Tuesday’s fourth round at the BNP Paribas Open marked the end of the journey for eight women and the promise of opportunity for the other half. The wear and tear of the slow courts, the elements and their opponents showed for some, while others seemed to march on unscathed.
No.19 seed Jessica Pegula [USA] d. No.4 seed Elina Svitolina [UKR] 6-1 6-1
Jessica Pegula and Elina Svitolina stepped up first on Stadium 1 to face each other, and fate.
The Pegula dominance began early in first set with a break of serve to go up 2-0. Despite the best efforts of Svitolina, the American dominated the big points game after game, taking a 5-0 lead. Svitolina applied great defense and held, avoiding the bagel, but the effort would not be rewarded today. The world No.24 Pegula served out the set, dropping two points in her final game, 6-1.
The seventh-ranked Svitolina was lacking her usual power and her movement was labored at times. Between sets, she took an eight-minute medical timeout. This signaled trouble, as the Ukrainian needed her wheels to kick into high gear. To her credit, she attempted to make adjustments, trying atypical drop shots to end points early. Some days your body won’t cooperate and your opponent is on fire. A lethal combination.
Troubles continued for Svitolina as she was immediately broken in her first service game of the second set. The 27-year-old worked her way into the match, defending at deuce and holding to 2-1 after a nine-point game. That would be her only hold of serve.
Svitolina’s effort was huge, as she was fighting multiple break points in her next service game. In contrast, Pegula’s service holds were uncomplicated. The American’s win was in the books after one hour and eight minutes.
This has been a huge week for the sporting Pegula family. No matter the result in the desert, another huge week is set for the 24-year-old who is also getting married in two weeks.
No.24 seed Jelena Ostapenko [LAT] d. No.2 seed Iga Swiatek [POL], 6-4 6-3
I will not lie when I say that I did not expect this results. This is not a slight to Ostapenko, my thoughts were simply based on statistical analysis. Swiatek is having the better season, but not today.
Due to a heavy press conference schedule, I did not see much of this match, but word on the street was, Jelena of Roland Garros showed up today. The slow courts of Indian Wells may have worked in her favor as well. This is a match worth a replay.
Shelby Rogers [USA] d. No.23 seed Leylah Fernandez [CAN] vs. 2-6 6-1 7-6(4)
Giving herself and early birthday present, Shelby Rogers won the tug of war today against
a very determined Leylah Fernandez.
The world No.44 Rogers had a lose start today with Fernandez taking a 4-1 lead. Although her level raised it was too much to overcome. First set to Fernandez, 6-2.
The momentum completely flipped in the second set, as Rogers looked sharp and errors crept into Fernandez’ game. The 29-year-old American took advantage of every opportunity, closing 6-1.
The third set was a blood bath going to 5-5. Rogers produced an ace to bring her game back into view and held, going up 6-5. US Open finalist Fernandez held up to the pressure cooker situation. She defended a match point and kept her opponent at bay with multiple deuce points. The wind kicked up on a final second serve and Rogers netted the return to set up the breaker, now 6-6.
The tiebreak started with an error from Fernandez, but Rogers would make her own to 1-1. A mix of winners and errors put Rogers ahead 4-1. But Fernandez would not quit. She worked her way back into the match at one point, literally hitting the American off the court. The hard miles would not stick today for the teen. Rogers had the angles and was more steady today, final score 7-6(4).
Rogers’ quarterfinal opponent will be Ostapenko, who owns the head-to-head at 2-0. There was great crowd support for both players today, but as the intensity ramps up, no doubt the home crown will kick in for Rogers.
No.12 seed Ons Jabeur [TUN] d. [Q] Anna Kalinskaya [RUS] 6-2 6-2
Ons Jabeur took out the last qualifier, 151st-ranked Anna Kalinskaya.
Jabeur is a player that we all talk about, because she plays a very unique, crafty style of tennis. She is probably one of the most unpredictable players except for maybe drop shots. Ons had all the answers in the fourth round against Kalinskaya, coming up with 32 winners.
Post match, Jabeur spoke words of encouragement to other young Tunisian players. Looking into the camera, she said: “So if I’m here today, you guys can make it. Work hard, believe in yourself, and you’re gonna be there.” Jabeur beamed in press speaking of her dreams and never expecting to be here. Lastly, she plays to always wear a smile no matter what.
Ons Jabeur takes on another WTA mover, Anett Kontaveit in the quarterfinals. Estonia’s Kontaveit has won 16 of her last 17 matches.
No.21 seed Paula Badosa [ESP] d. No.3 seed Barbora Krejcikova [Czech] 6-1 7-5
Badosa was the quintessential Spaniard in her presser today, humble, respectful, and forthright. She spoke a bit about suffering and how really all the players do, it’s a skill that you have to learn to be successful. Where have we heard that before. Oh, and yes, Rafael Nadal and Maria Sharapova were her idols growing up.
Other fourth-round results
Tuesday was a constant WTA maze of pressers with matches ending quickly, so following everyone was simply not possible. Thank you DVR!
No.27 seed Victoria Azarenka [BEL] d. Aliaksandra Sasnovich [BEL] 6-3 6-4
No.10 seed Angelique Kerber [GER] vs. Ajla Tomljanovic [AUS] 6-4 6-1
No.18 seed Anett Kontaveit [EST] d. [LL] Beatriz Haddad Maia [BRA] 6-0 6-2
The WTA singles quarterfinals are scheduled Wednesday/Thursday.