Angelique Kerber's dream of winning a Grand Slam tournament came true in January, when she upset Serena Williams in the Australian Open final. But Kerber didn't realize the title would bring with it constant demands from sponsors, tournament promoters and the media.
"The pressure is much different than it was like few months ago. It's a completely new situation for me," said Kerber, who came to the BNP Paribas Open ranked No. 2 in the world. "I'm trying to get used to it."
To her credit, she didn't blame those distractions — or the pressure — after losing to unseeded Denisa Allertova, 7-5, 7-5, in a second-round match Saturday.
"I think she's a great player. She's really young, great opponent, and she played very well today, I think," Kerber said of Allertova, a 23-year-old Czech who's ranked 64th in the world.
Allertova relied on an effective forehand and Kerber couldn't chase down enough shots. "It was not my day," Kerber said. "My leg was bothering me in the last few days already, so I was taping it and I was trying it. It will be helping a little bit, but at the end the match I was feeling it a little bit more. But it's not the excuse that's why I lost the match."
No. 4 seed Garbine Muguruza of Spain was upset by unseeded Christina McHale of New Jersey, 7-5, 6-1. Asked about the difficulty many high-seeded women have had this season, Muguruza said players who have less to lose are giving themselves bigger chances to win. "I think the ones who have less pressure or less, you know, smaller names in the paper are taking their chances," said Muguruza, the runner-up to Williams at Wimbledon last year.
Eugenie Bouchard of Canada continued the trend by upsetting No. 21 Sloane Stephens of the U.S., 7-5, 7-5. Among those cheering at courtside were Wayne Gretzky and his wife, Janet Jones. No. 7 Belinda Bencic, No. 12 Timea Bacsinszky and No. 9 Roberta Vinci advanced. But No. 6 Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain withdrew because of an ankle injury and was replaced by lucky loser Anna-Lena Friedsam, who wasn't so lucky: Daria Kasatkina of Russia defeated her, 7-5, 6-3.
In night matches on the men's side, No. 3 Stan Wawrinka defeated Ilya Marchenko of Ukraine, 6-3, 6-2; and Frances Tiafoe, 18, had two match points against No. 15 David Goffin of Belgium but couldn't close it out and lost, 6-3, 3-6, 6-7 (2). ... During the day session No. 6 Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic held off Juan Martin Del Potro of Argentina, 7-6, 6-4 (2). No. 12 Milos Raonic of Canada easily beat Inigo Cervantes of Spain, 6-1, 6-3, and No. 13 Gael Monfils of France defeated Pablo Carreno Busta of Spain, 7-5, 7-6 (1). No. 24 Nick Kyrgios of Australia got into a dispute with the chair umpire over the alleged use of an obscenity while losing in the second round to Albert Ramos-Vinolas of Spain, 7-6 (4), 7-5. Kyrgios denied it but later was captured on video using an obscenity, leading the umpire to beg him not to use that word. Kyrgios was fined $10,000 last year for insulting remarks made to Wawrinka at a tournament in August.