• March 20, 2023

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Top seeds, Andy Murray, Leylah Fernandez among those to exit in fourth round at Indian Wells

Upsets dominated the fourth round at the BNP Paribas Open on Tuesday, with four top-five seeds getting dismissed in consecutive sets. Andy Murray and US Open runner-up Leylah Fernandez were knocked out, too.

No. 2 Iga Swiatek, the highest remaining women’s seed, lost to No. 24 Jelena Ostapenko 6-4, 6-3. Ostapenko rallied from a break down in both sets on a day when the weather calmed down from the rain and wind that affected some of Monday’s matches.

Top-seeded Karolina Pliskova was upset a day earlier, when she lost to Beatriz Haddad Maia 6-3, 7-5. Haddah Maia wasn’t able to follow up her big win, offering little resistance in losing to Anett Kontaveit 6-0, 6-2.

No. 3 Barbora Krejcikova was beaten by 21st-seeded Paula Badosa 6-1, 7-5.

American Jessica Pegula routed No. 5 Elina Svitolina 6-1, 6-1 to reach the quarterfinals for the first time at Indian Wells. Pegula connected on 70% of her serves and won 22 of 26 first-serve points in the 68-minute match. She didn’t face a break point.

“Really solid win. Didn’t make a lot of errors and was still aggressive. Played the big points well,” Pegula said. “I’ve just been really mentally tough this week. I’ve been fighting for every single point.”

Fernandez had five double faults in losing to Shelby Rogers 2-6, 6-1, 7-6 (4). Rogers stunned world No. 1 Ash Barty in the third round at last month’s Open before falling to eventual champion Emma Raducanu in the fourth round.

“It was an incredible battle,” Rogers said. “We both played really well at times, and it was a sort of tug-of-war kind of match and one that’s really fun to play. The crowd was into it on both sides.”

Fernandez and partner Coco Gauff later lost 7-5, 6-4 to Su-Wei Hsieh and Elise Mertens in the doubles quarterfinals.

Former top-ranked Victoria Azarenka ended the run of Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-3 6-4. Sanovich had defeated major winners Raducanu and Simona Halep in back-to-back matches to reach the fourth round.

On the men’s side, American Taylor Fritz beat No. 5 Matteo Berrettini 6-4, 6-3. Karen Khachanov defeated No. 12 Pablo Carreno Busta 6-0, 6-4.

No. 3 Alexander Zverev and No. 6 Casper Ruud survived the onslaught of upsets.

Zverev defeated Murray 6-4, 7-6 (4), with each man firing eight aces. Ruud outlasted Lloyd Harris 6-7 (4), 6-4, 6-4.

A frustrated Murray tossed his racket at the end of the tiebreaker. He was seeking his first victory over a top-5 player since 2016. But Zverev, the gold medalist at the Tokyo Olympics, had won 18 of his previous 19 matches.

“There was no sort of consistency,” Murray stated. “It was either good or bad.”

Murray received a wild card into the event as he continues on the comeback trail. He had hip surgery in 2018 and injured his groin in March.

Fritz earned his seventh career win versus a top-10 player, winning not far from where he grew up in the Los Angeles area.

“I’ve been looking for some better results in these big events for a bit. I’ve let more than a couple slip away from me,” Fritz said. “I’m pretty comfortable here. I feel if anything more confident here because it’s close to home and the crowd is always great for me here.”

Jannik Sinner advanced via walkover versus American John Isner.

Steve Carr

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