WTA roundup: Angelique Kerber continues returning to form at Indian Wells

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Germany’s Angelique Kerber turned back the clock on Sunday, capturing a 6-4, 7-5 upset of 17th-seeded Russian Veronika Kudermetova in the third round of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, Calif.

Kerber, who once reached the No. 1 spot in the world rankings in 2016, overcame a 2-0 deficit in the first set and held steady during a back-and-forth second to knock off Kudermetova. Kerber saved seven of 11 break points.

“I think it was a really intense match,” Kerber said. “It’s another important match-win for me, for sure, and gives me confidence for the next rounds. … I think (I’m) on a good way to again playing good tennis against the best players.”

Sunday’s victory was icing on the cake of an already impressive run at Indian Wells in which Kerber also ousted No. 10 seed Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia.

It’s been a long road back for Kerber, who gave birth to a daughter in February 2023. Upon returning from maternity leave, Kerber lost six of seven matches to open the season, but she is now starting to find a groove again.

“I love to compete, you know,” Kerber said. “Having this crowd, to having the emotions, this gives me everything.”

Also taking over the spotlight on Sunday was No. 1 seed Iga Swiatek of Poland, a 6-4, 6-0 winner over 26th-seeded Czech Linda Noskova. In the next round, Swiatek will face Kazakhstan’s Yulia Putintseva, who upended No. 18 seed Madison Keys of the United States 6-4, 6-1.

“I had to kind of change some negative thoughts that I had into just thinking that I wasn’t thinking about just waiting for my chances,” Swiatek said about her mindset on Sunday. “I knew that I’m experienced enough to just, you know, hold it together and not really let myself let these negative thoughts win. So I just did that.”

Other winners Sunday included 13th-seeded Italian Jasmine Paolini and Russia’s Anastasia Potapova, the No. 28 seed. Paolini downed No. 21 Anna Kalinskaya of Russia 6-3, 3-6, 6-4, while Potapova crushed Argentine Nadia Podoroska, 6-1, 6-1.

In the penultimate match of the night, Denmark’s Caroline Wozniacki bested Katie Volynets of the United States 6-2, 4-6, 6-0 in 2 hours, 10 minutes.

Wozniacki will face Kerber in the fourth round.

In the final match, Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, the No. 22 seed, upset No. 12 seed Beatriz Haddad Maia of Brazil 2-6, 6-4, 6-3.