Anett Kontaveit will face Ekaterina Alexandrova in the Kremlin Cup final after maintaining her magnificent form with a straight-sets defeat of Marketa Vondrousova.

Ninth seed Kontaveit ousted Vondrousova in Moscow on Saturday with a commanding 6-3 6-4 victory.

The Estonian had lost both of her previous two meetings with Vondrousova, but needed only an hour and 14 minutes to reach her fifth final this year.

Kontaveit struck 26 winners, with her backhand a potent weapon, and broke five times – three of those coming in the first set after she failed to hold in the first game of the match.

The 25-year-old Tallinn native has lost only two of her past 22 matches, while her winning run indoors now stands at nine.

Standing in the way of Kontaveit and a fourth title in 2021 is home hope Alexandrova, who advanced to her first WTA 500 final when Maria Sakkari retired due to dizziness.

Alexandrova was leading 4-1 in the opening set when the fourth seed from Greece decided she was unable to continue.

There will be an unseeded champion at the Tenerife Open after Colombian Camila Osorio beat Camila Giorgi 6-4 7-5.

Ann Li will play in her second title-decider of the year courtesy of an emphatic 6-2 6-1 triumph over Alize Cornet.

World number one Ash Barty will skip the WTA Finals to focus on her preparations for the Australian Open and the 2022 season.

Barty won five titles in 2021, including a victory at Wimbledon that marked the second grand slam title of her career.

She reached the semi-finals of her home major in 2019 and her determination to go one better in 2022 has led Barty to call an early end to her 2021 campaign.

"I wanted to let everyone know that I won't be competing in any further tournaments in 2021, including the WTA Finals in Mexico," said Barty.

"It was a difficult decision but I need to prioritise my body and my recovery from our 2021 season and focus on having the strongest preseason for the Australian summer.

"With the ongoing challenges of travelling back to Queensland and quarantine requirements, I am not willing to compromise my preparation for January.

"I wish the WTA team and the players all the best for a successful WTA Finals and rest of the year.

"My focus is now on the Australian summer and doing everything I can to win the Australian Open.

"I can't wait to play at home again."

Maria Sakkari admitted she got twitchy before finishing off Simona Halep to reach the Kremlin Cup semi-finals.

The Greek star is chasing what would be just her second career title at WTA level, but the limited silverware belies her growing reputation: Sakkari has shot up to a career-high seventh in the world rankings during her best season on tour.

Looking to finish with a flourish, both in Moscow and next month at the season-ending WTA Finals, Sakkari scored a 6-4 6-4 victory over former world number one Halep on Friday.

The victory sets up a last-four clash with Ekaterina Alexandrova, after the Russian impressed a home crowd by landing a 6-3 6-4 win against top seed Aryna Sabalenka.

Yet Sakkari was almost reeled in by Halep from the point of victory in the second set, being unable to finish off the match on her own serve after building a 5-1 lead. Halep twice broke back, before dropping her own serve.

"It was a very tough match today," Sakkari said in an on-court interview. "It was the first time I'd played Simona, but I knew what to expect: she makes a lot of balls, more than any other player. I had a tough moment in the second set when I was 5-1 up, but finally, I found a way. I got a little nervous, a little bit tired.

"The last couple of months have been tough, I've been travelling a lot so haven't recovered enough. I just tried harder in the last game and just went for it."

Alexandrova's shock win over Sabalenka gave her a sixth career victory over a top-10 player. Second seed Garbine Muguruza followed Sabalenka out of the tournament, walloped 6-1 6-1 by in-form Estonian Anett Kontaveit, who has won 19 of her last 21 matches on tour, including beating Sakkari in the Ostrava final last month.

Kontaveit's semi-final opponent at the WTA 500 event will be Marketa Vondrousova, who claimed a 6-4 6-2 win over Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.

At the Tenerife Open, Italian Camila Giorgi is the only seeded survivor in the semi-finals. The Italian fourth seed saw off Arantxa Rus 6-1 6-1, with Frenchwoman Alize Cornet and American Ann Li also among Friday's winners at the WTA 250 tournament.

Maria Sakkari secured her place at this year's WTA Finals by progressing to the last eight of the Kremlin Cup in Moscow.

The third seed was on court for just 34 minutes on Thursday as last-16 opponent Anna Kalinskaya was forced to retire through injury at 6-2 1-0 down.

Sakkari has enjoyed a successful year on the WTA circuit, reaching grand slam semi-finals for the first time in her career at the French Open and US Open.

Through to the quarter-finals in the Russian capital, where she will play Simona Halep, the 26-year-old becomes the first Greek woman to qualify for the year-end WTA Finals in Mexico.

