World number one Iga Swiatek beat Victoria Azarenka 6-4 6-1 to progress to the quarter-finals of the Internazionali d'Italia in Rome on Thursday. 

Swiatek, who became the first female player to win 25 consecutive matches since Serena Williams in 2015, will face Bianca Andreescu in the last eight after she eased past Petra Martic 6-4 6-4.

"I didn't start well, and everybody could see that," Swiatek told reporters. "I'm really happy with the way I reacted and how I improved in the first set.

"Also how different the second set looked to the first one because I could really reset and really change the way I played. That's the most positive thing for me."

There was a shock in the final game of the day, though, as Daria Kasatkina dumped out number two seed Paula Badosa 6-4 6-4. 

Third seed Aryna Sabalenka sealed a third straight win over Jessica Pegula, easing to a 6-1 6-4 victory, while fourth seed Maria Sakkari defeated Coco Gauff 6-4 7-5.

Seventh seed Danielle Collins was knocked out by unseeded compatriot Amanda Anisimova, the 20-year-old cruising past the Australian Open finalist 6-2 6-2.

There were also victories for Jil Teichmann, who overcame Elena Rybakina 6-7 (3-7) 6-3 7-5, and ninth seed Ons Jabeur, who beat Yulia Putintseva 6-3 6-2.

Iga Swiatek and Paula Badosa progressed to the third round of the Internazionali d'Italia with ease as the former continued her impressive winning run on Wednesday.

Top seed Switaek, seeking a fifth consecutive title, breezed past Elena-Gabriela Ruse 6-3 6-0 as she became the first female player to win 24 consecutive matches since Serena Williams in 2015.

Badosa followed suit by dispatching Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-2 6-1 in just an hour and 17 minutes, teeing up a third-round clash with Daria Kasatkina, who beat Leylah Fernandez 4-6 6-3 7-6 (7-2).

Aryna Sabalenka, the third favourite in Italy, also made light work of Zhang Shuai to triumph 6-2 6-0, while fourth seed Maria Sakkari cruised past Madrid Open semi-finalist Ekaterina Alexandrova 6-3 6-2.

Sakkari will next face a Rome rematch with Coco Gauff, who defeated compatriot Madison Brengle 6-2 6-4. Teenager Gauff's sole win against Sakkari came at this tournament in the second round last year.

Yulia Putintseva came from behind to beat Garbine Muguruza 3-7 7-6 (7-4) 6-1, and will next meet Ons Jabeur, who made it eight successive main-draw wins by defeating Ajla Tomljanovic 7-5 6-2.

Seventh seed Danielle Collins also battled past former world number one Simona Halep 7-6 (7-1) 6-3.

There was no such joy for fifth seed Anett Kontaveit as she crashed out to Petra Martic in straight sets, while Jil Teichmann upset former Rome champion Karolina Pliskova in a three-set thriller.

Belinda Bencic, who was ranked as 12th seed, was another early casualty as she fell to a 7-6 (7-4) 6-1 defeat against American Amanda Anisimova.

Meanwhile, Jessica Pegula secured her third-round spot after Anhelina Kalinina withdrew due to injury, with Victoria Azarenka earning a straightforward 6-2 6-4 victory over Camila Osorio to get a shot at favourite Swiatek in the next round.

Former world number ones Simona Halep and Victoria Azarenka advanced to the second round of the Internazionali d'Italia on Monday, while Coco Gauff scored an impressive win over Angelique Kerber. 

Halep was a 6-4 6-4 winner against Alize Cornet, who defeated her in the fourth round of the Australian Open in January, and will face seventh seed Danielle Collins next. 

It was only the Romanian's second win in her six matches against Cornet, though she needed two chances to serve out both sets. 

Azarenka needed just 68 minutes to see of Viktorija Golubic, dropping just five points behind her first serve and winning 12 out of 14 from the final three games to complete a 6-3 6-0 triumph. 

It only took Gauff two minutes more to see off the challenge of Kerber, who has now won just two of her eight matches on the WTA Tour this year.

Leylah Fernandez came from behind to claim an impressive 1-6 6-2 6-2 victory over 16th seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, while Madison Keys went down 6-4 6-4 to Anhelina Kalinina. 

Aliaksandra Sasnovich's 3-6 7-6 (7-4) 6-1 win over Veronika Kudermetova secured her a second-round match against second seed Paula Badosa. 

