Former champion Simona Halep succumbed to the upset-minded Aliaksandra Sasnovich who eliminated the Romanian 7-5, 6-4 to reach the fourth round at Indian Wells.
“The match was very tough,” Sasnovich said after. “Simona is a big fighter. She has I think one of the strongest character on tour. She’s a champion of a few Grand Slams.”
The 27-year-old Belarussian picked up her second straight win over a Grand Slam winner after a second round upset over Emma Raducanu. And she’ll have another ahead in countrywoman Victoria Azarenka in a first-time meeting.
Azarenka ousted fellow-multi Slam winner Petra Kvitova 7-5, 6-4. Azarenka took a break-filled opener in about an hour.
“I think it was a good match,” Azarenka said. “It was very close, which I knew it was going to be, going to be kind of hard to catch rhythm. It was a lot of firsts, whoever gets the opportunity to kind of move the ball first, be aggressive. I wasn’t expecting too many big rallies.
Kvitova, who needed treatment on her thigh during the loss, has decided to end her 2021 season.
“It was really exhausting year,” said Kvitova. “Since COVID started, it’s pretty exhausting I think for everybody. My body is just not really handling perfectly. That’s why I’m ending right now, to take some extra weeks to recover my body, to heal everything what is there.
“Overall the season, well, I definitely had better seasons than this one. I had a title, which is always the highlight of the season. I played some incredible matches, I would say. I still have the fire inside me, which is very important for me as well, even in this age. I mean, without the fire I think I couldn’t play anymore, but it’s there so that’s nice.”
Elina Svitolina toughed out a final set breaker to break Sorana Cirstea. She’ll now face American Jessica Pegula.
US Open finalist Leylah Fernandez scored yet another big win over a Top 20 player edging French runner-up Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 5-7, 6-3, 6-4. As she did at the US Open, the teen rose up when she was down overcoming a set and 2-0 deficit to deny the Russian.
The 19-year-old Fernandez will now meet Shelby Rogers who has lost just eight games in her last five sets.
Iga Swiatek and Jelena Ostapenko set a meeting between former French winners.
Today, Coco Gauff continues her first Indian Wells against the sturdy Paula Badosa. Bianca Andreescu resumes her title defense against the hot-handed Anett Kontaveit and top seed Karolina Pliskova is in action.
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