse of hope in extending the match into a deciding set. After an exchange of easy service holds, Peng regained the lead once more as she hit some strong and consistent backhands to break serve and take a 4-2 lead, being just two games away from victory.
The Chinese then made it one game as she continued her excellent run to have a service hold to love, extending her lead to three games. Radwanska seemed to mount an improbable comeback as she held a tight service game and got back one of the breaks by breaking to love, lessening the deficit to just one game.
Nevertheless, Peng made the last breakthrough as she maintained her composure and stepped up her game to seal up the match in just 1 hour and 30 minutes, progressing to the fourth round of the tournament.