No. 24 seed Jelena Ostapenko is into the quarterfinals for the first time in four-main-draw appearances at the BNP Paribas Open, upending No. 2 seed Iga Swiatek of Poland, 6-4, 6-3, at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.
“I knew it was going to be a very tough match because she’s such a great player,” said Ostapenko, who improved to 31-17 on the year. “She’s been playing great tennis. I came into this match with a strong mentality. I knew I had to fight for every point and just be aggressive. I think I did that pretty well today.”
It was a battle of former Roland Garros champions, Ostapenko having emerged victorious in Paris in 2017, Swiatek in 2020.
With her opponent serving at 3-all, 30-40 in the opener, Swiatek hammered a backhand second-serve return for a clean winner and an early break. But the 20-year-old Pole couldn’t consolidate, and serving to stay in the set at 4-5, 30-40, could only watch as Ostapenko punched a forehand winner to move ahead.
Ostapenko, 24, came out slow in the second set, falling behind 2-0. But, once again, she battled back. An untimely double fault at 3-2, 30-40 would cost Swiatek with the set back on serve. She would experience stomach discomfort and take an off-court medical timeout after the seventh game, only to fall behind upon her return to the court.
Down a break in both sets, Ostapenko will take comfort in her ability to turn things around.
“I know I have a good return, so I was playing well in decisive moments,” said Ostapenko. “I just tried to serve better. It was a little bit windy and a little bit cooler today, different conditions from my last matches. I just needed time to adjust.”
Pegula’s alignment with David Witt, who formerly worked with Venus Williams, is clearly paying dividends.
“We’ve just worked a lot on my game plan, being smarter out there, coming forward and taking the ball earlier, just a lot of intangibles,” said Pegula, 27. “I think I’ve just been making a lot of really good decisions at the right moments. That obviously comes with playing a lot of matches and winning, getting confidence. There’s been more belief in myself that I can play at this level. This year, I kind of realized that.”
US Open finalist and No. 23 seed Leylah Fernandez of Canada saw her run come to an end against unseeded American Shelby Rogers, who booked a quarterfinal matchup with Ostapenko via a 2-6, 6-1, 7-6(4) thriller in Stadium 1.
“She’s had such an incredible season. She has a very bright future,” said Rogers, who pulled off an other upset this summer when she defeated World No. 1 Ashleigh Barty at the US Open. “It was really about who was dictating the play today, who could get control of the points first. When she gets a look at a ball, it’s very tough. Sometimes luck on your side; sometimes it’s not. Today, it was for me.”
No. 21 seed Paula Badosa of Spain was a 6-1, 7-5 winner over No. 3 seed Barbora Krejcikova of the Czech Republic.