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Marcos Giron puts up valiant effort in loss to Milos Raonic at Indian Wells

Marcos Giron returns a shot during a third-round loss to Milos Raonic on Monday at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.
(John G. Mabanglo / EPA)

The opportunity was there. Marcos Giron, on the best run of his tennis life, had reached the third round of the BNP Paribas Open and, to the crowd’s delight, won the first set against world No. 14 Milos Raonic. The big-serving Canadian took the second set but Giron went up 3-0 and 4-1 in the third.

“Part of me is like, ‘Oh, well, OK, I need to hold three more times,’ ” he said. “But then also I just tried to stick to, ‘OK, what patterns are working? What can I do here, and what do I need to do?’ I tried to do that.”

Giron was valiant but Raonic was simply better, winning the last five games for a 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 triumph.

“It hurts to lose, of course,” said Giron, whose ranking will go from 217 to around 170. “I mean, I would have loved to have won the match. … He really stayed disciplined. He kept fighting and kept putting balls in the court. And I made a few mistakes, but I think he showed why he’s one of the best players.”

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Giron said he came here with modest expectations. He leaves knowing he can compete with the best.

“I just came in trusting my game and playing my game and take it to the opponent and see what happens,” he said.

No. 3 Sascha Zverev was upset by fellow German Jan-Lennard Struff, who is ranked 55th in the world, 6-3, 6-1.

“I have been sick for a week. That hasn’t changed, unfortunately,” Zverev said.

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Ivo Karlovic of Croatia, 40 years 11 days old, extended his record for being the oldest player to win an ATP Masters 1000 match when he defeated Prajnesh Gunneswaran of India 6-3, 7-6 (3). He will face No. 7 Dominic Thiem, a 6-3, 6-1 winner over No. 27 Gilles Simon.

Yoshihito Nishioka of Japan fought off a late push by Canadian teenager Felix Auger-Aliassime to win 6-7 (2), 6-4, 7-6 (5) and set up a fourth-round match with Miomir Kecmanovic, who got into the draw as a lucky loser.

Experience pays off for Venus Williams

Venus Williams opened the tournament with two three-set matches and appeared headed to the limit again against qualifier Christina McHale.

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Williams took the first set by winning six of the last seven games but McHale broke her serve for a 4-3 lead in the second set and held for 5-3 on a fine backhand down the line. That’s when Williams’ experience kicked in and she won the last four games for a 6-2, 7-5 victory.

“The second set was a little nerve-racking but I’m happy to come through,” said Williams, ranked 36th in the world and unseeded.

Her next opponent is Mona Barthel, who upset No. 15 Julia Goerges 7-5, 1-6, 6-4.

Karolina Pliskova and Angelique Kerber advance

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No. 5 seed Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic fired 13 aces to dismiss qualifier Ysaline Bonaventure of Belgium 6-3, 6-2, and reach the fourth round. Pliskova will face No. 21 Anett Kontaveit of Estonia, who advanced when No. 11 Anastasija Sevastova had to retire after Kontaveit took a 5-0 lead.

No. 8 seed Angelique Kerber had to rally against qualifier Natalia Vikhlyantseva but finished off a 3-6, 6-1, 6-3 victory to advance to the fourth round.

“She played well in the first set and also the beginning of the second set. I was trying to focus on my game and be aggressive,” Kerber said.

She will face No. 9 Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus, who pushed past Lesia Tsurenko 6-2, 7-5.

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helene.elliott@latimes.com

Follow Helene Elliott on Twitter @helenenothelen


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