Belinda Bencic overcame Elisabetta Cocciaretto 6-4 6-2, Shuai Zhang set up a match with Aryna Sabalenka by beating Martina Trevisan 6-4 6-2, and Petra Martic will face Anett Kontaveit after besting Karolina Muchova 6-2 3-6 6-1. 

There were also wins for Daria Kasatkina and Yulia Putintseva before rain interrupted Ajla Tomljanovic's match against Camila Giorgi when the Australian was 6-3 4-2 up.

Ons Jabuer avenged her recent loss to Belinda Bencic with a win at the Madrid Open, while Coco Gauff is out after being beaten in straight sets in the round of 16 by Simona Halep on Monday.

Gauff joins other big names in exiting the WTA 1000 event, with Naomi Osaka, Garbine Muguruza, Danielle Collins, Paula Badosa and Maria Sakkari among those crashing out in the second round.

The number 14 seed did not put up much resistance against her Romanian opponent, with Halep winning 6-4 6-4 in just 77 minutes.

Gauff struggled on her own serve in particular, making six double faults and only winning 61.5 per cent of her first-serve points, compared to 83.8 from Halep on hers.

The former world number one and two-time Madrid champion will now face the only remaining top-eight seed in the tournament in the quarter-final, Jabeur, who defeated Bencic 6-2 3-6 6-2.

The Tunisian was out for revenge after losing to Bencic at the same stage last year, as well as in the Charleston Open final last month, and took it well as she sealed victory in just over two hours.

"I came here to take my revenge," Jabeur said after the win. "I wish I played like that in the final in Charleston, to be honest.

"Part of me is very proud of myself for coming today and getting the win. Belinda is such an amazing player and it's very tough to play against her. I'm very happy with the level I showed today, and hopefully this level will continue for the rest of the tournament."

Elsewhere, Victoria Azarenka is out after the number 15 seed was beaten 6-1 6-4 by Amanda Anisimova, who will now face Ekaterina Alexandrova in the last eight after she overcame Marie Bouzkova 6-7 (4-7) 6-0 7-5.

Simona Halep blew Paula Badosa away with a Madrid Open masterclass to reach the round of 16 on Saturday.

Second seed Badosa had no answer to the brilliance of Halep in her homeland as the relentless Romanian won 6-3 6-1 at the Caja Magica.

Unseeded two-time grand slam champion Halep took just an hour and 17 minutes to eliminate Badosa, breaking three times in the first set and twice in the second.

Halep, in a new era with Patrick Mouratoglou in her corner, won 84 per cent of points when she landed her first serve in, staying in the hunt to win this tournament for a third time with the French Open on the horizon.

The former world number one will face Coco Gauff for a place in the quarter-finals following the American's 6-1 2-6 6-4 late-night defeat of Yulia Putintseva.

Gauff, the 14th seed, racked up 10 double faults and was pushed all the way by Putintseva, but served out the match after securing a third break in a tight final set.

Ons Jabeur earlier advanced into the third round at the expense of Varvara Gracheva, recovering from a second-set bagel to win 7-5 0-6 6-4.

Jabeur faces a meeting with Belinda Bencic after the Swiss dispatched Karolina Muchova 6-3 4-6 7-5.

Victoria Azarenka came from a set down to beat Tamara Zidansek 3-6 6-1 6-3 to set up a meeting with Amanda Anisimova, who also had to come from behind to dispatch Petra Martic 3-6 6-3 6-2.

Ekaterina Alexandrova and Marie Bouzkova also progressed in the Spanish capital.

 

 

Victoria Azarenka says she regrets beginning her Miami Open match against Linda Fruhvirtova after retiring during the second set of the third-round encounter.

The former world number one blamed an "extremely stressful" time in her personal life for the withdrawal, calling her decision to play a "mistake" and pledging to learn from the incident.

Azarenka was trailing 6-2 3-0 against 16-year-old Czech Fruhvirtova when she abruptly ended the match, having earlier shouted "why am I here?" at her coaching team.

The two-time Australian Open champion also broke down in tears after her third-round defeat to Elena Rybakina at Indian Wells earlier this month, deleting her social media accounts in the aftermath.

Via a statement released after her retirement from the tournament, the Belarusian said she should not have gone onto the court to face Fruhvirtova, blaming an "extremely stressful" time in her personal life for the incident.

"I shouldn't have gone on the court today," the 32-year-old said.

"The last few weeks have been extremely stressful in my personal life. 

