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Sabalenka, Jabeur upset in second-round Indian Wells action

World No 3 Aryna Sabalenka, who came into the Indian Wells and Miami stretch with a chance to become world No 1, was defeated by 46th ranked Jasmine Paolini

Aryna Sabalenka plays against Jasmine Paolini at the BNP Paribas open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. Aryna Sabalenka plays against Jasmine Paolini at the BNP Paribas open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. Image Credit: AI / Reuters / Panoramic

WTA BNP Paribas Open Indian Wells 2022 | Results | Schedule

Three top 10 seeds were knocked out of the women’s draw at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells on Saturday with second seed Aryna Sabalenka and ninth seed Ons Jabeur both losing in three sets.

Sabalenka, who was the top seed in the draw after top-ranked Ash Barty and second-ranked Barbora Krejcikova both withdrew, was defeated 2-6, 6-3, 6-3 by world No 46 Jasmine Paolini. The Italian scored her first ever top 10 career win, after being 0-3 against top 10 players in the past.

It also marked Paolini’s second win in three career meetings against Sabalenka, who came into the Sunshine double (Indian Wells and Miami events) with a chance to become world No. 1. After lingering around the top 100 up until 12 months ago, the 26-year-old Paolini has surged in the rankings after winning her first title in Slovenia in September, reaching the semi-finals in Courmayeur, Italy, and the quarter-finals in Linz and Lyon – all in the past year.

Paolini credits video work analysis for surge in results and rankings

The Italian credited her work with a video tennis analyst, who has helped improve her game and her confidence on hardcourts.

“I think I have more confidence on hard courts. I work a lot with – I don’t know how is – a guy who make video analysis. That I think was the key. (I worked on ) the serve and the forehand. I didn’t work on the match analysis, I work on the shot, you know? I try to open a little bit less and lower the forehand.”

“Before, last year, I didn’t believe that I could play also on hard courts. So I was playing pretty well on clay courts, but I had difficulties on hard courts. Now I think I believe that I can play also here. So I think that’s the key. More tournaments are on hard courts instead of clay courts. I have more chances to do points. That gave me confidence I think during the year.”

Ninth seed Jabeur was also knocked out with the Tunisian losing to Australian qualifier Daria Saville, who scored a 7-5, 6-7(0), 6-4 for her first Top 10 win since undergoing achilles surgery in February 2021.

The win was another big confidence booster for Saville, who beat US Open champion Emma Raducanu in Guadalajara and beat Lyon champion Zhang Shuai in the first round here.

10th seed Jelena Ostapenko and 14th seed Jessica Pegula also exited the singles draw on Saturday. Dubai champion Ostapenko was beaten by American Shelby Rogers 7-5, 7-6 while Pegula was defeated by Marie Bouzkova 5-7, 6-2, 6-0.

• Seeds who won (2nd round) : Swiatek (3), Kontaveit (4), Badosa (5), Sakkari (6), Ostapenko (10), Raduanu (11), Azarenka (13), Kerber (15), Gauff (16), Rybakina (17), Fernandez (18), Mertens (20), Kasatkina (23), Halep (24), Keys (25), Cirstea (26), Kvitova (27), Samsonova (28), Tauson (29), Vondrousova (30), Golubic (31), Sorribes Tormo (32)

• Seeds who lost (2nd round) : Sabalenka (2, vs Paolini), Pliskova (7, vs Kovinic), Muguruza (8, vs Riske), Jabeur (9, vs Saville), Svitolina (12, vs Dart), Azarenka (13), Pegula (14 vs Bouzkova), Zidansek (19, vs Martic), Bencic (22, vs Kanepi)

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