Australian Open champ Caroline Wozniacki benefited from a challenge call in the final game en route to defeating Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-4, 2-6, 6-3 at Indian Wells on Monday.
The 27-year-old world No. 2 moved on to the fourth round where she will face 20th seeded Russian Daria Kasatkina, who surprised reigning US Open champion Sloane Stephens 6-4, 6-3.
“I managed to get my feet going more, and to start playing more steady, and that paid off today,” said Wozniacki.
Wozniacki challenged a call in the final game when the line judge ruled that Sasnovich’s shot caught the line. Wozniacki asked for a second look and the review showed that the line judge mistakenly called the ball in.
Wozniacki said the court conditions were difficult but she managed to make adjustments.
“These courts are really difficult to play on. That’s also why you see a lot of upsets,” she said. “The ball bounces really high and it goes extremely slow.”
In other women’s third round matches on Monday, French seventh seed Caroline Garcia defeated Australia’s Daria Gavrilova 7-5, 6-4.
Danielle Collins also won her third round match, defeating Sofya Zhuk of Russia 6-4, 6-4.
Stephens crashes out
The reigning US Open champion said this wasn’t the statement she had hoped for in her first tournament in the USA since winning her maiden Grand Slam title.
Stephens made four double faults and had her serve broken four times in the 77 minute match against the Russian 20-year-old.
“Obviously not my best tennis today, but fortunately we get to play every single week,” she said. “I am not going to be too down about it. There’s always next week and the week after.”
She says it is taking her awhile to get back into the swing of things after the euphoric high of winning her first Major.
“There’s a lot that comes with winning a Grand Slam, and I think there is a lot that comes with winning a Grand Slam as an American player,” she said.
“Being in the first final that Venus (Williams) and Serena wasn’t in in like, the longest time ever. I don’t even know how long it was.
“I think there was a lot that came with that. I wouldn’t say there was a crash, but obviously going to China after you win the US Open is not always going to be the funnest thing.
“So I’m kind of getting back into it, and I’m just looking forward to playing again.”
Stephens had to play two days in a row in Indian Wells after her opening match on Saturday night got washed out because of heavy rains. She returned to the court Sunday afternoon and beat Victoria Azarenka in straight sets 6-1, 7-5.
Stephens said she is used to have her schedule disrupted because of bad weather.
“You play an outdoor sport and the weather can affect that sometimes,” she said. “Last week in Acapulco, I played a singles match at 4:00 p.m. and played a doubles match at 11:15 p.m. in the same day, and then came back the next day and had to play another match.
“So you have to go with it. It’s definitely no excuse.”
Stephens is only the second American, along with Lindsay Davenport, to have beaten both Serena and Venus Williams in Grand Slam match play.
Stephens hopes to win another Grand Slam before she plans to retire at age 30.
“I’ll be 25 next week and hopefully I can play another five years. And in those five years hopefully I can have another – my agent is saying more.”
In the marquee match of the day, Serena Williams’ return to the WTA Tour came to an end as she crashed out of Indian Wells with a 6-3, 6-4 loss to her sister Venus.
Venus closed out the 29th career meeting between the two on her second match point as Serena sailed a forehand long to end the third- round showdown.
Venus Williams (USA x8) bt Serena Williams (USA) 6-3, 6-4
Anastasija Sevastova (LAT x21) bt Julia Georges (GER x12) 6-3, 6-3
Carla Suarez (ESP x27) bt Elina Svitolina (UKR x4) 7-5, 6-3
Caroline Garcia (FRA x7) bt Daria Gavrilova (AUS x26) 7-5, 6-4
Danielle Collins (USA) bt Sofya Zhuk (RUS) 6-4, 6-4
Angelique Kerber (GER x10) bt Elena Vesnina (RUS x24) 7-5, 6-2
Caroline Wozniacki (DEN x2) bt Aliaksandra Sasnovich (BLR) 6-4, 2-6, 6-3
Darya Kasatkina (RUS x20) bt Sloane Stephens (USA x13) 6-4, 6-3