"[My] last match took so much out of me, but I wanted to play in front of a great audience as they helped me pull through my first match.

"I wanted to go out there and try but it was a mistake. I always look forward to the challenge and pressure of competition but today it was too much. 

"I have to and will learn from this."

As a Belarusian, Azarenka has had to compete as a neutral player since her country's regime helped enable the Russian invasion of Ukraine, with the participation of sportspeople from the two countries being a subject of intense discussion.

Former French Open champion Iga Swiatek has risen to world number one in the wake of Ashleigh Barty's retirement with a 6-2 6-0 win over Viktorija Golubic at the WTA Miami Open on Friday, sealing her ascent.

Swiatek, who won recent WTA 1000 events this year at Indian Wells and Doha, cruised to victory in one hour and 14 minutes over the Swiss.

The 20-year-old Pole, who won the French Open in 2020 and reached this year's Australian Open semi-finals, will officially become the top-ranked player when the rankings are updated on Monday April 4.

Barty's name will be removed from the rankings at her request having announced her shock retirement earlier this week at the age of 25, despite winning this year's Australian Open and last year's Wimbledon titles.

Swiatek is the 28th woman to reach the summit in the WTA rankings, becoming the youngest player at the top since Caroline Wozniacki in 2010. She will become Poland's first-ever number one in tennis history.

The Pole extended her winning streak to 12 matches against Golubic, taking her to a tour-high 21 wins this year, in a match where she saved eight of nine break points and took six of the nine she generated.

Swiatek's main immediate competition for the top rank was fifth seed Paula Badosa who got past Marie Bouzkova 7-5 7-5 in two hours and three minutes.

Badosa, who got the edge by grinding out games under pressure, will face Yulia Putintseva in the third round after she won 6-3 4-6 7-5 over Lesia Tsurenko.

Fourth seed Maria Sakkari was bundled out of contention following a shock 4-6 6-1 6-2 loss to Brazilian Beatriz Haddad Maia.

Two-time major winner Petra Kvitova needed three sets to get past Clara Burel, winning 6-1 3-6 6-3 in one hour and 45 minutes.

Jessica Pegula beat Sloane Stephens 6-1 6-4, Cori Gauff got past Qiang Wang 7-5 6-4 and 20th seed Elise Mertens went down 7-5 2-6 6-1 to Linda Fruhvirtova.

Naomi Osaka was brought to tears by a heckling spectator during her Indian Wells Open match with Veronika Kudermetova before going on to lose 6-0 6-4.

The incident happened after Osaka had been broken by Kudermetova in the first game, with someone in attendance reported to have yelled "Naomi, you suck".

Four-time grand slam winner Osaka, competing in her first tournament since January's shock early Australian Open exit, appeared to ask the chair umpire to take action.

Osaka initially put that unneeded distraction behind her by taking the next point, but she wasted two break opportunities and Kudermetova successfully held to move 2-0 ahead.

The 24-year-old was in tears as she prepared to serve her next game and held further discussions with the court supervisor after going 3-0 down.

She could not recover and, after losing the first set 6-0, Osaka suffered the only break of serve in the seventh game of the second set to lose the contest fairly resoundingly. 

Kudermetova will now face Marie Bouzkova for a place in the last 16 after the Czech recovered to see off home hopeful Jessica Pegula 5-7 6-2 6-0.

Two-time champion Victoria Azarenka also made it through on Saturday with a 6-3 7-5 victory over lucky loser Astra Sharma, setting up a meeting with Elena Rybakina.

Leyla Fernandez saved four match points against Amanda Anisimova in a dramatic match that came to an end when the American retired through illness.

After losing the opener 6-2, Fernandez took the second set to a tie-break but felt unable to continue. Anisimova will meet Shelby Rogers in a rematch of last year's last-16 encounter.

Defending champion Petra Kvitova and former world number one Victoria Azarenka were both forced to withdraw from the WTA Qatar Ladies Open through injury on a day where the top seeds all cruised through in Doha.

Kvitova – who won the 2018 and 2021 editions of the tournament, beating Garbine Muguruza in the final on both occasions – was left unable to continue during her clash with Elise Mertens, later tweeting that an injury to her left wrist had flared up during the second set.

Her conqueror Mertens will face fourth seed and WTA St Petersburg champion Anett Kontaveit in the round of 16 after the Estonian's win over Ana Konjuh on Monday.

