Tennis returned to the desert, and with it came the stars. Serena Williams, who had not played in a tournament since she won the 2017 Australian Open, resumed her winning ways, defeating Zarina Diyas of Kazakhstan 7-5, 6-3 in a first-round match Thursday.
Maria Sharapova’s return to the BNP Paribas Open for the first time in three years did not end as well. She fell 6-4, 6-4 to Naomi Osaka of Japan the previous night.
But off the courts — all 29 of them — The Times wanted to capture the scene that only the desert can provide. Colorful sunsets, stacked champagne bottles and enthusiastic fans all set against the backdrop of the Santa Rosa Mountains in Indian Wells.
Clockwise from top left: Fans relax with drinks at dusk while watching the action at the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells Tennis Garden. A convertible Bentley is parked near a row of palm trees. Champagne bottles are stacked up as tennis fans walk between games. From left, Sam Gonzalez, Lauren Fracassi and Cheryl Terkoski take a photo together after watching first-round action at the BNP Paribas Open. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
Clockwise from top, Steve Johnson, of the USA, serves the ball during a match with Daniil Medvedev, of Russia, during the first round of the BNP Paribas Open. The crowd cheers on Serena Williams after her defeat of Zarina Diyas in first-round action. Serena Williams returns the ball against Zarina Diyas in first round at the BNP Paribas Open. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
Left, matches are underway at dusk against the scenic backdrop of the Santa Rosa Mountains. The sun sets behind the mountains at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)