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Swiatek crushes Collins as Rybakina withdraws from Indian Wells

World No 1 Iga Swiatek blasted American Danielle Collins 6-3 6-0, while defending champion Elena Rybakina withdrew from the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells due to illness.

Swiatek edged Collins in an epic at the Australian Open and the familiar foes appeared primed for another blockbuster when they were on serve with the Pole leading 4-3 in the first set.

But Swiatek raised her level from there, breaking to love for 5-3 and winning the final nine games to advance at the tournament she won in 2022.

“I started to make a few less mistakes, which gave Danielle a chance to make a few more,” Swiatek said.

“It’s a small difference but at the end, I was ready to play well in those important moments, on break points and stuff like that. I’m happy I kept my focus and stayed with my game, no matter what Danielle was doing on the other side of the net.”

Angelique Kerber upset 10th seed Jelena Ostapenko in the second round to land her biggest win in three years with an impressive 5-7 6-3 6-3 victory over hard-hitting Latvian Ostapenko.

The German, who returned to the tour in January after 18 months on maternity leave, fired an unreturnable serve on match point to seal her first win over a top 10 opponent since November 2021.

“This question I heard a lot, why I’m back and what gives me the motivation,” the three-times Grand Slam champion said.

“For me, the biggest motivation is the love for the sport. I love to compete, being out there today as well, having this crowd, having the emotions, this gives me everything.

“Now, having my daughter on my side, it’s even more inspiring for me to have her, and there’s something bigger than tennis as well.”

Caroline Wozniacki’s comeback will head into the weekend after the former world No 1 and 2011 champion toppled Donna Vekic 7-6 (7-5) 6-3.

“Donna is the best. I love Donna. We hang out all the time. We’re neighbours in Monaco. We go out to dinners. We practice together. It’s always tough to play a friend. I thought we played a really good match. One of us had to win. Sorry Donna, but I’m happy that it’s me today,” said 33-year-old Wozniacki.

Fourth-seeded Rybakina, who was set to play her first match of the tournament against Nadia Podoroska of Argentina, withdrew on Friday afternoon due to illness.

“It is with great sadness I must announce, I will not be able to participate at this years’ Indian Wells tournament due to gastrointestinal issues,” Rybakina said in a statement. “Those close to me know how much this tournament means to me and how much I wanted to come back and defend my title.

“I would like to thank all the fans who come out here to support me and I am sorry they will not get a chance to see me play this year. Now I will rest and recover so I can come out and play and compete for my fans to the best of my abilities once again.”

She was replaced in the singles draw by lucky loser Kayla Day.

Rybakina joins a list of last minute withdrawals from the tournament including 2021 champion Paula Badosa, who pulled out on Thursday due to an ongoing back injury.

Three-time champion Rafa Nadal withdrew on the eve of his first round match on Wednesday saying he was not ready to compete at the highest level.

Brits in action on Saturday

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Emma Raducanu says she appreciated the support of the American crowd during her comfortable first-round win over Rebeka Masarova at Indian Wells

Emma Raducanu returns to action when the former US Open champion takes on 30th seed Dayana Yastremska at 7pm on Court 3 – live on Sky Sports Tennis.

British No 1 and 2021 champion Cameron Norrie faces world No 55 Lorenzo Sonego at the same time over on Court 4.

How to watch play on Sky Sports Tennis

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