Meanwhile, Azarenka joined Kvitova in announcing her withdrawal through injury, suffering pain in her left hip ahead of her scheduled clash with American Madison Brengle.

The tournament's top seeds had more luck on a day of few surprises. World number two Aryna Sabalenka breezed to a 6-2 6-2 victory over France's Alize Cornet, with the Belarusian the favourite for the first WTA 1000 event of the year as world number one Ashleigh Barty is missing through injury.

Elsewhere, world number three Barbora Krejcikova made light work of Poland's Magda Linette, winning 6-1 6-3, and will face former French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko in the round of 16, having eliminated the Latvian from last month's Australian Open.

Paula Badosa also recorded a straight-sets victory, seeing off Clara Tauson 6-1 6-2 to reach the last 16, where she will face 17-year-old American Cori Gauff, who defeated France's Caroline Garcia 6-2 7-6 (7-3).

There were also three-set wins for top-10 players Iga Swiatek and Ons Jabeur, with Swiatek beating Viktorija Golubic 6-2 3-6 6-2, and Jabeur overcoming Aliaksandra Sasnovich 1-6 7-5 6-3.

In the final match of the day, world number six Maria Sakkari downed American Ann Li 6-3 6-3.

Belinda Bencic made a painfully sharp exit from the Qatar Open as she was beaten 6-4 3-6 6-3 by rising star Clara Tauson.

The Olympic champion was the highest-profile casualty on day one, losing to a player making her main-draw debut in a WTA 1000 event.

Only the second Danish player to appear in Doha, after former world number one Caroline Wozniacki, the 19-year-old Tauson came from 4-2 down to take the opening set, before Bencic levelled up.

But Tauson was not to be denied. The world number 33 gained a crucial break in game four of the decider, before winning 12 of the last 13 points on her serve to set up a second-round clash with third seed Paula Badosa.

"It was a very tough match," said Tauson, who hit seven aces. "I know Belinda is playing very well, so I had to play my best today, and I did sometimes. 

"I have my confidence, but every match is really tough at this level, so I'm doing my best."

Two-time champion Victoria Azarenka survived a scare to scrape past Kazakhstan's Yulia Putintseva 5-7 6-2 7-5.

The 12th seed, who is aiming to become the first player to lift this trophy three times, recovered from two breaks down in the decide before rescuing match point at 5-4 down and eventually scrambling over the line.

Amanda Anisimova, who defeated Bencic and Naomi Osaka at the Australian Open, built on her early-season momentum by seeing off Beatriz Haddad Maia 7-5 6-4.

Ninth seed Jessie Pegula – a quarter-finalist in the season's opening grand slam – beat doubles world number one Katerina Siniakova in straight sets, while former Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin lost in three sets to fellow American Ann Li.

Ash Barty set a new personal best for aces in a match as she rifled 17 past Sofia Kenin on the way through to the Adelaide International 1 semi-finals.

Reigning Wimbledon champion Barty won 31 of 32 points on first serve in a ruthless 6-3 6-4 victory over the 2020 Australian Open winner.

It sets up a tantalising last-four clash with Poland's defending champion Iga Swiatek, who is a frequent practice partner for Australian home favourite Barty.

Explaining her stunning serving performance, Barty said: "I think towards the end Sofia was kind of leaning one way or the other, and I was able to kind of get up and hit my spots."

Facing former French Open winner Swiatek will be a major early-season test for the world number one, with the Warsaw-born 20-year-old fending off former grand slam winner Victoria Azarenka 6-3 2-6 6-1 in Friday's quarter-final.

The other semi-final in Adelaide will see Misaki Doi take on Elena Rybakina after both won in three sets to get there, seeing off Kaja Juvan and Shelby Rogers respectively.

Melbourne Park is staging two tournaments this week, and there is the prospect of a starry final in Melbourne Summer Set 1, with Naomi Osaka and Simona Halep both through to the last four.

Top seed Osaka beat experienced German Andrea Petkovic 6-1 7-5, while second seed Halep had to scrap for a 6-2 5-7 6-4 win against Viktorija Golubic of Switzerland.

Osaka took inspiration from Petkovic's fight in the second set of their contest. Quoted on the tournament website, she said: "It was really cool how she didn't give up for any point, so I just felt like I should do the same thing and see what happens."

Halep said her encounter with Golubic had been "really difficult", adding: "I didn't really trust that I can win this match, but I fought to the end, and I'm very proud of this."

