Defending champ Swiatek races into Indian Wells 3rd round, Fritz fights through

World No. 1 Iga Sviatek filed for a repeat of the rare title at Indian Wells with a convincing 6-0, 6-1 second-round victory over 56th-placed American Claire Liu on Saturday.

Neither Liu nor the chilly conditions in the stadium bothered Swiatek, who is aiming to become the second woman – after Martina Navratilova in 1990-91 – to successfully defend her title in the prestigious WTA/ATP Masters 1000 combined hard-surface tournament.

Swiatek broke through in the first set, scoring 25 out of 32 points.

In the second, everything was not so in her own way. She never faced a break point, but Liu managed to keep the match point when she finally held a serve in the penultimate game.

The crowd roared as Liu, facing a high-profile player for the first time, landed a right hand under Swiatek’s defense in the middle of the game.

This brought a relieved smile to the American’s face, but Swiatek closed it in the next game in the 65th minute.

“Of course Claire took advantage of the moment when I wasn’t as aggressive as I should have been, but I’m very happy that I was able to close the situation pretty quickly,” said Swiatek, the reigning French Open and US Open champion, who was surprised in the round of 16 at the Australian Open in January.

Since then, the 21-year-old Varsovian has successfully defended her title in Doha and reached the final in Dubai.

Defensive men’s champion Taylor Fritz, who defeated Spanish superstar Rafael Nadal in last year’s final, had to work harder to get through the first round of the second round with a 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 win over 41-ranked Ben Shelton. e place.

“He has nothing to lose, so I expected him to show a very high level,” said Fritz.

“I just needed to regroup, find a way to solve the problem. I’m happy to get through it,” added the Californian, whose title at Delray Beach this year saw him become the first American in the top five in the world. ranking since Andy Roddick in 2009.

Fritz is seeded fourth in a field led by world number two Carlos Alcaraz, who was due to open his campaign against Australian qualifier Thanasi Kokkinaki on Saturday night.

The 19-year-old Spaniard, whose US Open triumph last year saw him become the world’s youngest number one, missed the Australian Open with a string of injuries that sidelined him for four months.

He returned to win the title in Buenos Aires before losing in the final in Rio de Janeiro where he was hampered by a hamstring strain that prompted him to withdraw from the Acapulco ATP tournament.

Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime, seeded 8th, and Yannick Sinner, seeded 11th, made it through safely. Auger-Aliassime beat Spaniard Pedro Martinez 7-6 (7/5), 6-4, while Sinner beat French veteran Richard Gasquet 6-3, 7-6 (7/2).

– Murray is coming –

Former world number one Andy Murray, who returned from hip replacement surgery in 2019, defeated lucky loser Radu Albot 6-4, 6-3 – the Brit’s first straight set victory in a year when he was up to the challenge . unlikely marathon wins, including a five-hour, 45-minute five-set epic in the second round of the Australian Open.

Murray ordered a third round bout with Jack Draper, who won the All-British bout with 24th seed Daniel Evans 6-4, 6-2.

Caroline Garcia of France, who finished fifth among women, beat Hungarian Dalma Galfi 6:1, 6:7 (4/7), 6:4 and entered the meeting with Canadian Leyla Fernandez, who defeated American Emma Navarro with a score of 6: 2:6:4. .

Two-time Indian Wells winner Victoria Azarenka was eliminated from the tournament, the 14th seed went to Karolina Muchova of Czech Republic, who finished 67th, 7-6 (7/1), 6-3.

Meanwhile, unseeded Emma Raducanou, the 2021 UK Open champion of the United Kingdom, recovered from an aggravated right wrist problem to beat Australian Open semi-finalist Magda Lynette of Poland 7-6 (7/3), 6-2.

Radukan, who was slowed down this year by a sore wrist, an ankle injury and a bout of tonsillitis, was treated for her right wrist during the match but dug deep to oust 20th in one hour and 50 minutes.

It was the first time since September in Seoul that Radukanu had two wins in a row, one of which was a win over Lynette in the quarterfinals.



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