Wimbledon champion Rybakina reaches Indian Wells 4th rd
Reigning Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina clinched her ticket to the fourth round at Indian Wells on Monday, beating former champion Paula Badosa 6-3, 7-5.
Rybakina, ranked 10th in the world after Arina Sobolenko finished second at the Australian Open in January, has lost her last three matches against Badosa.
She said her solid serve and superiority in several key moments allowed her to outmaneuver Badosa, her doubles partner in the California desert.
She threw nine aces and capitalized on Badosa’s seven double faults, converting four of her break point chances against the Spaniard while losing her own serve just once.
The competition was part of the Stadium Court program, which featured top seeds Carlos Alcaraz and Iga Sviatek as they competed for the Round of 16 in the combined WTA and ATP Masters 1000 tournament.
Spaniard Alcaraz, who could return to world number one with a third Masters 1000 triumph, faced off against Tallon Greekspur of the Netherlands, while world No. 1 Sviatek – winner of last year’s French and US Opens and reigning Indian Wells champion – took on the Canadian Bianca Andreescu.
Swiatek aims to become the second woman, after Martina Navratilova in 1990-91, to win back-to-back Indian Wells titles.
Andreescu won Indian Wells in 2019, setting the stage for a breakthrough season that included the US Open crown.
In other matches, defending men’s champion Taylor Fritz faced Argentina’s Sebastian Baez, while former world number one Andy Murray faced Jack Draper in a purely British match.
Ons Jaber, seeded No. 4, was trying to get revenge on Czech Marketa Vondrousova, who upset the Tunisian in the second round of the Australian Open.
Women’s fifth-placed Caroline Garcia took the lead with a 6-4, 6-7 (5/7), 6-1 victory over Canada’s Leyla Fernandez, a second-round rematch in the Australian Open won by the French.
Garcia’s early aggressiveness paid off with a single break in the first set. After Fernandez, who was runner-up at the 2021 US Open, won a tiebreak in the second set, Garcia solidified and pulled away in the third.
Garcia saved two break points in her first serve game and then ran away.
“The start of the last set was very important,” Garcia said. “She put a lot of pressure on me and I was a little on edge after losing the second set in the tie-break.
“I tried to stay with more intensity and struggle. That’s what I did better in the third set, I fought better and pressed more.”
Garcia, for the fourth time in the round of 16, will compete for first place in the Indian Wells quarter-finals against Romania’s Sorana Kirstea, who won 6-3, 6-1 over American Bernarda Pera.