Saturday's semi-finals of Melbourne Summer Set 2 will seed Daria Kasatkina take on Amanda Anisimova, while Ann Li plays Aliaksandra Sasnovich.

Paula Badosa denied Victoria Azarenka a slice of WTA Indian Wells Open history as the former world number one failed to become the first three-time winner of the singles event after defeat in Sunday's gruelling final.

Azarenka, also a winner in 2012 and 2016, had to come back from a set and a break down in the semi-final, and for a while looked like good preparation for the battle that Badosa provided.

But in the end Badosa prevailed 7-6 (7-5) 2-6 7-6 (7-2) after three hours, four minutes on court, securing only her second title in what was just her second final of the season while becoming the first Spanish woman to claim the title in Indian Wells.

A highly competitive start saw a combined total of nine break points go to waste in the first four games alone, and when Azarenka did finally lose a service game to go 4-3 down, she emphatically hit back at the first time of asking.

She had no option but to repeat that feat soon after when Badosa broke again to take a 6-5 lead, and she duly obliged to set up a tie-break.

But Badosa got the better of two-time grand slam champion Azarenka in the tie-break, despite the latter overturning a four-point deficit to go level at 5-5.

Azarenka appeared re-energised at the start of the second set, though, charging into a 3-0 lead inside 11 minutes, her level of intensity suddenly leagues ahead of her opponent's.

Badosa only showed brief glimpses of her ability and Azarenka had few issues levelling the match, her class on full display in the fifth game as she read a wide drop shot and replied with a sensational cross-court effort.

After such a colossal fight to get back on level terms it was perhaps to be expected that Azarenka would drop off a little early on in the decider, but a bad miss from Badosa allowed the Belarussian to recover from a break and she consolidated to tie the set at 2-2.

The pair continued to slog it out thereafter with neither woman giving an inch, Badosa's often-brutal power countered nicely by Azarenka's athleticism.

But Badosa was her own worst enemy as she overhit two shots to allow Azarenka to get what looked likely to be the decisive break, but the 32-year-old failed to serve out the match and, perhaps predictably, a tie-break ultimately beckoned.

Badosa's energy reserves suddenly looked far deeper than her opponent's as she moved her around the court with almost surgical precision, her eventual 7-2 win in the tie-break speaking to the ferocity she displayed to win the comfortably biggest title of her career to date.

Victoria Azarenka is one win away from becoming the first three-time winner of the WTA Indian Wells Open after rallying past Jelena Ostapenko in the semi-finals.

After dropping the opening set, two-time Indian Wells champion Azarenka stormed back to outlast the 2017 French Open winner on Friday.

Standing in the way of Azarenka and history is Paula Badosa, who eased past Ons Jabeur in the second semi-final in the Californian desert.

 

AZARENKA RETURNS TO INDIAN WELLS FINAL

Winner of the Indian Wells Open in 2012 and 2016, Azarenka is back in the decider thanks to a stirring 3-6 6-3 7-5 comeback against fellow seed Ostapenko.

Former world number one Azarenka was down a set and a break before the 27th seed fought back to prevail over Ostapenko in two hours, 20 minutes.

By seeing off 24th seed Ostapenko, two-time grand slam champion Azarenka celebrated her 33rd match win at Indian Wells – only two women have won more matches at the tournament, Lindsay Davenport (47) and Maria Sharapova (38).

"I think my season has been tricky," Azarenka said. "There were parts where I physically couldn't necessarily bring that extra level, extra fight, which was very frustrating. Then there were parts where I felt that I was looking for something to add, and I didn't necessarily know what it was. It was a lot of searching in the season, a lot of kind of stepping into unknown.

"I feel like right now I'm a bit more settled with a bit more structure, a little bit more discipline, which makes it not necessarily easier but a bit clearer what I need to do. So it doesn't take extra energy on that, so I can kind of focus my energy more on the fighting for every ball."

 

BADOSA UPSTAGES JABEUR

Spaniard Badosa added another scalp to her name by trumping 12th seed Jabeur 6-3 6-3.

Looking to become the first Spanish woman to win the Indian Wells Open, 21st seed Badosa made light work of Jabeur.

Badosa's success means she has beaten four top-20 opponents en route to the final, having stunned Angelique Kerber in the quarter-finals.

Having won her first title earlier this year in Belgrade, Badosa will feature in her second career WTA decider.

Victoria Azarenka booked her spot in the Indian Wells Open semi-finals after a straight-sets victory over Jessica Pegula.

