Former champion Victoria Azarenka cruised on a day when the BNP Paribas Open was left reeling from the shocking upset of World No. 2 and 2009 runner-up Andy Murray. The Belarusian, seeded 13th, prevailed 6-4, 6-3 over Australian Open quarter-finalist Shuai Zhang to enter the fourth round.
The former World No. 1, who started her season with a title at Brisbane, was in impeccable form as she thundered 27 winners past the Chinese wildcard, who had stunned Caroline Wozniacki in the earlier round. This is the fifth time that Azarenka reached the second week at the Indian Wells Garden.
Up next for her is the 2011 US Open champion Samantha Stosur who staved off a stiff challenge from American Christina McHale 6-4, 2-6, 6-4.
Bouchard’s run ends, Kasatkina advances
There were contrasting fortunes for two youngsters on Monday. While the resurgent Eugenie Bouchard’s fight ended, 18-year-old Daria Kasatkina kept her memorable campaign going on her Indian Wells debut.
Russian Kasatkina even faced a match point as Puerto Rican Monica Puig made a spirited comeback to lead 5-4 in the third set. But the World No. 48 showed exceptional determination to carve out the 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(2) victory in the end.
2015 French Open semi-finalist and 12th seed Timea Bacsinszky overcame a mid-match tumble and a superb fightback from Bouchard in the second set to post a 6-2, 5-7, 6-2 win.
Bacsinszky and Kasatkina meet each other in the fourth round.
Earlier in the day, 18th seed Karolina Pliskova beat former champion Ana Ivanovic while seventh seed Belinda Bencic succumbed to Magdalena Rybarikova in three sets. Ninth seed Roberta Vinci and 25th seed Johanna Konta also progressed.
ATP – Wawrinka, Berdych win
While Federico Delbonis stopped Andy Murray, other big title contenders did not have any such trouble as both Stan Wawrinka and Tomas Berdych made their way into the fourth round with straight-set wins.
French Open champion Wawrinka had the slightly tougher job of the two as the third seed managed to subdue the fiery Andrey Kuznetsov 6-4, 7-6(5). This was the 15th match win in 2016 for the Swiss who has already won two titles at Chennai and Dubai.
He will square off against the 15th seed David Goffin for a place in the quarter-finals.
2013 semi-finalist and sixth-seeded Berdych had to overcome a superb second-set display from the 19-year-old Borna Coric to triumph 6-1, 7-6(3).
The Czech has a tough task next as he will be facing the 12th seed Milos Raonic. Berdych is 2-3 against the Canadian in their head-to-head record.
Others who booked their places in the fourth round included 10th seed Marin Cilic and 13th seed Gael Monfils. The Frenchman’s compatriot, 8th seeded Richard Gasquet was put to a stern test by 26th seed Alexandr Dolgopolov but Gasquet emerged victorious, 2-6, 6-2, 6-1.Published 15 Mar 2016, 20:09 IST