Sunday, October 10, 2021 - Victoria Azarenka plays Petra Kvitova on day 7 of the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, California. (Kathryn Riley/BNP Paribas Open)
Former Indian Wells champion Victoria Azarenka is through to the round of 16 following a tense 7-5, 6-4 victory over rival Petra Kvitova, upsetting the No. 7 seed to claim their ninth career meeting.
In a battle between two two-time Grand Slam champions, it was a topsy turvy affair early on. With five consecutive breaks exchanges early in the first set, neither player could find the first serves they needed to kick off their points on the front foot. Although the quality was patchy at times, the intensity was top notch, with Azarenka willing herself into winning positions and Kvitova crying out her signature “pojd!” exclamations after point-ending forehands.
It was the former No. 1 Azarenka, however, who was able to edge ahead in the first set, closing it out with a well-timed ace to earn the early advantage.
Both players were able to stabilize their level in the second set, but it was the 2012 & 2016 BNP Paribas Open champion who was able to strike early as the Kvitova serve let her down. Though the set would return to level terms just a few games later, Azarenka was able to wrestle control back and serve the match out on her second match point.
Azarenka advances to play Aliaksandra Sasnovich in the fourth round as she continues her bid to become the first woman to win three BNP Paribas Open championships.
ROGERS ROLLS INTO ROUND OF 16… Shelby Rogers continued her fine form to cap of the 2021 season, consolidating her two impressive early-round wins with a 6-0, 6-2 victory of Irina-Camelia Begu.
OSTAPENKO POWERS PAST PUTINTSEVA… It was always going to be a popcorn match between these two firecracker competitors, but Jelena Ostapenko was the fiery personality to prevail on court three, teeing off on Yulia Putintseva’s spinny shots to prevail 6-3, 2-6, 6-3 in just under two hours.
SASNOVICH SCORES HALEP UPSET… Aliaksandra Sasnovich backed up her upset win over Emma Raducanu in the second round with an impressively clinical 7-5, 6-4 win over 2015 champion Simona Halep on Stadium 2 late in the day.
PEGULA IN TOP FORM… In what has been a breakthrough 2021, Jessica Pegula kept the good vibes rolling on Sunday, sprinting past qualifier Jasmine Paolini 6-4, 6-1 to book a showdown with Elina Svitolina, who the American beat in the Australian Open round of 16 to kick off her spectacular season.