Qualifying play for the BNP Paribas Open began Monday at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden with Hungarian Dalma Galfi, the top-seeded woman, among the winners.
Galfi had four aces and no double faults in a 6-3, 6-2 victory over Croatian Ana Konjuh who had six double faults and no aces in the 62-minute match.
The 24-year-old Galfi is ranked 80th and reached the third round of the U.S. Open and second round of Wimbledon last year. The 25-year-old Konjuh is ranked 157th. Her career-high ranking is 20th, achieved July 31, 2017. She played little from 2018 through 2020 after undergoing four surgeries on her right elbow.
Galfi will face Katie Swan of Great Britain, a 6-2, 6-1 winner over LÃ©olia Jeanjean of France, Tuesday.
Laura Siegemund of Germany defeated CoCo Vandeweghe, 7-6 (3), 6-3. The victory over Vandeweghe was the second straight for Siegemund after losing each of the first five matches to the Rancho Santa Fe resident.
Siegemund, who turned 35 Friday, is ranked 124th and seeded 24th in qualifying. The 31-year-old Vandeweghe rose 11 spots in the rankings released Monday to 125th after reaching the round of 16 in last week’s ATX Open.
Winners in men’s qualifying play included 20-year-old Zachary Svajda, who defeated former USC and Orange High School standout Steve Johnson, 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (4), closing out the match with his seventh ace.
The San Diego resident won the U.S. Tennis Association’s Boys’ 18 National Championship in 2019 and 2021. He is 227th on the Association of Tennis Professionals rankings.
The 33-year-old Johnson is 137th on the ATP rankings, his lowest since Feb. 17, 2014.
Serbian Dusan Lajovic is the top-seeded player in qualifying and faced American Tennys Sandgren in the final match on the Stadium 2 Court.
The 32-year-old Lajovic rose four spots to 71st in the rankings after reaching the quarterfinals of last week’s Movistar Chile Open. His highest career ranking is 23rd, reach in 2019, and best Grand Slam singles performances are reaching the fourth round of the French Open in 2014 and Australian Open in 2021.
Sandgren received a wild card into qualifying. The 31-year-old has not played in the singles main draw of an ATP Tour event since February 2022 and is ranked 224th after reaching a career-high 41st in 2019. He is named after his great-grandfather and not the sport he plays or the state where he was raised, resides and went to college, Tennessee.
Players winning two matches in qualifying will advance to the main draw. Players who lost in Monday’s qualifying matches received $5,150, while the winners will receive at least $9,440.
Men’s and women’s main draw play is set to begin Wednesday.
Organizers announced Sunday that Novak Djokovic, the world’s top-ranked men’s player, had withdrawn. Sen. Rick Scott, R-Florida, tweeted Friday at that the Department of Homeland Security had rejected Djokovic’s bid for a wavier from the requirement that foreign air travelers must be vaccinated for COVID-19 to enter the U.S.
Scott and Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, had written President Joe Biden requesting a waiver for Djokovic, allowing him to play in the Miami Open, which begins March 20.
“Mr. Djokovic is a world-class athlete in peak physical condition who is not at high-risk of severe complications from COVID-19,” Scott and Rubio wrote. “It seems both illogical and misaligned with the opinions of your own administration to not grant him the waiver he requests so that he may travel to the U.S. to compete in a professional event.
“The lack of public health risk, along with the clear benefit of his participation in an event that will be a major driver for our local economies should make the decision before you simple and serve as a precedent for others in his position, while hopefully leading to the full reversal of this mandate for other foreign visitors who wish to legally travel to our great nation.”
There was no immediate response to an email to the White House seeking comment.