Monday was a good day for weather and a bad day for defending champions in the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.
Hours before men's 2013 champion Rafael Nadal was upset, 2013 women's champion Maria Sharapova went out at the hands of a qualifier from Italy.
Camila Giorgi, a 22-year-old ranked No. 93 at the end of last season who has yet to reach a tournament quarterfinal, stunned Sharapova with solid ground strokes and a steady will and won, 6-3, 4-6, 7-5. Sharapova, a Russian by way of Manhattan Beach, had been seeded fourth.
"It was a really good match," Giorgi said. "I wasn't too consistent, but it was great."
Not exactly Sharapova's feelings.
"I did not play a good match at all," she said. "My level was nowhere near where it should have been."
But she had words of praise for Giorgi, although perhaps somewhat grudging ones.
"If she can play like that on a consistent level," Sharapova said, "she'll be a really good player."
Sharapova's early departure was, in many ways, no less surprising than Nadal's. She has won nearly $27 million in her career, and is one of only a handful of players with a career Grand Slam — at least one victory in each of the four majors.
Giorgi's upset victory was not her first. Last year, when she made it all the way to the fourth round of the U.S. Open, she upset former No. 1 player and sixth-seeded Caroline Wozniacki.
Wozniacki, a former champion at Indian Wells and here this week with fiance and golf star Rory McIlroy, is seeded 10th and plays No. 7 Jelena Jankovic of Serbia on Tuesday.
Top-seeded Li Na of China advanced, beating Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic, 6-3, 6-4.
In a night match, Sloane Stephens kept slim U.S. hopes of some success here alive, when she took out 11th-seeded Ana Ivanovic, 7-6 (3), 6-4. Stephens is one of three U.S. players — along with John Isner and Lauren Davis — still playing.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun