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Swiatek victorious in Indian Wells main draw debut; Halep makes winning return

The final time the BNP Paribas Open was performed, Iga Swiatek misplaced in qualifying. Greater than 30 months later, now the No. 2 seed and a Grand Slam champion, she cruised in her event main-draw debut: Swiatek wanted simply 71 minutes to defeat Petra Martic within the California desert, 6-1, 6-3, in Friday’s second spherical.

Although she was denied a first-set bagel as Martic saved three set factors to get on the board, Swiatek received 9 of the primary 10 video games in opposition to the World No.45 of their first-ever assembly.

From there, the second set proved extra complicated for the Polish No.1, the place Martic broke her twice after falling behind 6-1, 3-0, and later denied her a possibility to serve out victory. However with a forehand winner—her nineteenth general winner of the match—Swiatek broke Martic for the sixth time in eight return video games to maneuver safely by to the third spherical.

“In 2019, I wasn’t enjoying that assured, however I am actually blissful that occasions have modified now. There are lots of locations [I haven’t played] as a result of I could not end my season in 2019, and final 12 months, we solely had six tournaments, so it is fairly thrilling,” Swiatek mentioned on-court after the match.

“I feel I gave a number of energy to my photographs, and that was the important thing. She will play nice topspin, and as quickly as she’s going to get good tempo, she will be able to do this. This floor is gradual, so the topspin is leaping excessive. I simply wished to be aggressive from the start and never let her play her recreation.

“Within the second set, I misplaced focus for one recreation and she or he broke me fairly quick, so I knew I simply needed to maintain going and never cease for a second time.”

Swiatek advances to a gathering with No. 25 seed Veronika Kudermetova, who got here by an all-Russian affair in opposition to Liudmila Samsonova, 6-2, 6-3.

Former champion Simona Halep makes successful return

Whereas Swiatek was making her debut, No. 11 seed Halep kicked off her tenth look within the desert with a 7-6(2), 6-1 win over Ukrainian Marta Kostyuk. A decent opening set gave method to a straightforward end for Halep, who may await No. 17 seed and US Open champion Emma Raducanu in Spherical 3.

The match was already notable for Halep when it started, because it was her first since she introduced a break up together with her longtime coach Darren Cahill late final month. Down a break early within the first set at 3-1, Halep served to remain within the opener twice earlier than cruising within the ensuing tiebreak. 

After successful six of the primary seven factors within the breaker, and 5 straight from 1-1, Halep wrapped up the primary set in an hour. Later, she broke twice within the second set to safe victory in 93 minutes. 

“All the time after I come again right here, I really feel nice. It is very nice to be wholesome once more and to compete at this degree. Enjoying in October right here, it is so particular,” Halep mentioned after the match. 

“I missed lots enjoying tennis at this degree this 12 months as a result of I have been injured and plenty of months, I could not play matches. I got here right here just a little extra aggressive than regular and I am attempting to enhance my recreation and myself. My perspective was not nice however I will maintain working and it is only a pleasure to be again and to win a match at Indian Wells.”

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