Swiatek, Rybakina overcome former champs in Indian Wells

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Wilson Blade 9

The round of 16 at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells is set after a thrilling third round comes to a close.

Swiatek fends off Andreescu 6-3 7-6(1)

Polish world No.1 Iga Swiatek fended off an eager attempt at an upset from Canadian world No.36 Bianca Andreescu, who at 22 is only one year her senior. Andreescu won the tournament in 2019. For Swiatek, who has hardly been challenged this season, it was almost an unfamiliar feeling: “It was a really tight match, and I’m really happy that I actually played such a tight match because now I see how I can handle those situations after a couple of matches that were kind of one way.”

Swiatek was not only relieved that she had the experience, but she had hoped for it in advance. The top seed told media: “Before the tournament, I thought that it would be nice to have some stressful moments and overcome them. But during that match, I was just really trying to be in the right mindset and kind of be smart about what worked throughout the whole match and what didn’t.”

To work through the pressure points, Swiatek took advantage of all the resources at her disposal, including her team. The three-time Grand Slam champion explained to the press, “I wanted to use the help of my box a little bit, because coaching is allowed here, and my coach wasn’t in Doha and Dubai. So I thought that he can give me some more perspective.” Her coach, she went on to explain, helped her get back to the tactics they had intended for her since the start, but she would deviate from in play. In the round of 16, Swiatek will face Emma Raducanu.

Rybakina ousts Badosa 6-3 7-5

Reigning Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina ousted 2021 Indian Wells champion Paula Badosa. Badosa won only one of six break points. As the Spaniard stated plainly in her press conference after the defeat, “She played better than me in the important moments.”

Rybakina was aware of how close Badosa got at moments to turn the match around. The tenth seed told media: “Especially when it’s tough, I try to change a bit the serve. It’s not easy, sometimes you start thinking about yourself, and your emotions. It’s not easy always to actually act on these important moments.” Rybakina persevered through those tough moments, showing the Indian Wells fans not only the skill and athleticism but the attitude and mental strength that earned her a Grand Slam since her last appearance in the desert.

All eight round of 16 matches will be played Tuesday.

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2 COMMENTS

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