Defending champion Swiatek races into the third round of Indian Wells, Fritz fights his way through
Neither Liu nor the breezy conditions on the stadium court worried Swiatek, who is aiming to become the second woman after Martina Navratilova in 1990-91 to successfully defend her title at the prestigious combined WTA and ATP Masters 1000 hard court tournament.
Swiatek roared through the first set, winning 25 out of 32 points.
In the second, she didn’t have it quite to her liking anymore. She never faced a break point, but Liu managed to save a match point when she finally held serve in the penultimate game.
The crowd roared as Liu – who was facing a senior player for the first time – slipped a forehand passing shot from under Swiatek’s cover at play point.
It put a relieved smile on the American’s face, but Swiatek closed the next game after 65 minutes.
“Certainly Claire took advantage of that moment when I wasn’t playing as aggressively as I should have been, but I’m pretty happy I was able to end it pretty quickly,” said Swiatek, the reigning French Open and US Open champion Champion who was surprised in the round of 16 at the Australian Open in January.
Since then, the 21-year-old from Warsaw has successfully defended her title in Doha and reached the final in Dubai.
Defending men’s champion Taylor Fritz, who defeated Spanish superstar Rafael Nadal in last year’s final, had to work harder to come through his opener in the second round, a 4-6 6-4 6-3 win over the 41st .Place Ben Shelton.
“He has nothing to lose so I expected him to come out at a very high level,” said Fritz.
“I just had to regroup, find a way to solve problems. I’m glad I got through that,” added the Californian, who this year in Delray Beach became the first US man to finish in the top five in the world rankings since Andy Roddick in 2009.
Fritz is fourth in a field led by world number two Carlos Alcaraz, who was due to open his campaign against Australia qualifier Thanasi Kokkinaki on Saturday night.
The 19-year-old Spaniard, who became the youngest-ever world number one after his US Open triumph last year, missed the Australian Open as a series of injuries kept him sidelined for four months.
He returned to win the title in Buenos Aires before failing in the final in Rio de Janeiro, where he was hampered by a thigh strain that prompted him to withdraw from the ATP tournament in Acapulco.
Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime, seeded eighth, and Jannik Sinner, seeded eleventh, both got through safely. Auger-Aliassime defeated Spain’s Pedro Martinez 7-6 (7/5), 6-4, while Sinner defeated French veteran Richard Gasquet 6-3, 7-6 (7/2).
– Murray advances –
Former world no has of unlikely marathon wins, including a five-set epic of five hours and 45 minutes in the second round of the Australian Open.
Murray booked a third-round clash with Jack Draper, who won an all-British bout with 24th seed Daniel Evans 6-4, 6-2.
Caroline Garcia of France, seeded fifth in the women’s rankings, defeated Hungary’s Dalma Galfi 6-1, 6-7 (4/7), 6-4 and meets Canada’s Leylah Fernandez, a 6-2, 6 :4 winner over American Emma Navarro.
Two-time Indian Wells winner Victoria Azarenka was eliminated, the 14th seed falling 7-6 (7/1), 6-3 to Czech Karolina Muchova in 67th place.
Meanwhile, unseeded 2021 British US Open champion Emma Raducanu shook off a flare-up in her right wrist discomfort to defeat Australian Open semifinalist Magda Linette of Poland 7-6 (7/3), 6-2.
Raducanu – who has been slowed this year by wrist pain, an ankle injury and a bout of tonsillitis – received treatment on her right wrist during the game but dug deep to oust the 20th seed in an hour and 50 minutes.
It was the first time since September in Seoul that Raducanu had back-to-back match wins – one of which was a quarterfinal win over Linette.
https://sports.yahoo.com/defending-champion-swiatek-off-fast-232645262.html?src=rss Defending champion Swiatek races into the third round of Indian Wells, Fritz fights his way through