The first semifinal at Indian Wells is set and it will be former champion Victoria Azarenka taking on 2017 French Open winner Jelena Ostapenko.
Azarenka, who won Indian Wells in 2012 and 2016, overwhelmed Jessica Pegula 6-4, 6-2. Pegula had just whipped Elina Svitolina and beat Azarenka at the Australian, but the 32-year-old Azarenka had all the answers.
“I thought it was a really good match,” Azarenka said. “Very high quality from both players. Very consistent in terms of level for me. I felt that I really played well in the crucial moments. I felt like I stepped up a lot to the occasion. That’s what I’m really happy with today.
“I started going for my shots from the beginning. I knew I have to apply pressure on her, and I will have the moment where I will have opportunity. I think in the beginning of the match we had a lot of great rallies, a lot of points where I was like, ‘Oh, maybe I got this one,’ and she got me. I felt that I really just stuck to being aggressive and being consistent. I got my opportunities.”
Later, Jelena Ostapenko came from a break down and points to drop another break in the third to deny Shelby Rogers 6-4, 4-6, 6-3, taking the last five games.
“I think from 1-3 down, Love-40, I played like a top player,” Ostapenko said. “Before I was rushing too much, making some unforced errors not in the right moments.”
The Latvian cracked 51 winners to reach her biggest semifinal since 2018 Wimbledon.
“It’s really great because especially after I couldn’t play US Open, I was really sad about it because I was in such a great form before,” Ostapenko added. “I think it’s another great opportunity because it’s a big tournament. I just enjoy it. It’s the last couple of tournaments this season. I’m just going to try to enjoy it as much as possible.
“I honestly feel like I can continue the season much longer, but there are not many tournaments left. Most of the players are very tired, but I don’t feel like that. I’m kind of feeling very fresh.”
Azarenka beat Ostapenko in their only meeting at the 2019 French Open.
“She’s a great player,” Ostapenko said of the Belarussian. “She’s such a champion, a great fighter I think. Both of us are great fighters. It’s going to be an interesting match.
“I’m more focused on my game. Of course, she’s very consistent. It’s going to be hard. But if I play my game and choose the right shots, I will be consistent, I think it will be a very interesting match.”
Today in the last two quarterfinals, the red-hot Anett Kontaveit collides with Ons Jabeur and Angelique Kerber battles Paula Badosa.
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