Sabalenka, Gauff Easy Winners At Indian Wells; Swiatek, Jabeur Debut Today

by Staff | March 11th, 2023, 10:39 am
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It was a good day for top seeds Friday in the desert at Indian Wells.

No. 2 seed Aryna Sabalenka rolled into the third round crushing Evgeniya Rodina 6-2, 6-0. Rodina is now 0-11 against Top 10 players.

“It was tricky game, I would say,” the Australian Open champion said. “I didn’t expect her play that slow. I was struggling a little bit with adjusting for the balls, because it was super slow.

“Super happy with this win. Happy to win this match in two sets without struggling too much.”

In the late night, American No. 1 Jessica Pegula came from a set down to defeat the pesky Camila Giorgi 3-6, 6-1, 6-2. The 29-year-old Pegula won 12 of the last 15 games to go 5-1 against the Italian.

Pegula’s countrywoman Coco Gauff eased past Spain’s Cristina Bucsa 6-2, 6-4.

“It was a good match for me, especially with the conditions a lot slower at nighttime,” Gauff told the WTA. “She’s not an easy player. She can play tricky. I watched a lot of her film the night before, and she’s a great player and she comes out with some unexpected shots. I think she’ll continue to improve over the future.”

Seventh-seeded Maria Sakkari, a former finalist, also rallied defeating the upset-minded American Shelby Rogers 2-6, 6-4, 6-0. Sakkari followed a loss by Stefanos Tsitsipas, then saw herself down a set and a break and in trouble. Then escaped a 4-all, love-40 on her serve.

“Funny enough there are moments in the match where you’re Love-40 down but you still feel like I’m going to get this back. It was one of those games that I felt like — because I could see that my serve was starting to be good again, just, you know, hitting my spots,” Sakkari said.

The Czech contingent of Petra Kvitova, Barbora Krejcikova, Karolina Pliskova and teen Linda Noskova who beat Amanda Anisimova also advanced.

Ahead Saturday, key matches include No. 1 Iga Swiatek who opens her title defense vs Claire Liu in a first-time tour-level contest. No. 4 Ons Jabeur is back to face Magdalena Frech.

No. 5 Caroline Garcia meets Dalma Galfi, former finalist Daria Kasatkina takes on Tatjana Maria, No. 10 Elena Rybakina faces Sofia Kenin and two-time champion Victoria Azarenka collides with Karolina Muchova.

Madison Keys, Emma Raducanu and former champion Bianca Andreescu are also on court.

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