The upsets keep on coming at Indian Wells where Jelena Ostapenko took out the favourite for the BNP Paribas Open title, Iga Swiatek on Tuesday, while Paula Badosa upset Barbora Krejcikova, the No 3 seed, and Jessica Pegula cruised past 4th-seeded Elina Svitolina.
It was a tough match actually. I played well in the first set. She came back. It was really a close first set at the end. The second set was as well really tough. I mean, even the score was a little bit not like really close, but every single game was a tough battle. I was just trying to be aggressive, take my chances. I'm happy to be through and be in the next round here. Angelique Kerber
Shelby Rogers also pulled off an upset of Leylah Fernandez, the No 23 seed, while Angelique Kerber, Ons Jabeur, Anett Kontaveit and Victoria Azarenka all maintained form to also reach the quarter-finals.
Less than 24 hours after top seed Karolina Pliskova was defeated by Brazilian lucky loser Beatriz Haddad Maia, Ostapenko knocked out Swiatek, 6-4 6-3, coming from a break down in each set.
“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,” said Ostapenko, the 24th seed, on-court after the match. “I really came with a strong mentality to this match.
“I knew I had to fight for every point, be aggressive and I think I did that pretty well today.”
In calmer conditions than the previous day, Ostapenko’s aggression paid off as she struck 25 winners to 21 unforced errors in the 93 minute encounter, breaking Swiatek 4 times and serving up just one double-fault.
“I think I played very well,” she told reporters later. “I didn’t give her any chances to play, because, I think, I was playing very aggressive and took the time away from her so she couldn’t do much against me.
“That was just the plan for the game, just to play my game and be aggressive, and I think I did it pretty well today.”
The Latvian trailed 4-3 in the first set and 3-1 in the second, but ended each on a string of consecutive games to book her place in her 4th quarter-final of the year.
“I just knew that I have a good return and was playing well in deciding moments,” Ostapenko added. “I just tried to serve better because it was a little bit windy and cooler today, so different conditions to my last match [on Sunday], and I needed some time to adjust.”
Ostapenko’s next challenge is Rogers, who edged out US Open finalist Fernandez, 2-6 6-1 7-6(4).
The American pulled off a remarkable come-back win after being overwhelmed in the opening set by the Canadian 19-year old.
Rogers, ranked 44, turned things around in the second and edged the tight decider in the breaker.
“I thought it was an incredible battle today,” Rogers said in her post-match press conference. “I thought we both played really well at times, and it was a sort of tug-of-war kind of match, one that’s really fun to play actually.
“It’s a special sort of challenge. The crowd was into it on both sides. They wanted good tennis. They wanted more tennis.
“So I’m just really happy to come through that one and overcome some emotional and mental battles during that match and beat someone that’s playing really well.”
While both had an equal number of unforced errors, Rogers finished with 36 winners to Fernandez’s 25.
The 28-year-old American has now won 9 of her last 11 matches, which includes a trip to the US Open 4th round, where she beat World No 1 Ash Barty, also in a third-set tiebreak, before falling to eventual champion Emma Raducanu.
Meanwhile, Badosa, the No 21 seed from Spain, stunned the 3rd-seeded Czech Krejcikova, 6-1 7-5, in just 85 minutes, improving her record to 2-0 against the reigning Roland Garros champion and current World No 5.
“I think I played a pretty good match today,” Badosa told the press, after her win. “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.”
Badosa has picked up 4 Top 10 wins this season, including Barty in Charleston and World No 3 Aryna Sabalenka in Cincinnati preceding her upset of Krejcikova.
The Spanish No 2 struck 24 winners, double her unforced error count, and played clean, precise tennis, which helped her grab 6 breaks of serve, while Krejcikova’s 20 winners were overridden by 28 miscues.
“I knew I had to stay very aggressive to try to dominate every point, because when she dominates the ball, I think, she moves the ball and she opens court very well,” added Badosa. “That was a little bit the key.
“The serve as well, I knew I had to go for it every time. That’s a little bit what I did. It went well.”
Badosa broke in the very first game with a backhand winner down the line, and closed out a dominant first set with another, this time on a service return.
Matters were closer in the second set, with 4 service breaks in the first 6 games but Krejcikova nearly faltered serving at 4-5, having to save a match point with an error-forcing forehand before holding for 5-5.
Badosa, though, would not be denied and she broke to love at 6-5 to wrap up the win, ending the clash with a forehand passing winner.
Up next for the Spaniard is 10th-seeded Kerber, who advanced with a 6-4 6-1 win over Australia’s Ajla Tomljanovic.
