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Major upset: Top seed Karolina Pliskova falls to unseeded qualifier at Indian Wells

  • October 12, 2021

Third-ranked Karolina Pliskova was handed the top seed in the women’s draw at the BNP Paribas Open, but she couldn’t capitalize on having first- and second-ranked Ash Barty and Aryna Sabalenka out of the draw.

Pliskova, of the Czech Republic, failed to advance beyond the Round of 32 on Monday in a 6-3, 7-5 loss to unseeded “lucky loser” Beatriz Haddad Maia of Brazil that will go down as one of the biggest upsets in the history of the tournament.

Pliskova’s loss was one of five upsets during the day action Monday on the start of the second week of the tournament.

Haddad Maia, 25, wasn’t even supposed to be in the main draw at Indian Wells. She lost her second match in qualifying to American Usue Arconda but was later added to the field after 29 seed Nadia Podoroska withdrew because of injuries.

Entering the field already as a “lucky loser,” Haddad Maia surprisingly won her opening-round match against Mayar Sherif of Egypt, 6-3, 6-0.

Haddad Maia is ranked 115 in the world. Her only other appearance at Indian Wells came in 2018 and resulted in a first-round loss to Monica Puig of Puerto Rico.

Her only other main draw WTA appearances this year were in smaller events in South Carolina, Massachusetts, Ohio and last month in the Chicago Fall Classic. She was 3-4 in those four tournaments.

Pliskova, 29, has reached the semifinals of all four Grand Slams, including the finals at Wimbledon this year. She’s reached the semifinals twice at Indian Wells, in 2016 and 2017, and the quarterfinals in 2018 and 2019, but has yet to reach the finals at this event.

As the top seed, she had her best opportunity yet to do that this year. Instead, Haddad Maia is on the best run of her career and will see if she can take it a step further against 18 seed Anett Kontaveit, who beat defending champion Bianca Andreescu.

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