Monday, October 18, 2021

Jabeur, Kerber in Indian Wells quarters; Leylah Fernandez exits

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Indian Wells, Oct 13 (IANS) Tunisian star Ons Jabeur has boosted her chances of becoming the first Arab woman to qualify for the WTA Finals after making her first BNP Paribas Open quarterfinal here on Wednesday (IST), defeating Russian qualifier Anna Kalinskaya, 6-2, 6-2 in the fourth round.

No.12 seed Jabeur played a perfect match under the lights against Kalinskaya, hitting 32 winners to just 15 unforced errors, and going unbroken for the match. With her all-court game in full flow, Jabeur flummoxed the Russian, who had scored two big wins over Sara Sorribes Tormo of Spain and Viktorija Golubic of Switzerland to make her first WTA 1000 Round of 16.

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Leading by a set and a break and serving to consolidate at 6-2, 2-1 in the second set, Jabeur double-faulted at 30-all to give Kalinskaya a chance to get the set back on serve. But following that hiccup Jabeur went on to hold and, after fending off Kalinskaya’s surge, the Tunisian secured the win after 1 hour and 18 minutes.

Eyeing a spot in her first WTA 1000 semifinal, Jabeur will face a Anett Kontaveit of Estonia in the quarterfinals.

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No.18 seed Kontaveit continued her winning form, defeating lucky loser Beatriz Haddad Maia of Brazil 6-0, 6-2 in 65 minutes to advance to her first Indian Wells quarterfinal. The win extended Kontaveit’s winning streak to nine consecutive matches, and the Estonian has not lost a set during that span.

Kontaveit came into the fourth round off a strong performance to oust defending champion Bianca Andreescu of Canada in the third round. Haddad Maia, who found herself in the main draw as a lucky loser, tallied the biggest win of her career in the third round when she defeated top-seeded Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic.

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But the No.135 Brazilian had no answers for Kontaveit in their first meeting on the pro tour. Kontaveit lost just eight points on her serve for the match, while dominating the points from the baseline to break Haddad Maia five times.

“I’m feeling good,” Kontaveit told wtatennis.com. “I’ve been playing good tennis. Have a few wins under my belt. I’m feeling really good about it. It’s going to be a tough match for sure. Ons has been playing really well. I’m feeling really good about my game so I’m ready for a battle and ready for whatever comes.”

No.10 seed Angelique Kerber advanced to her third straight BNP Paribas Open quarterfinal with a 6-4, 6-1 win in the fourth round over Australia’s Ajla Tomljanovic. A finalist in 2019, the German will face No.21 seed Paula Badosa of Spain for a spot in the semifinals.

“It was a tough match actually,” Kerber said. “I played well in the first set. She came back. It was really a close first set at the end. The second set was as well really tough. I mean, even the score was a little bit not like really close, but every single game was a tough battle. I was just trying to be aggressive, take my chances. I’m happy to be through and be in the next round here.”

Shelby Rogers of the US triumphed in a final-set tiebreak to defeat US Open finalist Leylah Fernandez and reach the quarterfinals, while Badosa claimed her third top-5 victory with an upset of Barbora Krejcikova of the Czech Republic.

Rogers won 2-6, 6-1, 7-6(4), while Badosa blasted past Krejcikova, stunning the No.3 seed 6-1, 7-5, to make the elite eight here.

–IANS

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