Jabeur defeated at Indian Wells as Swiatek sets up fourth-round clash with Raducanu

Tunisian fourth seed beaten in second match since returning from knee surgery, while Sabalenka and Krejcikova prepare for first rematch since Dubai quarter-finals

Ons Jabeur lost to Marketa Vondrousova in the third round of the Indian Wells Masters. Getty
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Ons Jabeur's first tournament back from injury ended at the second hurdle on Monday night as the Tunisian fourth seed was defeated in the third round of the Indian Wells Masters.

Jabeur, absent from the tour since the end of January to undergo knee surgery, was defeated 7-6, 6-4 by Czech Republic's Marketa Vondrousova – the same player who eliminated Jabeur from the Australian Open second round prior to her enforced break.

The world No 4 admitted after her second-round win against Magdalena Frech – her first match of the tournament having received a bye – that it was "probably too early to come back" to competition, but that didn't seem the case after the first three games against Vondrousova as Jabeur raced into a 3-0 lead.

However, a significant drop occurred from that position of strength, with Jabeur losing five straight games to hand her opponent control of the first set. The Tunisian regrouped to claim back a break and held serve for 5-5 before Vondrousova claimed the one-set lead in a competitive tiebreak.

From there, Vondrousova seized immediate control of the second set, again winning five straight games but this time for a 5-1 lead. The Czech's first opportunity to serve out the victory came and went as Jabeur saved three match points to break back, then saved another two on her own serve to apply the pressure on Vondrousova at 5-4.

The former French Open finalist made no mistake at the second attempt, closing out the win with a love service hold to set up an all-Czech fourth-round clash with Karolina Muchova.

Swiatek sets up Raducanu showdown

Iga Swiatek overcame former US Open champion Bianca Andreescu 6-3, 7-6 to reach the fourth round and set up a meeting with Emma Raducanu, who scored her biggest win since her own run to the Flushing Meadows title.

Top seed Swiatek has been in superb form on hardcourts since the Australian Open, capturing the Doha title and reaching the final in Dubai, and the Polish player looked set for another comfortable win after cruising through the opening set.

The reigning US Open champion found herself in trouble at 2-4 in the next set but battled back to close out the match in the tiebreak.

"[Andreescu] changed the rhythm pretty well and with this surface it can get tough," Swiatek, 21, said. "But I'm pretty happy I was solid most of the times, at least.

"And that I could be recomposed in the tiebreak because I really knew that I could get my focus up. I'm even glad that I got a chance to kind of play under pressure some more and see how I'm going to cope with it."

Unseeded Raducanu, who has been sidelined by injuries and illnesses that have kept her out of action since the Australian Open, earlier beat 13th seed Beatriz Haddad Maia 6-1, 2-6, 6-4.

The victory was the Briton's best by ranking since her surprise Flushing Meadows title in 2021 and just the second time since that US Open run she has strung together three consecutive match wins.

It was a disappointing day for Leylah Fernandez, who Raducanu beat in the final two years ago, as the Canadian fell 6-4, 6-7, 6-1 to fifth seed Caroline Garcia.

Even though the match required three sets and nearly two-and-a-half hours to determine a winner, the fifth-seeded Garcia was rarely under pressure from her opponent, who managed just two break chances and could not convert either.

Australian Open winner Aryna Sabalenka will take on Dubai champion Barbora Krejcikova on Tuesday. The pair met in the Dubai quarter-finals last month, where Krejcikova ended Sabalenka's unbeaten start to the season.

Updated: March 14, 2023, 6:31 AM