Eighth seed Halep beat Veronika Kudermetova 6-1 7-6 (7-4), while world number 35 Marketa Vondrousova also prevailed in straight sets against Ukrainian Lesia Tsurenko.

Elsewhere, Ostrava Open champion Anett Kontaveit is through to her eighth quarter-final of 2021 after defeating Andrea Petkovic 6-1 6-4.

Meanwhile, at the Tenerife Open, fourth seed Camila Giorgi enjoyed a commanding 6-1 6-2 victory over Montenegro's Danka Kovinic.

However, there was no joy for seventh seed Clara Tauson as the Danish teenager went down 7-6 (7-4) 2-6 6-4 against China's Saisai Zheng.

Aryna Sabalenka edged past Ajla Tomljanovic in the Kremlin Cup to reach the quarter-finals in her first match since contracting COVID-19 after the US Open semi-finals. 

Top seed Sabalenka – appearing in Moscow for the first time – had not played since being downed by Leylah Fernandez, having tested positive for coronavirus on the eve of the Indian Wells Open. 

The Belarusian, who sits second in the world rankings, profited from a bye in the first round before battling past Tomljanovic 7-6 (7-2) 4-6 6-1 on Wednesday as she fired 10 aces but made 30 unforced errors. 

Sabalenka will now meet Ekaterina Alexandrova after the Russian cruised past Anhelina Kalinina 6-4 6-1, while Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova comfortably defeated Bernarda Pera 6-2 7-5. 

Number two seed Garbine Muguruza also reached her seventh quarter-final of the season as she defeated Tereza Martincova 6-4 4-6 6-3 in just under three hours in Moscow. 

Meanwhile, Elina Svitolina was shocked in the Tenerife Open as she was dumped out by Maria Camila Osorio Serrano, who succeeded 5-7 6-3 6-2 to claim her first top-10 victory. 

Svitolina was the favourite in Spain and comfortably took the first set on Tuesday. However, inadequate light stopped play and the 19-year-old Osorio responded emphatically the following day to secure a memorable triumph. 

Ann Li coasted past Varvara Gracheva 6-4 6-2 after Anna Karolina Schmiedlova had dispatched Jaqueline Cristian 6-2 7-5 in the opening match of the day. 

Xinyu Wang retired injured against Alize Cornet, who led 4-1 in the decisive set, while Donna Vekic and Irina-Camelia Begu's match was suspended for bad light with the Croatian leading by a set. 

Simona Halep reached the second round of the Kremlin Cup on Tuesday with a straight-sets win over home hope Anastasia Potapova.

The former world number one, competing at the Moscow event for the first time since 2013, won 6-1 6-4 to set up a meeting with Veronika Kudermetova, who survived a marathon contest with qualifier Oksana Selekhmeteva.

Anett Kontaveit, who won the title in Ostrava last month, prevailed 6-3 6-3 against Katerina Siniakova. Another seed, Wimbledon quarter-finalist Ons Jabeur, retired against Ekaterina Alexandrova when trailing 6-1 1-0.

Andrea Petkovic also progressed when Jelena Ostapenko had to halt proceedings in their third set, while seventh seed Elena Rybakina lost in straight sets to Olympic silver medallist Marketa Vondrousova.

At the Tenerife Open, Camila Giorgi progressed past Aliona Bolsova 7-6 (7-4) 3-6 6-4 despite giving up two penalty games due to repeated indiscretions when line calls were called into question.

Fifth seed Viktorija Golubic lost in straight sets to Arantxa Rus, while Alison Riske was dispatched 6-1 6-4 by Donna Vekic.

Seventh seed Clara Tauson defeated Heather Watson via a final-set tie-break, while Varvara Gracheva won in the same vein against third seed Sara Sorribes Tormo in a match lasting nearly three and a half hours.

Top seed Elina Svitolina was one set up against Maria Camila Osorio Serrano when their match was suspended for the night.

Daria Kasatkina suffered a first-round defeat against Anhelina Kalinina in the Kremlin Cup, while Jaqueline Cristian stunned Tamara Zidansek at the Tenerife Open.

World number 28 Kasatkina, who has won four WTA Tour titles, fell on home soil to Kalinina as the Ukrainian triumphed 6-2 6-3 on Monday.

Ajla Tomljanovic cruised past Liudmilla Samsonova in similar fashion, claiming a 6-2 6-4 victory in Moscow to set up a last-16 clash with top seed Aryna Sabalenka, who is ranked second in the world.

Anna Kalinskaya joins Tomljanovic in the next round as she defeated Dayana Yastremska 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 on home soil and the Russian will now face French and US Open semi-finalist Maria Sakkari.