Azarenka – a two-time Indian Wells champion in 2012 and 2016 – accounted for Pegula at the WTA Premier 1000 event in the desert on Wednesday.

The former world number one will play 2017 French Open winner Jelena Ostapenko in the semi-finals after she got past American Shelby Rogers.

 

AZARENKA FLEXES TO BOOK SEMI-FINAL SPOT

Two-time Australian Open champion Azarenka won 6-4 6-2 over Pegula, who had beaten fourth seed Elina Svitolina in the fourth round.

Pegula hit 27 winners compared to Azarenka's 21 but the American had 30 unforced errors, with her 27th-seeded opponent also winning 81 per cent of first-service points to claim the edge.

"I started going for my shots from the beginning. I knew I have to apply pressure on her," Azarenka told her post-match news conference.

"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."

She added: "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."

 

OSTAPENKO FINISHES STRONG OVER ROGERS

Ostapenko earned her final-four spot with a see-sawing 6-4 4-6 6-3 win in two hours, 15 minutes over Rogers.

In a match that included 15 breaks of serve, Ostapenko won the final five games as she rallied to secure victory and her third semi-final of the year.

"I'm really happy to be in the semi-final. It's been a tough year for me, I've been up and down," Ostapenko – the 24th seed – said during her on-court interview. "I feel like my tennis is getting better and more consistent. Today I was trailing 3-1 in the third set and I was fighting to the last point."

Former world number five Ostapenko trailed 3-1 in the final set before finishing strong to set up a showdown with Azarenka. 

"She's a great player, great champion, such a fighter," Ostapenko said about Azarenka. "Hopefully I can just enjoy it."

Elina Svitolina required a third-set tie-break to progress at the Indian Wells Open, while former world number one Victoria Azarenka handled an old rival in straight sets and Simona Halep fell victim to an upset. 

Svitolina – the fourth seed – dropped the first set to 32nd seed Sorana Cirstea before fighting back to reach the round of 16 at the WTA Premier 1000 event on Sunday.

Two-time grand-slam champion Azarenka joined Svitolina in the next round after knocking out seventh seed Petra Kvitova, but 11th seed Halep became Aliaksandra Sasnovich's latest conquest. 

 

SVITOLINA SURVIVES CIRSTEA SCARE

Svitolina needed two hours, 32 minutes to outlast Cirstea 4-6 6-4 7-6 (7-3) and remain unbeaten in three career matches against the Romanian. 

The Ukrainian was on the defensive throughout the opening set, facing 11 break points on her serve and managing to save eight of them before Cirstea finally won out. 

Svitolina tightened things up from there, saving four of five break points the rest of the match. 

"It was a very tough match today, and I was fighting and trying to find my game," said Svitolina, who will face Jessica Pegula next. "It was a bit of a rollercoaster.

"I wish I could play a little bit better in the first set, I had chances to grab that set, but unfortunately it didn't play the way I wanted. I had to fight for every point, and Sorana played a great match, I think. I'm happy that I could win today."

 

AZARENKA TAKES DOWN KVITOVA

Azarenka won her first two Tour-level matches against Kvitova in 2008 and 2009 but had prevailed only once in six meetings since then before Sunday's 7-5 6-4 triumph. 

The two-time Indian Wells champion converted break-point chances when she needed them, six of 11 in all, and had 18 unforced errors to Kvitova's 26. 

"It was important to just stay there, really take my opportunities, not to let her," Azarenka said after taking down two-time Wimbledon winner Kvitova. "If she gets in the groove in couple points, not to kind of let her extend that streak, if you want to call it that.

"I was trying to still create opportunities for myself, be more aggressive, and honestly just believing also that what I'm doing is right and see how I can execute that. So intention was good. Execution followed after."

 

ANOTHER UPSET FOR SASNOVICH

After knocking off US Open champion Emma Raducanu in the second round, Sasnovich ushered out another grand slam winner in Halep 7-5 6-4 and will next face Azarenka.

The world number 100 had 22 winners to 16 for Halep and won 61.8 per cent of points on her serve as she reached the round of 16 at Indian Wells for the first time. 

In other matches Sunday, ninth seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova fell to 23rd seed and US Open runner-up Leylah Fernandez 5-7 6-3 6-4, while second seed Iga Swiatek dropped only one game in a 6-1 6-0 demolition of Veronika Kudermetova. 

Jelena Ostapenko and Shelby Rogers also advanced. 

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