The defense of the Badosa Tennis title meets Fernández’s challenge; Azarenka, departure from Kvitova

ARCHIVE PHOTO: March 12, 2022; Indian Wells, CA, USA; Paula Badosa (ESP) hits a shot in her 2nd round match against Tereza Martincova (CZE) in the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

March 15, 2022

(Reuters) – Current champion Paula Badosa beat Spanish friend and compatriot Sara Sorribes Tormo 7-6 (4) 6-1 in Indian Wells on Monday to host a delightful fourth-round clash against US Open finalist Leylah Fernandez.

After beating Sorribes Tormo in the tiebreaker for a first set of 82 minutes, Badosa galloped in the second to stay on track and become the first woman to defend the Indian Wells title since Martina Navratilova won in 1990 and 1991.

Next up for Badosa, world number seven, will be 19-year-old Canadian Fernandez, who arrived in the California desert after defending her WTA title in Monterrey, Mexico.

Fernandez, who fell to Emma Raducanu in last year’s final at Flushing Meadows, defeated American Shelby Rogers 6-1 3-6 6-3 to close out Monday night’s action at the WTA 1000 event in Indian Wells.

“It will be very difficult. She is the defending champion. She has a lot of good games under her belt. I am very excited to play against her,” Fernandez told reporters.

“I’ll just try to focus on my game and see what my dad (coach) has in store for me to run.”

Earlier in the day, former champions Victoria Azarenka and Petra Kvitova were knocked out in the third round.

Greek Maria Sakkari, who reached the semifinals at Roland Garros and the US Open last year, threw five aces in a strong show of service to do a light job of Czech Kvitova 6-3 6-0.

The world number six won all of his first serve points in the first set and only lost one in the second, while Kvitova struggled with her serve, producing five double fouls during the 66-minute affair in California.

Kvitova, a two-time Wimbledon winner, gave up the break point in the eighth game of the first set and never regained composure, as Sakkari refused two breaks to close the frame and ran away with the game in the second set.

It was the second time Sakkari had reached the round of 16 in the unofficial “fifth major” of tennis, after reaching the fourth round in 2018.

The two-time winner and 13ª seed, Azarenka, fell to Kazakhstan Elena Rybakina 6-3, 6-4 after a malfunction in the service saw her commit eight double fouls.

A fit Rybakina produced an impeccable first set, throwing four aces without losing a single first serve point to claim the initial boost.

With her right shoulder firmly attached and a sleeve placed on her right arm, Azarenka, two-time Australian Open champion, grimaced, crouched on the court and cried after a double foul in the fifth game of the second set.

That prompted the chair referee to approach Azarenka to ask if she needed medical attention.

Azarenka, who lost in the final last year to Badosa, apologized and continued but Rybakina turned the critical breaking point into the seventh game of the second set.

Elsewhere on the women’s side, Czech Marketa Vondrousova knocked out fourth-seed Estonian Anett Kontaveit by 3-7 7-5 7-6 (5).

(Report by Amy Tennery and Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; Edited by Christian Radnedge, Kenneth Maxwell and Simon Cameron-Moore)

The defense of the Badosa Tennis title meets Fernández’s challenge; Azarenka, departure from Kvitova

Source link The defense of the Badosa Tennis title meets Fernández’s challenge; Azarenka, departure from Kvitova

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