Fourth seeded Sloane Stephens was the biggest upset of the day at the 2019 Indian Wells Open as she crashed to a straight-set defeat at the hands of Swiss qualifier Stefanie Voegele in her second round match.
Stephens, who had a bye in the first round, was crushed 6-3, 6-0 to suffer her fifth defeat of the season, to go with just five wins, and she said it was the transition period between her coaches that might have been the reason behind her performance.
The American doesn’t have a full-time coach after previous coach Kamau Murray took up a role with Monica Puig. What that has meant is that Stephens now has U.S. Fed Cup captain Kathy Rinaldi as her stand-in on-court coach at this tournament in Indian Wells.
And while Stephens praised Rinaldi, she would also love to get back to her winning ways in a year that has seen her exit from the fourth round at the Australian Open being her best showing of the season so far. She has played in four other tournaments and never got past round two.
“Obviously Kathy is such a great help. I have known her since I was 12. It’s nice to have someone out there who knows you and knows your game and can really help.”
“I think I’m obviously going through a transition right now, so things are different than they normally have been. So I’m just trying to work through that.”
Interestingly, the World No.109 Voegele had gone into this encounter with a head to head record of 4-1 against Stephens and she went on to prove once again, her wins over the American were no fluke. The straight-set victory came in a mere 68 minutes.
Voegele was 4-3 up in the first set and reeled off eight games in a row to clinch the encounter.
She will now take on Bianca Andreescu, who caused a mini-upset of her own, defeating the 32nd seeded Slovakian Dominika Cibulkova.
In some of the other matches of the day, Marketa Vondrousova upset Daria Kasatkina 6-2, 6-1 to advance to the third round where she will play Jelena Ostapenko.
Seventh seeded Kiki Bertens beat Magda Linette while Great Britain’s Johanna Konta registered a resounding 6-0, 6-2 win over Su-wei Hsieh in her second round match. Garbine Muguruza, Elise Mertens, Wang Qiang, Ash Barty and second seeded Simona Halep were some of the others to advance to the third round.