Pegula, Azarenka to clash; Ostapenko meets Rogers

Just a few weeks in the past, Jessica Pegula was musing about her busy fall schedule.

The 27-year-old American mentioned her upcoming wedding ceremony, set for later this month, and the remainder of her 2021 schedule. Pegula stated she was wanting ahead to Indian Wells and added coyly, “Who is aware of, if issues work out, perhaps the year-end finals.”

It appeared like a throwaway line however, out of the blue, it’s really a risk.

Indian Wells order of play: Not earlier than 3 p.m. PT (Azarenka vs. Pegula) | Not earlier than 6 p.m. (Rogers vs. Ostapenko)

Pegula, the primary participant into the BNP Paribas quarterfinals Tuesday with a complete 6-1, 6-1 victory over a clearly compromised Elina Svitolina, is just a match win or two from throwing her Buffalo Payments hat into the ring for the WTA finals subsequent month in Guadalajara, Mexico. She entered Indian Wells at No.14 within the Porsche Race to the WTA Finals with 2,286 factors. With a victory over Victoria Azarenka on Wednesday, she would assure herself 390 factors by making the semifinals. A win there can be price no less than 650 factors, with the potential for 1,000 with a title.

With the early departures of No.5 Maria Sakkai, No.6 Garbiñe Muguruza, No.7 Iga Swiatek and No.10 Elise Mertens – there’s a little bit of a gap for Pegula, amongst a number of others.

“Whether or not I used to be getting married or not,” Pegula stated, “I made the choice to get right here early, bought a number of apply days in, to essentially take pleasure in it, have enjoyable and never depart the yr on a bitter observe of, `I’m drained, I simply wish to go get married.’

“That may have been the straightforward approach out. I needed to problem myself. So, why not take benefit?”

Good recommendation for these quarterfinalists nonetheless in play for Guadalajara.

Listed here are your two Wednesday quarterfinals from the underside half of the draw.

No.19 Jessica Pegula vs. No.27 Victoria Azarenka

Firstly of the event, Azarenka’s 12-player part included No.7 Petra Kvitova, No. 11 Simona Halep and No.17 Emma Raducanu – main champions all.

Aliaksandra Sasnovich did many of the heavy lifting, taking good care of the 18-year-old Raducanu, who got here in contemporary off her US Open title, and Halep, whereas Azarenka defeated Kvitova. On Tuesday, Azarenka beat Sasnovich 6-3, 6-4 to boost her round-of-16 file at Indian Wells to a sterling 6-0.

The 32-year-old mom from Belarus is a two-time champion at Indian Wells (2012 and 2016). 5 years later, she’s inspired by her finest effort in three appearances since. That is Azarenka’s fifth quarterfinal of the yr, however that’s leavened by 5 walkovers after a sequence of accidents.

It took Pegula just a little over an hour to beat Svitolina for the second time this yr. That consequence underlined her outstanding success this season in opposition to elite gamers. Going again to the Australian Open, Pegula is 7-3 versus Prime 10 gamers, with 4 wins over Karolina Pliskova, two in opposition to Svitolina and one over Naomi Osaka in Rome.

“I undoubtedly suppose that popping out of COVID, I stated, `I’m going to essentially work on my health, I wish to be wholesome, I’m going to wish to come out of right here able to go.’

“I bought to coach in COVID occasions, and I bought to do what I wanted to do in Florida, the restrictions not being that onerous. I believe that mentality actually kick-started a brand new perception.”

Pegula got here into Indian Wells with one profession win, however has cobbled collectively a powerful run. After a bye, she took out Sloane Stephens within the second spherical and qualifier Jasmine Paolini (in 58 minutes) within the third.

Seven of her 12 profession quarterfinal appearances have come this season.

Head-to-head: 1-1. Pegula received a first-round match this yr on the Australian Open, and later Azarenka took a three-set quarterfinal win in a Berlin. In between, Azarenka granted a walkover within the Madrid spherical of 32.

No.24 Jelena Ostapenko vs. Shelby Rogers

Neither of those gamers will likely be missing in confidence.

With the gritty courts at Indian Wells taking part in with a pace much like the purple clay Of Roland Garros, it’s no surprise Ostapenko, the shock 2017 French Open champion is in glowing kind.

On Tuesday, she took down No.2 seed and 2020 Roland Garros winner Iga Swiatek 6-4, 6-3.

“I didn’t give her any possibilities to play, as a result of I believe I used to be taking part in very aggressive and took the time away from her so she couldn’t do a lot in opposition to me,” Ostapenko stated afterward. “I used to be considering an excessive amount of earlier than, and now I’m simply attempting to benefit from the second and simply strive not to consider something.

“If I play properly, I’m a harmful participant and I can, I believe, beat anybody.”

In fact, primarily based on current outcomes, the No.44-ranked Rogers feels the identical approach.

Rogers triumphed over No.23 Leylah Fernandez 2-6, 6-1, 7-6 (4) in a tense match that ran greater than two-and-a-half hours.

“I believe she’s loving the situations right here,” Rogers stated of Ostapenko. “She’s doing properly in singles and took me out in doubles already, so in search of just a little revenge, I suppose.

“She’s taking part in constant and aggressive and serving properly, from what I noticed. I’ll must go watch her match once more, as a result of it was occurring at an analogous time. Perform a little scouting and get myself prepared and excited for just a little night time tennis tomorrow.”

After shedding to World No.1 Ashleigh Barty twice in Australia early within the season, Rogers shocked Barty within the third spherical of the US Open – in a third-set tiebreaker. That is the primary Indian Wells quarterfinal for the 28-year-old American.

Ostapenko, nonetheless solely 24, is having fun with her finest event at Indian Wells. She defeated Hsieh Su-Wei in straight units within the second spherical, however wanted three units to get previous Yulia Putintseva. She’s made two finals this yr, successful in Eastbourne and amassing the runner-up trophy in Luxembourg.

“She’s an important participant,” Ostapenko stated of Rogers, “however attempt to focus extra on myself and play my recreation. I believe if I play properly my recreation, then I’m a harmful participant.”

Head-to-head: 2-0, Ostapenko. Each got here on clay (Rome 2017, Charleston 2019).



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