Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Gibbs demolishes Dulgheru in Indian Wells

Nicole Gibbs, playing in the 2014 Sacramento
Challenger, earned her first main-draw victory
in Indian Wells tonight. Photo by Rob Vomund
   Nicole Gibbs avenged her French Open loss to Alexandra Dulgheru -- and then some.
   Playing on a hardcourt this time near home in Southern California, Gibbs crushed Dulgheru 6-1, 6-0 in 62 minutes tonight in the first round of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.
   Gibbs, a 23-year-old qualifier from Marina del Rey in the Los Angeles area and former Stanford All-American, improved to 15-4 this year (including qualifying matches) with her first main-draw victory in Indian Wells.
   Dulgheru, a 26-year-old Romanian, had no aces, committed seven double faults, and won only 10 of 25 points (40 percent) on her first serve and 3 of 20 (15 percent) on her second delivery.
   Gibbs, meanwhile, had more success on her second serve (winning 10 of 15 points, 67 percent) than on her first (18 of 31, 58 percent).
   Dulgheru dominated Gibbs 6-3, 6-1 in the opening round at Roland Garros last year in their only previous meeting.
   Gibbs, 5-foot-6 (1.68 meters), will receive a much-needed day of rest before facing No. 23 seed Madison Keys of Boca Raton, Fla., for the first time on Friday.
   The 5-foot-10 (1.78-meter) Keys, who reached the Australian Open semifinals last year at 19, received a first-round bye.  
   In the final round of men's qualifying, No. 23 seed Noah Rubin of Long Island beat No. 12 Dennis Novikov of Milpitas in the San Francisco Bay Area 7-5, 6-3.
   Novikov, a 22-year-old former UCLA star, survived Indian Wells qualifying last year and lost to former top-10 player Jurgen Melzer of Austria in the first round of the main draw.
   The 5-foot-10 (1.78-meter) Rubin, 20, reached the second round of the Australian Open in January. He stunned France's Benoit Paire, then ranked 18th, before losing to another Frenchman, qualifier Pierre-Hugues Herbert.

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