Lesia Tsurenko had no issues against China's Qinwen Zheng as she won 6-4 6-3, while American Bernarda Pera beat Aleksandra Krunic 7-6 (7-3) 6-3 to seal her second-round berth.

Meanwhile, number two seed Zidansek, who sits 33rd in the world rankings, crashed out in Tenerife as world number 108 Jaqueline Cristian succeeded 7-5 4-6 6-1.

Zhang Shuai was the sixth favourite in Spain but she lost to fellow Chinese star Wang Xinyu 6-2 6-1, with Anna Karolina Schmiedlova also defeating Kaja Juvan 4-6 6-1 6-4 and Irina-Camelia Begu overcoming Marta Kostyuk 6-4 6-4.

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.

Angelique Kerber was knocked out in the Californian desert after a straight-sets quarter-final defeat to Paula Badosa at the WTA Indian Wells Open.

Badosa, who made this year's French Open quarter-finals, squandered two match points at 5-2 in the second set against three-time grand slam champion Kerber before steadying to secure her fifth final-four appearance of the season on Thursday.

In the semi-finals, Badosa will face Tunisian 12th seed Ons Jabeur, who got past Anna Kontaveit in straight sets, confirming her historic rise into the top 10 of the rankings, as the first-ever Arab player to achieve the singles feat on either the WTA or ATP Tour.

 

KERBER TOPPLED BY BADOSA

Former world number one and 10th seed Kerber bowed out at Indian Wells, with Badosa triumphing 6-4 7-5 in 86 minutes.

In her Indian Wells debut, 21st seed Badosa responded strongly after fluffing two match points to become the first Spanish woman to make the event's semi-finals in 18 years.

"It sounds amazing," Badosa said during her on-court interview. "The second set was very mental. I wanted this match so badly. I got super nervous.

"For one second I thought who was on the other side of the net and I got more nervous against a three-time grand slam champion. It means a lot to me. It's amazing."

In the first set, Badosa broke Kerber at 4-4 before serving out the opening set where she was excellent on her first serve, staving off the German's only two break points.

The Spaniard raced to a 5-2 lead in the second set and had two match points on Kerber's serve. The experienced Kerber responded by holding serve and then breaking back, before levelling at 5-5.

But Badosa showed her mettle by winning the final two games, breaking Kerber for victory as she upped her level.

 

JABEUR SEALS TOP-10 BERTH WITH TRIUMPH

Jabeur defeated Estonian 18th seed Kontaveit 7-5 6-3 to move into the top 10 for the first time in her career.

The Tunisian will become the first Arab player to make the top 10 when the updated WTA rankings are made official on Monday, but she also qualified for the biggest semi-final of her career to date.

"It feels amazing," Jabeur said. "We've been working hard since years. When I spoke at the end of last season, I said I wanted to be in the top 10. People doubted us as a team, we proved them wrong.

"Being a top 10 means a lot but we're not going to stop here. We're going to go further hopefully."

Jabeur, who made this year's Wimbledon quarter-finals, triumphed in 86 minutes, although she did not have it all her way, in a match full of momentum swings.

The 27-year-old Jabeur had been a double break up at 4-1 in the first set before Kontaveit hit back to level at 5-5, only for her to break back immediately and serve out the set.

Jabeur broke Kontaveit to love at 3-3, rattling off the final three games, including two breaks, to secure victory and keep alive her hopes of making the WTA Finals.

US Open champion Emma Raducanu has withdrawn from next week's Kremlin Cup.

Raducanu made history last month by becoming the first qualifier to win a major title with her triumph at Flushing Meadows, where she did not drop a single set all tournament.

However, the 18-year-old was beaten in her first match since that breakthrough success with a straight-sets loss to world number 100 Aliaksandra Sasnovich at the Indian Wells Open last week.

And Raducanu has now taken the decision to pull out of the Kremlin Cup in Moscow, which takes place next week.

In a statement released on Thursday, the Briton did not give a reason for her withdrawal but suggested she could return for the Transylvania Open later this month.

"Unfortunately I've had to make a tournament schedule change and won't be able to play Moscow this year, but I hope to compete there and in front of the Russian fans next year," said Raducanu, who is also due to compete at the Linz Open before the season is out.

"I look forward to returning to the tour in the next couple of weeks."

Speaking after her defeat to Sasnovich, Raducanu said she will need time to come to terms with her maiden grand slam triumph.

"I'm kind of glad that what happened today happened so I can learn and take it as a lesson. So going forward, I'll just have more experienced banked," she said.

"I think it’s going to take me time to adjust really to what's going on. I mean, I'm still so new to everything. I'm 18 years old. I need to cut myself some slack."

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."

