Indian Wells Daily Preview: A Battle of Major Champions in the Women’s Fourth Round - UBITENNIS
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Indian Wells Daily Preview: A Battle of Major Champions in the Women’s Fourth Round

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Iga Swiatek last week in Indian Wells (twitter.com/bnpparibasopen)

Combined, they hold a career Grand Slam.  On Tuesday in Indian Wells, three-time Major champion Angelique Kerber and 2020 Roland Garros champion Iga Swiatek will square off in a first-time meeting between two of the WTA’s most dynamic players.

That’s just one of eight women’s singles matchups on Tuesday, as all 16 players into the fourth round will take the court.  In another high profile clash, defending champion Paula Badosa will face US Open finalist Leylah Fernandez.

On the ATP side, third round singles action concludes on Tuesday.  It is highlighted by a rematch of a stirring encounter from last year’s US Open between Andrey Rublev and Frances Tiafoe.  Other third round men’s singles matches include Matteo Berrettini, Diego Schwartzman, and Grigor Dimitrov.

Each day, this preview will analyze the two most intriguing matchups, while highlighting other notable matches on the schedule.  Tuesday’s play gets underway at 11:00am local time.


Iga Swiatek (3) vs. Angelique Kerber (15) – Second on Stadium 1

Swiatek leads the WTA tour with 16 match wins this season.  The Doha champion is on a seven-match win streak, and has already come back from a set down twice this tournament.  Kerber also had to mount a comeback to advance this far, against Qinwen Zheng two rounds ago.  But on Sunday night, she easily overcame Daria Kasatkina by a score of 6-2, 6-1.  Angie was winless in 2022 prior to this fortnight, losing her opening matches at both the Australian Open and Doha.  She is vying to reach the quarterfinals of this event for the fourth straight time.  But beating a confident, in-form Iga is a tall task.  Swiatek has quickly developed into one of the sport’s best problem solvers, and should be able to outhit the 2019 runner-up.


Andrey Rublev (7) vs. Frances Tiafoe (28) – Last on Stadium 1

Six months ago in New York, these two battled it out for five sets across four hours, and until 2:14am.  I’ve previously described Frances as the “late night delight” based on how he excels under the lights, and amidst the energy of night session crowds.  He started that trend last March in Miami, and continued it with his five-set victory over Rublev in New York.  Perhaps he will now do so at another of his country’s biggest events, as this match just happens to be the last one of the evening on Stadium 1.  Tiafoe only went 1-3 in Australia to start the year, and has been battling an elbow injury.  But he appeared pretty healthy in his opening round win over fellow American Brandon Nakashima on Sunday.  By contrast, Rublev has been on fire to begin 2022.  He’s 15-2 on the year, and is on a ten-match win streak, which includes back-to-back titles in Marseille and Dubai.  Based on recent form, Andrey is a considerable favorite to avenge his painful loss from New York.  However, don’t count out Frances during an American night session.


Other Notable Matches on Tuesday:

Matteo Berrittini (6) vs. Lloyd Harris (30) – Berrettini survived a stern test from 18-year-old Holger Rune on Sunday.  Two years ago at the French Open, the Italian defeated Harris in four sets.

Diego Schwartzman (14) vs. John Isner (23) – Their only previous match was five years ago on an indoor hard court in Bercy, where Isner prevailed 6-3 in the third.

Paula Badosa (5) vs. Leylah Fernandez (18) – Badosa played a marathon first set Monday night against friend and doubles partner Sara Sorribes Tormo, before prevailing in straights.  Fernandez required three sets late Monday to get past Shelby Rogers.  When Paula and Leylah played two years ago in Auckland, the Spaniard won after two tight sets.

Alexander Bublik (31) vs. Grigor Dimitrov (33) – Bublik eliminated Andy Murray in the last round.  He is 2-1 against Dimitrov, though Grigor claimed their last meeting last August in Cincinnati.  Dimitrov was a semifinalist here last October.


Tuesday’s full Order of Play is here.

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Andrey Rublev Disqualified In Dramatic Dubai Semi-Final

Andrey Rublev was disqualified from his semi-final in Dubai.

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Andrey Rublev was disqualified from his semi-final with Alexander Bublik after being accused of swearing in Russian.

