World No.108 Dinara Safina hadn’t been able to win three matches in a row in more than a year (she rarely even won two) and now she scored her first Top 4 victory since 2008 by upsetting fourth seed Samantha Stosur in the third round of the BNP Paribas Open.
Despite 16 double faults, Safina’s performance was strong, with powerful groundstrokes, successful aggressiveness and big returns. The Russian swept through the first set tiebreaker 7-2 and resisted a late Stosur’s fightback in the second set to win 7-6(2) 6-4.
Safina’s fourth round opponent will be No.18 seed Maria Sharapova, who is also coming back from injury. Sharapova had survived a marathon opener against Anabel Medina Garrigues, but cruised past seed No.20 Aravane Rezai 6-2 6-2 in the third round.
The Safina vs. Sharapova match will not be the only fourth round meeting between compatriots and former world No.1s. Serbs Jelena Jankovic, who is defending her title at Indian Wells, and Ana Ivanovic will also face each other.