No.3 seed Iga Swiatek of Poland made it into the Round of 16 at the BNP Paribas Open for the second straight year after notching a comeback win over No.29 seed Clara Tauson of Denmark, 6-7(3), 6-2, 6-1.
Swiatek, 20, has now reached the Round of 16 in both of her appearances at Indian Wells, following her tournament debut last year. But the World No.4 needed 2 hours and 18 minutes to hold off surging 19-year-old Tauson, who was playing in her first BNP Paribas Open main draw.
Winning streak continues: With the win over Tauson, Swiatek has won her seventh straight match, and is undefeated at WTA 1000 events so far this season. Swiatek won the first WTA 1000 event of the year in Doha last month.
Swiatek also had to fight back from a set down in her opening round against Anhelina Kalinina, but in both matches, the Polish star came back from a close first-set loss to dominate in sets two and three.
2022 Australian Open semifinalist Swiatek has now won 17 matches so far in the season, which leads the Hologic WTA Tour this year. The Pole still has a chance to break into the Top 3 of the rankings for a new career-high after the event, depending upon results for the rest of the fortnight.
Iga speaks: "I'm pretty happy that I was able to come back again this season from one set down," Swiatek said, in her post-match press conference. "I felt like physically I'm really well prepared and I could use all my strengths, even after two hours of playing. So I'm pretty proud of that.
"The placement of [Tauson's] serve is pretty smart. It's sometimes hard to predict where she's going to serve and she's serving pretty fast, so that was tricky.
"I think you have to put pressure on her too because she likes being aggressive as well and playing fast, and her hand is pretty strong. I feel like she was hitting full power sometimes when I didn't put much pressure on her. So I need[ed] to do that."
Tale of the match: An hour-long opening frame saw Swiatek cede a break lead of 4-2 to teenage Tauson, and the Dane took advantage of her opportunity, excelling on returns to sweep the final four points of the first-set tiebreak.
But Swiatek came out on a mission in the second set, increasing her power and reaping a quick 4-1, double-break lead thanks to her big hitting. At 5-2, a forehand winner gave Swiatek her first set point, which she converted with an unreturnable serve.
2020 Roland Garros champion Swiatek dominated in the decider as well, once again going up by two breaks to 4-1. This time around, she earned a third straight break for good measure, reeling off the last six games of the affair to clinch victory.
Keys continues mastery of Riske rivalry
In an all-American clash, No.25 seed Madison Keys improved to 7-1 over Alison Riske with a 7-6(4), 6-1 win in an hour and 21 minutes on Sunday.
With the win, 2022 Australian Open semifinalist Keys matches her career-best Indian Wells result, which was a run to the Round of 16 in 2017.
Riske won their first encounter at Lexington in 2011, but since then, Keys has dominated their head-to-head, including a meeting in this year's Adelaide International 2 final.
Riske, in fact, was up a break two separate times in the opening set, but each time Keys struck back before taking control of the first-set tiebreak. It was smooth sailing through the second set for Keys, who won 77 percent of her first-service points and was a perfect 5-for-5 on break points.
Qualifier Dart tops Kanepi
Keys will next face World No.122 Harriet Dart of Great Britain. The 25-year-old qualifier Dart extended her career-best result at a WTA 1000 event by defeating former Top 15 player Kaia Kanepi of Estonia 7-6(4), 6-3 in an hour and 40 minutes.
Edging closer to a possible Top 100 debut in the very near future, Dart backed up her biggest career win by ranking in the last round, when she upset Elina Svitolina for her first victory over a Top 20 player in nine attempts against that echelon.
Against Kanepi, Dart fought back from 5-2 down in the opening set to take it into the tiebreak. Dart let a 4-0 lead in the breaker slide back to 4-4, but won the next three points to grab the one-set lead.
Kanepi saved a match point on her serve at 5-2 in the second set and held a break point to pull back on serve in the next game, but Dart held firm and converted her third match point to clinch another breakthrough victory.
Dart and Keys have faced off once before, earlier this year in the first round of Melbourne Summer Set 2. Keys won that match 6-3, 7-6(2).
Cirstea charges past Kalinskaya
In her 10th BNP Paribas Open main-draw showing, 31-year-old Sorana Cirstea is into the Round of 16 in Indian Wells for the first time. The No.26 seed from Romania defeated Anna Kalinskaya 5-7, 6-1, 6-0 on Sunday in their third-round tilt.
Veteran Cirstea is having a career resurgence over the last 12 months, including her first Hologic WTA Tour singles title in 13 years which she earned last season in Istanbul. At World No.27, she is just six spots off of her career-high ranking of No.21, which she reached in 2013.
Cirstea needed 2 hours and 22 minutes to outlast lucky loser Kalinskaya, a semifinalist in Guadalajara last month. Cirstea converted seven of her 20 break points, while fending off 10 of the 13 break points she faced.