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.
Earlier, American wild-card entry Jamie Hampton beat former No. 1 Jelena Jankovic of Serbia 6-4, 6-3 and Christina McHale of the United States beat Elena Vesnina of Russia, 6-3, 7-5.
Hampton will face Jarmila Gajdosova of Australia in the third round. Gajdosova upset No. 22 seed Yanina Wickmayer of Belgium, 2-6, 6-2, 6-4.
Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova was scheduled to play the final match Friday night.
On the men's side, U.S. teenager Denis Kudla also won, taking a 2-6, 7-6 (3), 6-4 victory over Tobias Kamke of Germany. Kamke was a last-minute fill-in for Dmitry Tursunov of Russia, who withdrew due a wrist injury.
The men the crowd came to see No. 1 Novak Djokovic, No. 2 Rafael Nadal and American stars Andy Roddick and Mardy Fish — didn't play singles Friday.
Hampton, who last week moved into the top 100 for the first time at No. 99, had never won back-to-back matches in a WTA Tour event, and her most recent match against a top-ranked player was a 6-0, 6-1 loss to Maria Sharapova in the second round of the Australian Open.
She said that this time the experience gained in Australia and her first-round win over 38th-ranked Polona Hercog both were beneficial against Jankovic.
"I didn't really know what to expect," said Hampton. "I think the fact that I got a match under my belt here helped me a lot. In Australia I didn't have that against Maria and she wiped the court with me."
The Americans were nearly upstaged by 21-year-old