Indian Wells, California: Mona Barthel of Germany fought Australian Open champion and No. 1 Victoria Azarenka for 3 hours before finally losing 6-4, 6-7 (4), 7-6 (6) in the second round of the BNP Paribas Open on Friday.
Azarenka was up 5-1 in the second set at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden before the 21-year-old Barthel held serve and began to play almost flawless tennis. She won five games in a row before Azarenka held serve to force a tiebreaker. Azarenka lost the final three points of that tiebreaker, then trailed in the third set 4-1 after losing serve with three straight double faults, but she won the next two games.
Barthel cashed in her third break point on Azarenka's serve to go up 6-5, only to play an extremely loose game and lose serve to set up the tiebreak. The 12-point tiebreaker was more of the same. Azarenka went up 3-0, then double-faulted for the 12th time to make it 4-4. Azarenka went up 6-4 and Barthel got even with a service winner and a long forehand from her opponent. But at 6-6 Barthel hit a backhand return long, then lost the match with a long backhand groundstroke.