Soon-to-be World No. 1 Angelique Kerber crashed out of Indian Wells on Tuesday falling to former Wimbledon semifinalist Elena Vesnina 6-3, 6-3.
Kerber, who’ll replace the injured current No. 1 Serena Williams in the top spot on Monday, is now just 9-6 on the season with only one semifinal, that coming in Dubai.
“It was actually not my day,” Kerber said. “I was doing a lot of mistakes. I was not moving good. But it happens. She played good tennis from the beginning until the end, and she was aggressive. She took the game in her hands.
“I’ll take the positive things from this tournament; I will sit down later with my team and my coach, and we will discuss about the positives and the plan going forward.”
Vesnina now meets Venus Williams Thursday in the quarterfinals. Venus had to come from a set down to beat qualifier Shuai Peng 3-6, 6-1, 6-3.
“There were some up-and-downs and errors. It was so frustrating,” Venus said. “But I feel like I got my focus more in that second set and towards the end of the third, because — I don’t know. I’m just a competitor.
“So if things get closer, then I think my better tennis is going to come. But obviously I don’t want things to get close. I want to try to run away with it.”
In the match of the day, Garbine Muguruza met the red-hot Elina Svitolina who came in on a 15-match win streak. But the Spaniard jumped early to 5-2 then held on taking the first set in a breaker. Svitolina found her form in the second with a 6-1 socreline but Muguruza pulled away in the third for a 7-6(5), 1-6, 6-0.
“I think it was a very difficult match today,” Muguruza said. “It was like a test, because she has been winning, like, 15 matches in a row, and she just getting to Top 10, as well.
“I was, like, okay, it’s going to be a tough match and she has a very difficult game, as well. I’m pretty happy about my match. It wasn’t easy at all.”
Muguruza now gets Karolina Pliskova who advanced after Timea Bacsinszky retired down 5-1 in the first set due to a left wrist injury. Pliskova has won five straight over Muguruza.
“I think it’s one of the toughest matches I can have now,” Muguruza said. “I think she’s playing very good. She has been very consistent, and I have been watching her.
“She has her game, which is very aggressive with good serve. So I’m just going to go out there and try to do my game, try to be concentrate. I know it’s a tough match.”
Also tomorrow, it’s an all-Russian quarterfinal as former finalist Svetlana Kuznetsova clashes with Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. Kuznetsova ousted Caroline Garcia while Pavlyuchenkova upset Dominika Cibulkova 6-4, 3-6, 6-2. Kuznetsova leads 5-3.
“Yeah, I know her pretty well, and I think these conditions suit her well,” said Pavlyuchenkova. “She’s playing kind of this mix up a little bit of Spanish tennis, which I think is pretty good on these courts.
“I kind of feel very good, as well. Yeah, let’s see.”
In the late match, Caroline Wozniacki eased past Madison Keys 6-4, 6-4. Wozniacki, the lone former champion to reach the fourth round, will face Kristina Mladenovic on Thursday.
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