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Best Of The Round Of 16: Insane Rallies And An All-Time Iga Quote
3 Min Read · March 13, 2024

The Round Of 16 is all done at the BNP Paribas Open. From memorable words to memorable rallies and eye-catching numbers, it had it all. Here are our awards from the Round of 16…so let’s roll out the red carpet. 

Best quote, Part I

Yulia Putintseva hit an underarm serve — though it didn’t land in the service box — against Iga Swiatek. Has that ever happened to the World No. 1 before?

“I don't think so. Maybe they teach that in Kazakhstan. I don't know, because (Alexander) Bublik does the same,” said Swiatek, referring to the unpredictable men’s pro. “I don’t really care.”

Most insane rally

Emma Navarro and Aryna Sabalenka wowed fans with a wild rally deep in the third set Wednesday.

With Navarro leading 4-2 in the third set, the fun in the rally began when Sabalenka opted for a cross court drop shot. Navarro got to it and ripped a forehand to Sabalenka’s feet, which was volleyed to the baseline.

Navarro scrambled and authored a defensive lob, then carved out a drop shot from Sabalenka’s reply. The World No. 2 got to it — only to be lobbed again. Finally, Sabalenka’s swiveled backhand went wide.

Top shot

The honor goes to Carlos Alcaraz. The defending champion unleashed a sizzling forehand passing shot on the back foot to break Fabian Marozsan in the second set.

The Spaniard’s celebration wasn’t too shabby, either.

Biggest birthday win

Hello, Coco Gauff, who turned 20 in style Wednesday.

Gauff barely put a foot wrong against doubles Grand Slam winner Elise Mertens, winning 6-0, 6-2.

“I think I'm trying to get as many 6-0 sets as possible because we have Iga who has the bakery,” the US Open champ said, referring to Swiatek’s habit of pulling off 6-0 scores. “I can have a mini one.”

Best serving performance

Jiri Lehecka’s serve has been working virtually all tournament. Against Stefanos Tsitsipas, the Czech won 84 percent of his first-serve points.

Overall in the match, he only lost 11 points combined on both his first and second serve. He’ll hope to keep it going against fellow 22-year-old Jannik Sinner in the quarterfinals.

Most noteworthy stat

Alexander Zverev reached 50 career Top 10 wins by defeating Alex de Minaur — the fifth active player to do so. The German will make it 51 if he gets the better of Alcaraz in the quarterfinals.

Happiest to be in Indian Wells

Well, they don’t call it Tennis Paradise for no reason. But count Maria Sakkari as one of those who loves playing here.

The Greek — competing under new coach David Witt — made it three straight quarterfinals in Indian Wells after edging France’s Diane Parry.

Sakkari went on to make the semifinals in 2023 and final in 2022.

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