Indian Wells: Ostapenko ousts Swiatek, Fritz beats Berrettini

  • Matt Trollope

Jelena Ostapenko won a battle of Roland Garros champions over Iga Swiatek on Tuesday to advance to the quarterfinals at Indian Wells.

Ostapenko, a winner in Paris in 2017, beat 2020 French champion Swiatek 6-4 6-3 to set up a meeting with American Shelby Rogers.

Rogers came through a brilliant Stadium 1 contest against Leylah Fernandez, defeating the US Open finalist in a third-set tiebreak to continue her impressive season.

In other women's results, major champions Angelique Kerber and Victoria Azarenka sealed their quarterfinals spots with straight-sets wins while Paula Badosa knocked out No.3 seed Barbora Krejcikova.

It means world No.15 Kerber is the highest-ranked player remaining in the women's draw.

Also on Tuesday, Taylor Fritz scored one of the biggest wins of his career with a straight-sets upset of fifth seed Matteo Berrettini.

The win prevented an all-Italian fourth-round clash between Berrettini and 10th seed Jannik Sinner, who Fritz will now face for a place in the quarterfinals. 

Also moving through to the last 16 was Olympic silver medallist Karen Khachanov, who routed bronze medallist Pablo Carreno Busta 6-0 6-4. 

Third seed Alexander Zverev recovered from deficits in both sets to win his third-round blockbuster over Andy Murray, and was joined in the last 16 by fellow seeds Stefanos Tsitsipas, Gael Monfils and Alex de Minaur.

Resurgent Ostapenko wins high-profile clash

Second seed Swiatek had earlier in the tournament professed her love for the conditions in the Californian desert.

And indeed, the slow courts and heavy balls were reminiscent of the conditions in which she thrived at Roland Garros, exactly a year ago, en route to her first major title. 

But it was Ostapenko powering through the court, reeling off five games in a row from 3-1 down in the third set and ending the contest with a forehand winner. 

“I think I played very well. I didn’t give her any chances to play because I think I was playing very aggressive and took the time away from her so she couldn’t do much against me,” said Ostapenko, who now leads Swiatek 2-0 in the head-to-head series.

“If I play well, I’m a dangerous player and I can I think beat anyone.”

This is by far the best result at Indian Wells for Ostapenko, who prior to 2021 had never been beyond the third round. It was also her first win over a top-10 opponent in more than a year.

She will look to continue her run against 44th-ranked Rogers, who has now won nine of her past 11 matches after outlasting Fernandez in a thriller. 

“If I play well, I’m a dangerous player and I can I think beat anyone.”
Jelena Ostapenko

In a brilliant third set, Fernandez saved a match point to force a tiebreak before Rogers’ relentless power and consistency eventually proved too much for the Canadian teenager.

"That was such an incredible match. The level of tennis was ridiculous,” said Rogers, who finished with 36 winners to Fernandez’s 25.

“She's had such an incredible season. She's just a genuine person on and off the court, so it was a pleasure to have such a battle with her today. And she has a very bright future."

Meanwhile, Jessica Pegula continued her breakout 2021 season with a dominant performance against No.4 seed Elina Svitolina. 

Pegula beat Svitolina in three sets to reach the Australian Open quarterfinals earlier this year but on Tuesday she stormed to a 6-1 6-1 win.

She next faces Azarenka -- another player she beat at Melbourne Park -- after Azarenka saw off Belarusian compatriot Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-3 6-4.

Azarenka's fellow former world No.1 Kerber stopped Ajla Tomljanovic 6-4 6-1 and will next play Badosa, who upstaged reigning Roland Garros champion Krejcikova 6-1 7-5. 

Later on Tuesday evening, 12th seed Ons Jabeur ended the run of qualifier Anna Kalinskaya 6-2 6-2 to keep alive her chances of qualifying for the season-ending WTA Finals in Guadalajara.

Her next opponent, Anett Kontaveit, won in even more dominant fashion; the 18th seed's 6-0 6-2 over lucky loser Beatriz Haddad Maia means she has now won nine straight matches and 18 consecutive sets. 

Fritz notches big win; Zverev, Tsitsipas progress

No.31 seed Fritz entered his match against Berrettini having won just five of his 25 career meetings against top-10 players, spanning five seasons.

And he had not beaten a top-10 opponent for two years; the last one was Berrettini at the Davis Cup finals in November 2019.

Fritz repeated the feat against the Italian on Tuesday, requiring just 81 minutes to wrap up a 6-4 6-3 triumph over the Wimbledon finalist.

“I have been looking for some good results in these big events for a bit, and I definitely let more than a couple kind of slip away from me that I felt like I should have won,” Fritz said.

“So it's nice to kind of just play a solid match, close it out in the end there. Move forward, give myself another opportunity to maybe make quarterfinal, semifinal here at a big event.”

Khachanov repeated his Olympics semifinal win over Carreno Busta, crushing the Spaniard to reach the last 16 where he will play Nikoloz Basiliashvili.

Zverev was forced to subdue an inspired Murray, rebounding from 3-0 down in the first set and 3-1 in the second to eventually win 6-4 7-6(4), his first ever victory over the Brit.

Next up for Zverev is No.14 seed Monfils, who beat former world No.5 Kevin Anderson in straight sets.

In the last result of the day, No.3 seed Tsitsipas recovered from a set and a break down to beat Fabio Fognini 2-6 6-3 6-4. 

That win sets up a fourth-round clash with resurgent Aussie De Minaur, who dismissed 13th seed Cristian Garin 6-4 6-2 despite arriving at Indian Wells on a four-match losing streak.

It is the deepest De Minaur has progressed at a tournament since winning Eastbourne in June.