Swiatek, Fernandez looking for a spot in the quarterfinals

The final 16 of the BNP Paribas Open is starting to take form, with 4 tantalizing matches all set within the backside half of the draw. All eight fourth-round matches might be performed on Tuesday.

Heading into Monday’s motion, two former Indian Wells champions stay: two-time winner Victoria Azarenka and defending champion Bianca Andreescu. Two former finalists are additionally left – 2018 runner-up Daria Kasatkina and 2019 runner-up Angelique Kerber. They sq. off in a Monday third-round encounter.

Indian Wells: Scores | Attracts | Order of play

Six Grand Slam winners are nonetheless within the draw, together with reigning Roland Garros champion Barbora Krejcikova. Andreescu and Kerber stay within the high half of the draw, whereas Azarenka, Jelena Ostapenko and Iga Swiatek have all reached the fourth spherical within the backside half.

13 2021 titlists have an opportunity so as to add to their season tally. Within the backside half, Ostapenko, Swiatek, Elina Svitolina and Leylah Fernandez are nonetheless alive. Within the high half, Krejcikova, Kerber, Kasatkina, Anett Kontaveit, Ons Jabeur, Danielle Collins, Paula Badosa, Coco Gauff and Tamara Zidansek stay.

[27] Victoria Azarenka (BLR) vs. Aliaksandra Sasnovich (BLR)

Is there a participant who matches the “upset artist” tag higher than Sasnovich proper now? The 27-year-old owns six profession High 10 wins, a complete that does not even embrace her consecutive straight-sets victories over Slam champions this week – No.17 seed Emma Raducanu adopted by No.11 Simona Halep. When her neat, aggressive recreation is clicking, it is easy to see why she’s a menace.

But Sasnovich has by no means been ranked greater than No.30 (in September 2018) and has spent extra time floating round her present No.100 placement. She is but to win a WTA title and has reached solely two finals to this point (Seoul 2015 and Brisbane 2018). This week marks the primary time she has received three straight WTA principal draw matches since Sydney 2019.

“It is attention-grabbing to play in opposition to the gamers who’re the perfect on the planet,” Sasnovich mentioned after defeating Raducanu. “I desire to play on the massive area with quite a lot of crowds.”

Highlights: Azarenka d. Kvitova | Sasnovich d. Halep

She’ll get a shot at one other upset in opposition to a Belarusian compatriot subsequent. Azarenka owns the perfect Indian Wells document of anybody left within the subject. She received titles right here in 2012 and 2016, and is in search of to construct some late momentum in what’s been a stop-start season. The previous World No.1 has a 25-8 document in 2021, however accidents and sickness have necessitated 5 mid-tournament withdrawals.

“It is not that always that I get to play someone from my nation, besides Aryna [Sabalenka],” Azarenka mentioned after beating Petra Kvitova within the third spherical.

This might be a first-time assembly with Sasnovich. Azarenka’s tour-level document in opposition to her countrywomen is 5-4, with Sabalenka accounting for 3 of these losses.

Head-to-head: 0-0

[19] Jessica Pegula (USA) vs. [4] Elina Svitolina (UKR)

A breakthrough run is one factor; backing it up with consistency is sort of one other. Pegula has achieved each these jobs nicely in 2021. The American has used a maiden Grand Slam quarterfinal run on the Australian Open as a springboard to a 33-18 WTA main-draw document. This week marks the twelfth time she has received a number of matches in a event, and he or she might be bidding for her seventh quarterfinal spot of 2021.

Indian Wells can also be an occasion that holds significance in Pegula’s profession. It was right here in 2012 that she made her WTA main-draw debut. A wildcard into qualifying ranked No.305, she navigated by way of the preliminary competitors earlier than falling 5-7, 6-3, 6-3 to Magdalena Rybarikova within the first spherical.

Highlights: Svitolina d. Cirstea

The winner of this match will obtain a major enhance within the Porsche Race to the WTA Finals. Pegula is at the moment in 14th spot, whereas Svitolina is simply forward of her in twelfth place. The prospect of qualifying for the end-of-year showdown is one which has traditionally triggered a Svitolina surge. In 2018, she was the joint-last qualifier to be introduced – after which promptly received it. In 2019, she was the seventh participant confirmed for the eight-woman subject, then reached the ultimate.

Svitolina may also be boosted by recollections of a career-best semifinal run in Indian Wells in her final look in 2019.

Head-to-head: 1-1, each this 12 months. Svitolina defeated Pegula 6-4, 6-3 within the first spherical of Abu Dhabi, the primary event of 2021; a month later, Pegula took revenge 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 within the fourth spherical of the Australian Open.

Shelby Rogers (USA) vs. [23] Leylah Fernandez (CAN)

Like Emma Raducanu, all eyes have been on Fernandez to see whether or not she might again up a breakthrough. Fernandez, the US Open runner-up, is competing for the primary time since a fairytale run in New York 

At Indian Wells, she has picked up precisely the place she left off by profitable thrilling three-setters in opposition to higher-ranked opponents underneath night time lights. She wanted 2 hours and 41 minutes to get previous No.9 seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova within the third spherical.

Highlights: Fernandez d. Pavlyuchenkova

For Rogers, there might be a component of déjà vu to the match. It’s the second time inside a month she has reached the final 16 of a giant event on residence soil. On the US Open, she adopted up an upset of World No.1 Ashleigh Barty with a straight-sets loss to Raducanu. Right here, Rogers’ path was eased by the last-minute withdrawal of slated second-round opponent Belinda Bencic, who had been the No.8 seed. Confronted with New York’s different breakthrough teenager, can she reverse that end result?

Head-to-head: 1-0 to Rogers, who received 6-2, 7-5 within the second spherical of Lexington 2020. Neither participant was ranked contained in the High 100 on the time. Rogers would upset Serena Williams within the quarterfinals in her subsequent match.

Champion’s Reel: How Jelena Ostapenko received Eastbourne 2021

2021 Eastbourne

[24] Jelena Ostapenko (LAT) vs. [2] Iga Swiatek (POL)

This might be a conflict of two gamers who received their lone Grand Slam titles at Roland Garros, the place they each entered the event as unseeded youngsters ranked exterior the High 40.

Whereas Ostapenko has but to win a second main title, she will be able to definitely declare to be a trendsetter. In 2017, she turned the youngest Grand Slam champion in 11 years along with her phenomenal Parisian run. It was a harbinger of issues to come back.

In Ostapenko’s wake, fellow era 1997 standout Naomi Osaka adopted, profitable her first Slam (and simply second title) on the 2018 US Open. Since then, we have additionally seen Bianca Andreescu conquer the US Open in her debut, in 2019, whereas Swiatek demolished the 2020 Roland Garros subject. And, in fact, Raducanu, who at this 12 months’s US Open turned the primary qualifier to win a serious.

Highlights: Ostapenko d. Putintseva | Swiatek d. Kudermetova

Swiatek has settled easily into her place on the high of the sport. In her sophomore season, she has put collectively a 35-12 document, together with titles in Adelaide and Rome. She has been near-untouchable this week in her Indian Wells debut, conceding simply 5 video games mixed, in opposition to Petra Martic and Veronika Kudermetova.

Against this, the 4 years since Ostapenko’s shock title run have been extra unpredictable. But in latest months, there have been some indications she could possibly be creating some consistency. She received a title in Eastbourne and adopted it up with a run to the ultimate in Luxembourg. This week, she has dispatched two difficult opponents in Hsieh Su-Wei and Yulia Putintseva.

Head-to-head: 1-0 to Ostapenko, a 6-0, 6-2 rout within the first spherical of Birmingham 2019 on grass.

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