Novak Djokovic withdraws from the Miami Open

Novak Djokovic withdraws from the Miami Open
Novak Djokovic withdraws from the Miami Open

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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - INDIAN WELLS: Reigning Grand Slam champions Jannik Sinner and Carlos Alcaraz turned in dominating performances on Sunday to roll into the fourth round of the ATP-WTA Indian Wells Masters.

The two hottest young racquets in the sport showed no mercy in quickfire victories with Australian Open champion Sinner overwhelming Jan-Lennard Struff 6-3, 6-4.

“Almost perfect” Alcaraz, the reigning Wimbledon champion, stepped up his 2023 title defense with a 6-2, 6-3 victory over Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime.

The world No. 2 Spaniard allowed his Canadian opponent no room to move, reaching the fourth round with his eighth match win in a row at the event.

“It was almost the perfect match for me,” said Alcaraz, who broke Auger-Aliassime’s serve four times. “I moved well, played aggressive and had less mistakes.”

Sinner was equally ruthless as he attacked Struff, with the Italian winning his 17th match in succession dating to his country’s Davis Cup victory in November.

Both of the young guns needed barely an hour and a quarter to claim their victories.

Sinner fired 27 winners past Struff, whose style gave the third seed a target on court.

“We prepared very well, I tried to learn his moves,” Sinner said. “I played well and served well under pressure.

“Overall I can be really happy about today, I felt really good on the court.”

Alcaraz won the last five games of the opening set and broke to start the second on his way to repeating his win over Auger-Aliassime from the 2023 quarter-finals.

The second seed finished off victory on his first match point as Auger-Aliassime hit the net with his 23rd unforced error.

It was a welcome show of strength from Alcaraz, who hasn’t won a title since winning his second Grand Slam with a stunning triumph over Novak Djokovic at the All England Club last year.

He exited the Australian Open in the quarterfinals then lost in the semifinals at Buenos Aires last month before spraining his ankle and retiring from his opening match in Rio de Janeiro.

“I played at a really high level of tennis, so much higher than the first round,” the Spaniard said. “Hopefully (I’ll) keep climbing (raising) my level.”

Alcaraz may still be feeling the effects of the ankle, which has left him short of 2024 match play.

“My confidence has gone down a little bit, I’ve been struggling during the practice every day,” he admitted. “I’m trying to keep my confidence as high as I can.”

In other matches, Australian Alex de Minaur, seeded 10th, dominated finalist Alexander Bublik 7-5, 6-0.

Greek 11th-seed Stefanos Tsitsipas eliminated a home crowd favorite with his 6-3, 6-3 defeat of Frances Tiafoe, who reached the Californian quarters a year ago.

“I’m happy with this victory because I had a good start,” former top-10 player Tsitsipas said. “I maintained that throughout the match.

“Of course he was going to fight back at some point and present a more difficult challenge for me in the second set, but I fought back.

“I held serve, and I stayed really committed to what I was doing.”

In WTA play, Iga Swiatek claimed quick revenge for a January loss as she hammered Czech Linda Noskova 6-4, 6-0 to reach the fourth round.

The Polish top seed was defeated by the 29th-ranked challenger in an Australian Open third-round upset.

On Sunday, world number one Swiatek quickly recovered after going down an early break to the 19-year-old, levelling at 4-all and sweeping through the remainder of the third-round match.

Swiatek will next face Kazakh Yulia Putintseva, who beat Madison Keys 6-4, 6-1.

The Pole said she learned from her loss to Noskova in Melbourne.

“It was much smarter to think about how to just play against Linda rather than focusing on my mistakes,” she said. “I was motivated to just play better and not make the same mistakes but to improve my game in some aspects.”

Swiatek said that despite winning the last 10 games of the match, she will not depend on that kind of superlative form. “I wouldn’t say I felt like I’m in a roll, because I was still so focused. I know that players can easily switch the momentum back.”

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