Less than 24 hours after Top-class Karolina Pliskova was defeated by Brazilian lucky loser Beatriz Haddad Maia, Jelena Ostapenko defeated number 2 seed Iga Swiatek from the BNP Paribas Open.
In a fourth round encounter between two previous French Open champions, No. 24 seed Ostapenko came out of trouble in each set to secure a 6-4, 6-3 win and advance to the quarter-finals.
“I knew it was going to be a very difficult game because she is such a great player, she has won a Grand Slam and she plays great tennis,” Ostapenko said after the match on the pitch.
“I came to this game with a really strong mentality. I knew I had to fight for every point, be aggressive and I think I did that pretty well today.”
The ultra-aggressive Ostapenko excelled in relatively calmer conditions than the stormy conditions that defined Monday’s game, hitting 25 winners to 21 unforced errors in 93 minutes, breaking Swiatek four times and serving just one double foul.
“I think I played very well. I didn’t give her chances to play because I think I played very aggressively and took her time so she couldn’t do much against me,” Ostapenko later told reporters . “That was exactly the plan for the game, just to play my game and be aggressive, and I think I did pretty well today.”
Straight to the point against Swiatek: Ostapenko improved her head-to-head record against Swiatek to 2-0 with the win, adding to a previous 6-0, 6-2 win on grass in Birmingham in 2019.
With Swiatek now a big winner on a career-high ranking, the fans who attended Stage 3 would have expected a more competitive result this time around. That’s what they got in this match, even though the victor was the same.
The Latvian trailed 4-3 in the first set and 3-1 in the second, but finished each on a series of consecutive games to secure a place in her fourth quarter-final of the year.
“I just knew I had good returns and played well in decisive moments,” Ostapenko said of her ability to turn every set. “I was just trying to serve better because it was a bit windy and cooler today, so different conditions than my last game [on Sunday], and I needed some time to adjust.”
Rogers on Ostapenko’s path next: The Latvian, who was forced to withdraw from the US Open, will take on American Shelby Rogers, who defeated US Open finalist Leylah Fernandez in a tiebreak in the third set.
Pegula advances to new victory against Svitolina
In just her third main draw at the BNP Paribas Open, Jessica Pegula is in the quarterfinals. The 19-seeded American won 6-1, 6-1 against No. 4 Elina Svitolina in Tuesday’s fourth round to become the first player to make it to the last eight on a day with all eight fourth-round games on the schedule. .
It took Pegula just 68 minutes to book a spot in her seventh quarterfinal of the season and fourth at WTA 1000 level. In the win, the American never got a breakpoint, landing 70% of her first serve and hitting 19 winners with just 14 unforced errors.
Less consistent off the ground than her usual standard, Svitolina committed 27 unforced errors to 18 winners, and was also given a medical timeout for an obvious right thigh problem between sets. The Ukrainian was broken five times and received a total of 14 break points.
Words from the winner: “I think I played really solid with not a lot of mistakes, I got a lot of depth in my balls, came in when I needed it and served well when needed. It was a great day”, Pegula said on the pitch after the match.
“I think I just made a lot of good decisions at the right times. Of course that’s because of playing a lot of games, winning and gaining confidence… it’s just more the belief that I can play at this level. I think I realized that this year and I’ve had good results.”
Comes full circle: Eight months ago at the Australian Open in February, Pegula took the first Top 10 win of her career over Svitolina in a three-set victory in the fourth round. Tuesday’s win over the Ukrainian was her seventh Top 10 win of the season.
Next one: Pegula takes on number 27 Victoria Azarenka, who defeated Aliaksandra Sasnovich in straight sets in an all-Belarusian fourth round, 6-3, 6-4. It will be Pegula’s second full moment in Indian Wells as she also defeated Azarenka in the first round in her quarterfinals at Melbourne Park earlier.
All-Belarusian affair goes to flag bearer Azarenka
In her first meeting with Sasnovich, Azarenka led the entire match. She built a 5-2 lead in each set when she broke Sasnovich six times in the match, but needed some extra time on the field to secure the eventual 91-minute win.
“I thought it was a pretty solid performance overall. I felt like I was in control most of the time, which was kind of my goal today,” Azarenka said after the game.
“I think at the end I rushed a bit to finish the game on my serve. The next game I played really well. I think that was a quick turnaround, so I’m happy with that.”
Match statistics: A total of 22 winners helped Azarenka’s cause to victory, and while she hit one less than Sasnovich, she also made 11 fewer unforced errors (16 to 27). Despite serving only 47%, Azarenka saved five of the eight breakpoints she encountered.
Time to tie the knot: Azarenka and Pegula have split two meetings this year. After their aforementioned Australian Open match, Azarenka won in three sets in the quarterfinals in Berlin on grass.