Sloane Stephens dug deep to beat Brit Heather Watson 6-7 (5), 7-5, 6-1 on Wednesday in the opening match at the Indian Wells Open.

Watson hit seven aces and had seven double faults on the hard courts of the Californian desert facility but Stephens won seven of 18 break points on her way to victory.

She raced to a 5-0 lead in the third set before Watson held, then served out the win.

Stephens will meet fellow American Jessica Pegula in the second round on Friday.

Yulia Putintseva and Liudmilla Samsonova also secured first-round wins.

Putintseva beat Andrea Petkovic 7-6(2), 6-1, while Samsonova knocked over Ukrainian qualifier Kateryna Kozlova, 6-4, 7-6(6).

  • Canadian Leylah Fernandez, 19, and rising American star Cori Gauff, 17, have signed up to play doubles together at the Indian Wells Master