Tennis: Swiatek dominates at BNP Paribas Open; Murray advances

AP , Sunday 12 Mar 2023

Top-ranked Iga Swiatek routed Claire Liu in 65 minutes to win her opening match at the BNP Paribas Open on Saturday.

Iga Swiatek
Iga Swiatek of Poland returns a shot to Claire Liu of the United States during the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden on March 11, 2023 in Indian Wells, California. AFP

 

Swiatek, the defending champion who took over the No. 1 ranking nearly a year ago, won 6-0, 6-1. She lost just seven points in the first set.

“Tactically and tennis-wise, everything was on point,” she said. “I had so many matches that were going my way in last couple of weeks that I know what to do.”

Carlos Alcaraz, the second-ranked men's player, defeated qualifier Thanasi Kokkinakis, 6-3, 6-3. Alcaraz reached the semifinals in the desert last year and could return to the No. 1 spot for the first time since January if he wins the title.

Taylor Fritz, the defending men's champion, rallied past former NCAA singles champion Ben Shelton, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3.

Shelton’s biggest serve reached 147 mph.

“I expected him to come out serving bombs, playing well,” Fritz said. "I was ready for it, I just had to regroup, just find a way and problem solve. He’s an incredible player and it was an extremely tough first match to come out and play, so I’m happy to get through it.”

Andy Murray beat Radu Albot, 6-4, 6-3 in his first straight-set victory of the year to set up a third-round match with Jack Draper. Murray had just 18 unforced errors to 35 for Albot, and never faced a break point on his serve while firing six aces.

“Hopefully I can keep pushing myself up the rankings, keep building that confidence, and maybe get a few more straightforward draws, as well,” Murray said.

Jannik Sinner defeated Richard Gasquet, 6-3, 7-6 (2). The 21-year-old Sinner fired 20 forehand winners against the 36-year-old veteran.

“Obviously it was a tough match today, especially in the beginning I was a little bit tight,” Sinner said on court.

Another 21-year-old, Draper, beat No. 24 Dan Evans, 6-4, 6-2. Draper has lost just eight games through his first two matches of his Indian Wells debut.

No. 10 Felix Auger-Aliassime reached the third round with a 7-6 (5), 6-4 win over Pedro Martinez.

Emma Raducanu, the 2021 U.S. Open champion, beat No. 20 Magda Linette, 7-6 (3), 6-2. Linette, a semifinalist at the Australian Open, got an early service break, but Raducanu jumped on her serve and tied it, 5-all, before forcing the tiebreaker.

“I was so pleased with the way I fought. Because Magda played at a really high level,” Raducanu said. “Like some things that were working in the past weren’t working today, and I adapted.”

No. 5 Carolina Garcia outlasted Dalma Galfi, 6-1, 6-7 (4), 6-4. Eighth-seeded Daria Kasatkina beat Tatjana Maria, 6-2, 6-1.

Karolina Muchova beat two-time Indian Wells champion Victoria Azarenka, 7-6 (1), 6-3 while attacking the net in swirling wind conditions. Muchova is back after injuries curtailed her last year.

Other seeded players joining Azarenka on the sidelines were No. 25 Petra Martic and No. 28 Marie Bouzkova.

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