Third seed Iga Swiatek defeated seed No.15 Angelique Kerber for a spot in the BNP Paribas Open Indian Wells quarterfinals. In a third consecutive match, Swiatek had to come back from dropping the first set. She finally defeated her practice partner 4-6 6-2 6-3.
Their practices weighed on Swiatek’s mind as she prepared for the match, throwing her for a loop when things were underway: “I thought that Angie played much different than what she played on practice with me, what I was expecting. For sure, she wanted me to kind of be maybe distracted, like not sure of what’s going on. She didn’t play that high balls in our practice.”
The 2020 French Open winner Swiatek enjoyed the challenge of testing herself against the veteran three-time Grand Slam champ for the first time: “I felt like she wanted to use her experience and kind of trick me, but I like that because it’s like a new experience for me. You’re not going to get that from many players because not many players have been on tour for such a long time.” The 20-year-old added, “I’m pretty proud of myself that I could win against such a smart player.”
Kerber was frustrated that she did not perform better on a few critical points. Swiatek saved 60% of break points, compared to 33% from Kerber. Still, the German was in reasonably good spirits after the match. Compared to all the crisis in the world right now, she said, referring to the war in Ukraine and subsequent refugee crisis near her second home in Poland, a tennis match just does not feel that important.
Asked about her trend of first set losses here, Swiatek took it lightly, smiling as she told the media, “on my next match, I’m going to be ready to win that first one. It’s not like I’m doing it on purpose.” That next match is a quarterfinal versus American Madison Keys.