Indian Wells: Two times BNP Paribas Open champion Victoria Azarenka made it into the final four for the fourth time with a straight-sets win over Jessica Pegula. making her first WTA 1000 semifinal with victory over Anett Kontaveit at the BNP Paribas Open, Ons Jabeur will move into the Top 10 WTA singles rankings.
Ons Jabeur eases past Kontaveit
No.12 seed Jabeur beats 18th seeded Anett Kontaveit on Estonia, 7-5, 6-3, to enter the semifinals of Indian Wells and also guaranteeing herself a spot in the world’s top 10 singles rankings. Badosa beats Kerber to semis.
Also, by cracking the final four in the California desert, Jabeur is into the semifinals of a WTA 1000 event for the first time in her career. Her three previous appearances in a WTA 1000 quarterfinal ended in defeat.
Ons Jabeur: “Honestly a great match, great fight,” Jabeur said, in her post-match press conference. “Always tough to play against Anett. I tried to play my game little bit, but she knows me so well. It was kind of tough to kind of execute those dropshots.
“I’m pretty glad that I stayed calm when I needed to be. It was very stressful at the end. But I’m glad that I got the win and looking forward to play. Why not get the title here?”
“Top 10 I know is the beginning,” Jabeur continued. “I know I deserve this place from a long time since I was playing well. But I want to prove that I deserve to be here, I deserve to be one of the Top 10 players.
“There is a lot of things that I need to improve. I’m very happy, a lot of emotions right now, but I’m still in competition so I’m trying to calm down and not overthink about Top 10. Probably will celebrate after the tournament. I just believed in myself, I worked hard, and this is just the beginning of great things.”
With some fantastic forehand play Jabeur propelled to an early 4-1 lead, However, her Opponent Kontaveit stayed firm, saving three break points to prevent Jabeur from taking the further lead. Kontaveit stymied Jabeur when the Tunisian served for the set at 5-4, using a sterling return to reach break point, then taking advantage of a drop shot misfire to pull back level at 5-5.
Jabeur, though, did not flinch and stayed aggressive in the next game, pounding a forehand winner down the line to break Kontaveit once more for a 6-5 lead. Serving for the set for a second time, Jabeur would not be denied again, and she briskly held on for the one-set advantage.
Jabeur took the lead for good by breaking Kontaveit at love to lead 4-3 in the second set. Kontaveit nearly got the break right back, but Jabeur fended off two break points to consolidate her lead for 5-3. The Tunisian closed out the win with another break for good measure, collecting the last four games of the encounter to notch another milestone win.
Indian Wells: Azarenka still active for her third Indian Wells title.
The former World No.1 Azarenka, who won the Indian Wells title in 2012 and 2016, took 1 hour and 34 minutes to end Pegula’s run and reach the semis of this event for the fourth time in her career.
Victoria Azarenka: “I thought it was a really good match,” Azarenka said in her post-match press conference. “Very high quality from both players. Very consistent in terms of level for me. I felt that I really played well in the crucial moments. I felt like I stepped up a lot to the occasion. That’s what I’m really happy with today.
“I started going for my shots from the beginning. I knew I have to apply pressure on her, and I will have the moment where I will have opportunity. I think in the beginning of the match we had a lot of great rallies, a lot of points where I was like, ‘Oh, maybe I got this one,’ and she got me. I felt that I really just stuck to being aggressive and being consistent. I got my opportunities.”
Azarenka took the lead in the fifth game of the match in a big-hitting rally that belonged in her favor, giving her trio of breakpoints. She converted right away the first chance of getting a 3-2 advantage. Ostapenko fires 51 winners to cut lose Rogers.
On the other end, Pegula used her backhands nicely to fend two set points before holding for 5-4. However, Victoria took the set with an unreturned serve in the next game. Having three more winners than Azarenka in the first set, Pegula also had four more unforced errors.
After an early exchange of breaks in the first two games of the second set, Azarenka once again broke for 3-2, this time on her fifth breakpoint of a critical 11-minute game. Azarenka eased to 5-2 from there, where she served for the match.
In that game, Azarenka was forced to stave off two break points, but outstanding serving at that crucial juncture helped her grit out the game and move into the Indian Wells semifinals once again.
Azarenka had 21 winners to 18 unforced errors in the match, while Pegula’s 27 winners were outpaced by 30 unforced errors. Overall, Azarenka won a sterling 81 percent of her first-service points, and she converted five of her 13 breakpoints.