Saturday in Indian Wells Garden passed under the sign of good performance of favorites, who delivered in their first match appearance during last day of second round in BNP Paribas Open.
Iga Swiatek gave absolutely no chance for Claire Liu in her first match of title defence campaign. The world's number one who defends 2000 points from last year's succesful Sunshine Double, gave away just one game to the American, winning 6-0 6-1. Swiatek won 11 games in a row from the start and was close to achieve the double bagel, but Liu defended the matchpoint within own serve and managed to secure at least one game in second set. Bianca Andreescu is the next stop for Swiatek. The Canadian defeated wild-card Peyton Stearns 4-6 6-4 6-3 in three-sets battle, coming back from being a set down.
Emma Raducanu defeated Magda Linette in one of the most exciting matchups on the card for Saturday. The match did not disappoint, as both players showed some amazing shots, especially in first set. Linette started well with breaking the Brit in 4th game and moving into the lead, but Raducanu managed to force the tiebreak, which she won 7-3. Second set was dominated by the US Open 2021 champion, who was dominant force in this phase and confidently moved into third round. Another interesting opponent waits for Raducanu, as she plays Beatriz Haddad Maia next. The Brazilian eliminated Katerina Siniakova 5-7 7-6(4) 6-3. The Czech was serving for the match in 10th game of second set, but Haddad Maia managed to fight back and forced the decider where she outplayed the Czech.
Elena Rybakina moved past Sofia Kenin in two intense sets ended up in tight tiebreaks. The Kazakh won 7-6(6) 7-6(5) against wild carded Australian Open 2020 champion, who seemingly comes back to a competitive form. Kenin forced some effort from Rybakina, especially in second set, where the world's number 10 needed to come back from being 1-3 down.
Ons Jabeur played her first match after come back from injury, which prevented her from competing in middle-east swing tournaments. Jabeur was a clear favorite against lucky-loser Magdalena Frech. The Tunisian noted the rusty start though, as Frech won the opening set 6-4. The world's number 4 managed to fight back, clinched second set with same score on her favour, and dominated the Pole in decider 6-1, moving into next round. Jabeur admitted after the match, that she was regretting the decision to play after being defeated in first set and feels herself just about 80% ready to compete right now. Marketa Vondrousova will be a tough challenge for Jabeur in next round. The Czech was the one who defeated the Tunisian in 3rd round of Australian Open, winning 6-1 5-7 6-1. Vondrousova eliminated her fellowcountry Marie Bouzkova on Friday, with a dominant win 6-1 6-1.
Caroline Garcia struggled a little bit on her round to 3rd round, needing three sets to move past Dalma Galfi. The Hungarian, who made a huge upset on Danielle Collins in first round, managed to force the decider despite losing first set 1-6 to Garcia who was a huge pre-match favorite. Second set did not bring any breaks and ended up in tiebreak with 7-4 score for Galfi. Decider was looking similarly, as the decisive break came up as late as in 10th game. Garcia broke Galfi to love and advanced not without an effort with a score 6-1 6-7(4) 6-4.
Bernarda Pera cause the biggest surprise of the day, defeating Liudmila Samsonova in a thrilling three-setter ended up after 3:05 hours. The seed #12 who was a big pre-match favorite, started as expected with 6-2 win in opening set and was leading with an early break in second one. Pera forced the tiebreak, but Samsonova had 3 matchpoints. The Russian did not manage to convert any of it and Pera won this set with 10-8 score in tiebreak. Third set was no less intense. Both players shared just two breaks between themselves and everything was settle in decisive tiebreak, where Pera turned out to be better again. The American earned the big victory, winning 2-6 7-6(8) 7-6(6).
Favorites prevailed also in ATP matches on Saturday. Carlos Alcaraz succeeded in his first match in Indian Wells campaign as the tournament's top seed defeated Thanasi Kokkinakis 6-3 6-3. Holger Rune and Hubert Hurkacz also won their matches against unseeded rivals in straight sets. Taylor Fritz played the most exciting match of the day against Ben Shelton. The younger of Americans caused some problems for the top ranked male from US, winning the first set 6-4. Match was staying on high level with many intense rallies and great shots. The world's number 5 proved his class in the following sets, winning 6-4 6-3 and moving into next round.
Here are the ATP highlights from Saturday: