Victoria Azarenka woke up just in time yesterday, rallying for a 3-6, 6-3, 6-0 victory over Belgian Kirsten Flipkens that kept her Indian Wells WTA title defence on track.
Azarenka remains unbeaten in 2013, having successfully defended her Australian Open title and her WTA Doha crown.
Even though it wasn’t her best, Azarenka said it was a gratifying victory, one that showed she’s maturing as a player.
“I’m really happy that I find the ability to turn around my matches no matter what the circumstances are on the court,” said Azarenka.
“That’s definitely what excites me the most. To know when to take your opportunities, when to do things is definitely a learning experience.”
Azarenka, who next faces unseeded Urszula Radwanska of Poland, led a parade of the top 10 seeds into the women’s round of 16 scheduled for Tuesday.
Second-seeded Maria Sharapova, Agnieszka Radwanskan and Petra Kvitova had advanced a day earlier while Angelique Kerber and Samantha Stosur qualified yesterday.
Meanwhile, Roger Federer made quick work of Ivan Dodig as he keept his Indian Wells title defence on track with a 6-3, 6-1 third-round victory over the 60th-ranked Croatian.
The 61-minutes finish may have been a godsend for the Swiss great, who said he “tweaked” his back late in the match.
However, Federer said he fully expected to be fit enough to continue his pursuit of a first title of 2013.
“I’m not too worried,” said Federer, who is set to face compatriot Stanislas Wawrinka next. “I have gone through it so many times where you feel a little tweak. You might play next day. Now this time around I have a day off, extra time.”
While Federer downplayed his back trouble, Leonardo Mayer’s back injury was bad enough to have the Argentine pulling out of his scheduled third-round match against Rafael Nadal, sending the fifth-seeded Spaniard into the round of 16 by a walkover.
That meant Nadal had a chance to rest his troublesome left knee, but cost him more of the match experience he says he needs as he continues his comeback from a seven-month injury layoff.