Indian Wells, March 12 (AP) – Leader Iga Swiatek beat Claire Liu in 65 minutes to win her opening match at Saturday’s BNP Paribas Open.
Swiatek, the defending champions who took the No. 1 ranking almost a year ago, won 6-0, 6-1. She lost just seven points in the first set.
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“Everything was right in terms of tactics and tennis,” she said. “I’ve had so many games come my way over the past few weeks that I know what to do.”
Carlos Alcaraz, the men’s second-placed player, defeated qualifier Thanasi Kokkinakis 6-3, 6-3. Alcaraz reached the semifinals in the desert last year and could return to No. 1 for the first time since January if he wins the title.
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Defending men’s champion Taylor Fritz saw off former NCAA singles champion Ben Shelton 4-6 6-4 6-3.
Shelton’s biggest serve reached 147 mph.
“I expected him to serve bombs and play well,” Fritz said. “I was ready for it, I just had to regroup, just find a way and solve problems. He’s an incredible player and it was an extremely tough first game to come out and play, so I’m glad I got through it have.”
Andy Murray defeated Radu Albot 6-4, 6-3 in his first straight win of the year, setting 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 serve while firing six aces.
“Hopefully I can move up the rankings, build that confidence and maybe get some more direct draws too,” Murray said.
Jannik Sinner defeated Richard Gasquet 6:3, 7:6 (2). The 21-year-old Sinner shot 20 forehand winners against the 36-year-old veteran.
“Of course it was a tough match today, especially at the beginning I was a bit tight,” said Sinner on the pitch.
Another 21-year-old, Draper, beat No. 24 Dan Evans, 6-4, 6-2. Draper has lost just eight games in his first two games of his Indian Wells debut.
No. 10 Felix Auger-Aliassime advanced to the third round with a 7-6(5), 6-4 win over Pedro Martinez.
Emma Raducanu, the 2021 US Open champion, defeated No. 20 Magda Linette 7-6(3), 6-2. Linette, a semifinalist at the Australian Open, got an early break of serve but Raducanu jumped on hers Served and equalized, 5-all, before forcing the tiebreak.
“I was so happy with the way I fought. Because Magda played at a really high level,” Raducanu said. “Just like some things that worked in the past didn’t work 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 defeated 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 limited her last year.
Other seeded players who joined Azarenka on the touchline were No. 25 Petra Martic and No. 28 Marie Bouzkova. AP AM
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