Iga Swiatek was knocked out of the Indian Wells Open in the round of 16, the second seed headlining the list of casualties on Tuesday.

Swiatek was swept aside by Jelena Ostapenko in the battle between two previous French Open champions in the desert.

Elina Svitolina, reigning Roland Garros champion Barbora Krejcikova and US Open runner-up Leylah Fernandez were also sent packing from the WTA Premier 1000 event.

 

SWIATEK CRUMBLES

After top seed Karolina Pliskova was eliminated on Monday, 2020 French Open champion Swiatek crashed out following a 6-4 6-3 defeat to Ostapenko.

Ostapenko – the 2017 Roland Garros winner – rallied from a break down in each set to reach the quarter-finals at Indian Wells, where the 24th seed hit 25 winners to 21 unforced errors in 93 minutes.

"I knew it was going to be a very tough match because she's such a great player, she won a grand slam and she's playing great tennis," Ostapenko said.

Standing in the way of Ostapenko and the semi-finals is Shelby Rodgers, who edged Flushing Meadows finalist Fernandez 2-6 6-1 7-6 (7-4).

 

SVITOLINA UPSTAGED BY PEGULA

Svitolina's campaign in the desert did not go according to plan, the fourth seed crushed 6-1 6-1 by Jessica Pegula.

Pegula – the 2021 Australian Open quarter-finalist – dismantled Svitolina in just 68 minutes for her seventh last-eight appearance of the season and fourth at WTA 1000 level.

"I think I've just been making a lot of really good decisions in the right moments," said Pegula, who will face two-time grand slam champion Victoria Azarenka following her seventh top-10 victory. "That obviously comes with playing a lot of matches, winning and getting confidence... it's just been more belief that I can play at this level. I think this year, I realised that, and I've been having good results."

 

KERBER POWERS THROUGH AS KREJCIKOVA FALLS

Three-time major winner and 10th seed Kerber will feature in the quarter-finals after overpowering Ajla Tomljanovic 6-4 6-1.

Kerber will next meet 21st seed Paula Badosa, who shocked third seed and reigning French Open champion Krejcikova 6-1 7-5.

"I think I played a pretty good match today," Badosa said. "I knew I had to play on a high level against Barbora. She's an amazing player, very talented. We played before so I knew what I was going to find there on court. I'm feeling good and I'm very happy that I could play my best today."

Top seed Karolina Pliskova suffered a shock defeat while defending champion Bianca Andreescu and Coco Gauff also were on the wrong end of upsets Monday at the Indian Wells Open. 

World number 115 Beatriz Haddad Maia of Brazil stunned Pliskova in straight sets to reach the round of 16 at a WTA Premier 1000 event for the first time.

The 15th and 16th seeds, Gauff and Andreescu, also exited in two sets, albeit to seeded players. 

 

LUCKY LOSER OUSTS PLISKOVA 

Haddad Maia lost in the final round of qualifying but made the main draw as a lucky loser when Nadia Podoroska withdrew through injury, and she has made the most of that reprieve with a 6-3 7-5 defeat of the world number three. 

She had faced Pliskova once before and it did not go well, a 6-1 6-1 rout at the 2018 Australian Open, but the Czech struggled to find her trademark serve amid powerful winds in the California desert.

Pliskova suffered 12 double faults and won just 43.4 per cent of points on her serve, whole Haddad Maia saved nine of the 14 break points she faced on her own serve. 

 

KONTAVEIT STAYS HOT TO DETHRONE ANDREESCU

Haddad Maia next faces 18th seed Annett Kontaveit, who ousted Andreescu 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 to end the Canadian's dreams of a repeat. 

Kontaveit has won 15 of her last 16 matches, winning titles in Cleveland and Ostrava during that stretch. Monday, she captured the first set on her fifth set point before rallying from a 3-1 deficit in the second to run the table and seal the win.

"It was extremely close throughout the match and I was just trying to stay tough. I was ready for a tough match," Kontaveit said. "She's such a good player, such a great competitor, so I knew it wasn't going to be over until it was really over."

 

BADOSA BOUNCES GAUFF

Paula Badosa, the 21st seed, breezed past Gauff 6-2 6-2 as the American teen also had trouble with her serve, hitting just two aces after recording 12 in her previous match. 

In a meeting of the last two defeated finalists in the tournament, 10th seed Angelique Kerber beat 20th seed Daria Kasatkina 6-2 1-6 6-4. 

Third seed Barbora Krejcikova handled Amanda Anisimova with ease, 6-2 6-3. 

Ons Jabeur, the 12th seed, had little trouble in downing 22nd seed Danielle Collins 6-1 6-3. 

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. 

Page 1 of 31
© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.