Indian Wells: Swiatek rolls past Claire Liu in opener; Rybakina holds off Kenin

Indian Wells (USA), March 12 (IANS) Defending champion Iga Swiatek eased into the round of the Indian Wells Masters with a comfortable 6-0, 6-1 victory over American Claire Liu.

The world No. 1 won the first 11 games of the match before easing to victory in just over an hour, the fifth time this season she’s dropped just one game in winning a match.

With Saturday’s victory, Swiatek improved to 13-3 in the 2023 season. Interestingly, all 13 of those wins have come in straight sets.

The top seed will next face 2019 US Open champion Bianca Andreescu in a battle of former Indian Wells champions. Swiatek won the only previous meeting with Andreescu, a 7-6(2), 6-0 win over the Canadian en route to the Rome title last year.

In other actions, Australian Open finalist Elena Rybakina won the battle of major champions, edging Sofia Kenin in two tiebreaks to advance to the third round of the tournament.

The No.10-seeded Rybakina handed Kenin a 7-6(6), 7-6(5) loss to advance to Monday’s third round. There she’ll meet the winner of the match between No.21 Paula Badosa and Nuria Parrizas Diaz.

On the other hand, Ons Jabeur of Tunisia pulled off a come-from-behind victory in the second round, defeating Polish lucky loser Magdalena Frech 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 on Saturday night.

Saturday marked Tunisian’s first match since a second-round loss to Marketa Vondrousova at the Australian Open in January. Jabeur, the most accomplished Arab player of the Open Era, had to miss the entire Middle East swing after undergoing minor knee surgery.

Jabeur, an Indian Wells semifinalist in 2021, now has a chance to exact some revenge in the third round, where she will face Vondrousova.

–IANS

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