A finalist here in 2019, the German had won both of their prior meetings, and came into the match full of confidence after 2 tough 3-set wins over Katerina Siniakova and Daria Kasatkina.
She raced out to a 5-1 lead in the opening set before Tomljanovic was able to take advantage of the former No.1’s misfiring groundstrokes to close the gap to 5-4.
It took Kerber 5 set points to close out the opener, but with the set in hand, she powered through the second without losing serve and began to inject more offensive firepower into her forehand, finishing with 21 winners to 21 unforced errors, while Tomljanovic struck just 12 winners and was undone by 27 miscues.
“It was a tough match actually,” Kerber said. “I played well in the first set. She came back. It was really a close first set at the end.
“The second set was as well really tough. I mean, even the score was a little bit not like really close, but every single game was a tough battle.
“I was just trying to be aggressive, take my chances. I’m happy to be through and be in the next round here.”
Elsewhere, Kontaveit, the 18th seed from Estonia, continued her winning form by defeating lucky loser Haddad Maia, 6-0 6-2, in 65 minutes to advance to her first Indian Wells quarter-final.
The win extended Kontaveit’s winning streak to 9 consecutive matches, and the Estonian has not lost a set during that run.
The Brazilian, who found herself in the main draw as a lucky loser, scored the biggest win of her career in the 3rd round when she defeated top-seeded Karolina Pliskova, but she had no answers for Kontaveit in their first meeting on the pro tour.
Kontaveit lost just 8 points on her serve for the match, while dominating the points from the baseline top break Haddad Maia 5 times.
“I’m feeling good,” Kontaveit said. “I’ve been playing good tennis. “Have a few wins under my belt. I’m feeling really good about it.
“It’s going to be a tough match for sure. Ons has been playing really well.
“I’m feeling really good about my game so I’m ready for a battle and ready for whatever comes.”
Jabeur, the 12th seed from Tunisia, boosted her chances of qualifying for the Akron WTA Finals Guadalajara after defeating Russian lucky loser Anna Kalinskaya, 6-2 6-2, to advance to her 2nd WTA 1000 quarter-final of the season.
With her tour-leading 47th win of the season, Jabeur will overtake Naomi Osaka on the Porsche Race to the WTA Finals Leaderboard, rising to No 8 on Monday.
Jabeur played a pitch-perfect match under the lights against Kalinskaya, hitting 32 winners to just 15 unforced errors, and going unbroken for the match, effectively flummoxing the Russian with her court craft.
Eyeing a spot in her first WTA 1000 semifinal, Jabeur will face a red-hot Kontaveit in the quarters.
“Expecting a very tough match,” Jabeur said. “Last time we played was in Cincinnati, but now I feel like Anett is a different player, more confident right now.
“She’s playing unbelievable. I watched her when she won the title in Ostrava. I will have to play my game. I will have to change up the rhythm.
“Honestly, I will try to have fun on the court. She’s been playing so good. Accepting every winner she’s going to put on the court.
“She’s an unbelievable player and a friend on tour. Such a great friend to have her. It’s going to be a great battle. Whatever is going to happen, I’m going to do my best. If I win or if she wins, I’ll be really happy for her.”
In only her 3rd main-draw appearance at Indian Wells, Pegula made it into the quarter-finals with an easy 6-1 6-1 win over 4th seed Svitolina in just 68 minutes, her 7th of the season.
The American never faced a break point, landing 70% of her first serves, and striking 19 winners to just 14 unforced errors as Svitolina racked up 27 unforced errors to 18 winners, and also received a medical timeout for an apparent upper right leg issue between sets.
The Ukrainian was broken five times and faced 14 break points in all.
“I think I played really solid with not a lot of errors, was getting a lot of really good depth on my balls, was coming in when I needed to, serving well when I needed to. It was a great day,” Pegula said on-court after the match. “I think I’ve just been making a lot of really good decisions in the right moments.
“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.”
Pegula will face No 27 seed Azarenka, who overcame Aliaksandra Sasnovich in straight sets in an all-Belarusian fourth round, 6-3 6-4.
Azarenka led throughout, building leads of 5-2 in each set as she broke Sasnovich 6 times in the match, but needed a little extra time on court to secure the eventual 91-minute victory.
“I thought it was a pretty solid performance overall. I felt that I was in control most of the times, which was kind of my goal today,” Azarenka said after the match.
“I think that the end I rushed a little bit to finish the match on my serve. The next game I really played well. I think that was a quick turnaround so I’m happy with that.”