Photo : Peter Staples/ATP Tour
The beauty of sport is that as long as there is time on the clock, or in the case of tennis points to be played, there is always a chance for a good comeback.
No lead was sacred this week at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, especially when your opponent was Canadian.
Here’s what you need to know.
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If you like comebacks, upsets, and just generally unpredictable results, you must have loved the first week of the BNP Paribas Open.
Indian Wells saw a number of dramatic comebacks in the first few days of the Masters/WTA 1000 event, including from a couple of Canadians as both Denis Shapovalov and Leylah Fernandez rallied from a set down to win their respective opening matches.
Shapovalov overcame a sluggish start to beat Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, but Fernandez’s comeback was particularly dramatic as she saved four match points, including three in a row as Amanda Anisiomva served at 5-4, 40-0 in the second set, before her opponent retired after the Canadian won the second set tiebreak.
Félix Auger-Aliassime was not so lucky, as he was upset in his opening match by Botic van de Zandschulp in three sets.
Australian Open champion Rafael Nadal wins the award for most dramatic comeback of the week, as he narrowly avoided his first loss of 2022 despite being a double-break down at 2-5 in the third set of his opening match against Sebastian Korda. The American served for the match twice, but Nadal broke him both times before taking the set and the match in a tiebreak.
Following in her idol’s footsteps, Iga Świątek refused to say die when trailing, twice rallying from a set down to reach the fourth round.
The Pole is the highest-ranked player left in the women’s draw after both women to hold the top seed, first Ashleigh Barty and then her replacement Barbora Krejcikova, withdrew and then No. 2 seed Aryna Sabalenka was upset in her opening match by Jasmine Paolini.
The women’s draw was full of upsets, including No. 7 seed Karolina Pliskova, No. 8 Garbine Muguruza, No. 9 Ons Jabeur, No. 12 Elina Svitolina, the in-form Jelena Ostapenko, and US Open champion Emma Raducanu all failing to live-up to their seeds and losing before the fourth round.
On the men’s side, the biggest upset came late Sunday as third seed Alexander Zverev was beaten in a third-set tiebreak by home favourite Tommy Paul.
The Canadians had a great first week in doubles, going a combined 5-0. Fernandez and Gabriella Dabrowski have both reached the women’s quarter-finals with their respective partners, Denis Shapovalov won his opening match with Rohan Bopanna, upsetting the eighths seeds in the first round.
Fernandez and partner Alize Cornet upset the second seeds Sam Stosur and Shuai Zhang in the first round.
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Indian Wells continues this week as the third round wraps up on Monday, with both remaining Canadian singles players in action.
Shapovalov kicks off a repeat of his Australian Open when he takes on American Reilly Opelka, who he also beat in the third round in Melbourne. A win could book a rematch with Nadal, who outlasted the Canadian in five sets in the year’s first Slam.
Fernandez will look to find her footing against American Shelby Rogers. The Canadian teen has saved match points in her last two matches dating back to the Monterrey final and is on a six-match winning streak.
A win on Monday could set up a round of 16 battle with the defending champion Paula Badosa. Anett Kontaveit is the highest-ranked player left in the bottom half of the draw and is a potential quarter-final opponent for Fernandez.
In doubles, Dabrowski and Fernandez could potentially meet in an all-Canadian final should they each win two more matches. Dabrowski and Giuliana Olmos are the second-highest seeded team left in the draw, while there is only one seeded team potentially in Fernandez and Cornet’s way.
Both pairs play unseeded opponents in the quarters.
Shapovalov and Bopanna play an unseeded pair in the second round and could meet third seeds Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos in the quarter-finals. They are in the same half as second seeds Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury, as well as their nemeses Wesley Koolhof and Neal Skupski, who beat Shapovalov and Bopanna twice in February.
Under the Radar: Rebecca Keeps Rolling
A week after winning her first ITF W60 title in years, Rebecca Marino very nearly picked up another, reaching the final in Irapuato where she fell short against Zhu Lin.
Marino has already reached three finals in 2022, winning one title.
Davis Cup team members Brayden Schnur and Steven Diez will both be competing in ATP Challenger events this week in Italy and Chile respectively.
You can follow the Canadians in action every week here.