The event took place in Dubai where Rublev had more than enough opportunities to win the match having been 4-2 40-0 up in the deciding set.

However Bublik came back into the match as he caught up with Rublev in what was turning into a fascinating contest.

The score was at 6-5 Bublik when Rublev’s frustrations boiled over when he allegedly told the official at the side of the court that he was a ‘f****** moron’ in Russian.

One of the officials on the sidelines at the side of the court reported the incident and the supervisor ruled that Rublev should be defaulted.

The incident below means that Rublev will now lose all his ranking points and prize money, resulting in Rublev exiting the world’s top five.

An ending that didn’t warrant the dramatic contest and after the match Bublik agreed that the consequences, “I highly doubt Andrey said something crazy,” Bublik was quoted by Sports Illustrated.

“He’s not this kind of guy. But I guess that’s the rules. That’s what they did, they just follow the procedure.”

Bublik will hope for a smoother finish to the final when he takes on Ugo Humbert for the title.

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Andy Murray Makes Retirement Hint After 500th Hard Court Win In Dubai

Andy Murray won his 500th hard court match in Dubai, placing him fifth on the all-time list.

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Andy Murray further hinted at retirement after securing a 500th hard court win of his career in Dubai.

The former world number one picked up his second win of the year with a 4-6 7-6(5) 6-3 victory over Denis Shapovalov.

In typical Andy Murray fashion, the Brit came back from a set down to defeat the out-of-sorts Canadian as he progressed to the second round.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RUVj537F-wQ

The win means Murray now has 500 career wins on a hard court and that is an achievement the world number 67 is proud of, “It’s not bad,” Murray told the ATP website as he sits fifth on the all-time list of hard court wins.

“Obviously hard court has been a great surface for me over the years and 500 is a lot of matches so I’m very proud of that. There are not many players that have done that, so great to get to 500 before I’m done.”

However those post-match comments weren’t the most shocking ones as Murray once again hinted at retirement this season.

The Brit has made subtle remarks that this year may be his last one but Murray’s comments today suggests that he may have already made his decision, “I probably don’t have too long left but I’ll do as best as I can these last few months,” Murray was quoted by ESPN as saying.

“I still love competing and still love the game but it gets harder and harder to compete the older you get, to keep your body fit and fresh.”

If the end is near for Murray than the Brit will look to end his career on a high for the next few months.

Before thinking about retirement Murray will look to go further in Dubai when he takes on either Ugo Humbert or Gael Monfils in the second round.

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Perspective And Fatigue: The Two Sides Of Iga Swiatek’s Dubai Defeat

Iga Swiatek spoke about perspective and fatigue after her semi-final exit in Dubai.

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Iga Swiatek showed two sides to her defeat in Dubai as the world number one surprisingly failed to win the title despite being the favourite in the semi-finals.

Heading into her semi-final in Dubai, Swiatek was heavy favourite to win her second consecutive WTA title after claiming the title in Doha the week before.

However Swiatek was unsuccessful in her bid to reach the final as she lost to Anna Kalinskaya 6-4 6-4.

It was a bitterly disappointing defeat for Swiatek who missed a golden opportunity to establish even more dominance ahead of Indian Wells.

As all champions do Swiatek offered perspective to her defeat as she looks ahead to the rest of the season, “I mean, I’m angry but on the other hand, there aren’t many players that actually survive these kinds of tournaments so I just kind of have to let it go and accept it,” Swiatek was quoted by Tennis Majors.

There was not only perspective offered but also fatigue as expectations and pressure can force simple mistakes from the best players in the world.

The world number one acknowledged Kalinskaya’s performance but did admit her own performance contributed to the defeat, “Today I would say, I mean she [Kalinskaya] played well and for sure she deserves to be in the final, but I feel like it was more about me and my level,” Swiatek told Tennis Majors.

“I wanted to be focused on myself and I wasn’t really able to implement any tactics that I had. Usually, when I tell myself what to do, I can improve my game but today I was so out of power and tired that I just couldn’t. Day by day, it was a little bit worse.”

Swiatek will hope to re-energize herself ahead of the sunshine double in America.

Last year Swiatek lost to eventual champion Elena Rybakina in the semi-finals at Indian Wells before withdrawing from Miami.

The Pole will look to improve last year’s performance when she plays Indian Wells, which starts on the 6th of March.

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