Swiatek keeps nerve to fight past Noskova

World No 1 Iga Swiatek kept her nerve to beat 26th-ranked Linda Noskova of the Czech Republic 6-7 (7-9), 6-4, 6-4 at the WTA Miami Open on Sunday.

A day after Swiatek’s closest challenger, Aryna Sabalenka, was knocked out of the tournament, the Pole faced a real test from Noskova.

The Czech had upset Swiatek in the third round of the Australian Open before the four-time Grand Slam winner gained revenge at Indian Wells.

The third meeting this year between the pair was, not surprisingly, a tight affair.

Having worked hard to recover from her opening set tie-break loss and taken the match into a deciding frame, Swiatek found herself facing three break points when serving for the match up 5-4.

But she stepped up her game to win the next five points and celebrated with a fist-pumping gesture to her box.

Swiatek will face 14th seed Ekaterina Alexandrova in the round of 16 on Monday. Alexandrova went through with a 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 win over fellow Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.

France’s Caroline Garcia progressed to a fourth-round match against world No 3 Coco Gauff with a 7-6 (7/4), 7-5 win Sunday over Naomi Osaka.

It was a hard-hitting match with the pair sharing 28 aces and Osaka had to fight to take the first set to a tie-break, saving three set points.

Garcia secured the tie-break with forehand winner, but found herself trailing Osaka 4-2 in the second before breaking back.

With Osaka serving at 5-all, Garcia forced two break points, converting the second.

Reigning US Open champion Gauff was down 4-2 in the first set to France’s Oceane Dodin before winning 10 straight games and running out a 6-4, 6-0 winner. Gauff said she expected a difficult game against Garcia.

“She’s tough. We all know how she plays. Takes the ball super early, plays very aggressive,” she said. Fifth-seeded American Jessica Pegula beat Canada’s Leylah Fernandez 7-5, 6-4 to set up a fourth round clash with in-form compatriot Emma Navarro.

Fernandez broke to take a 5-3 lead in the first set but Pegula responded perfectly, winning four straight games to take the set, bringing spectators to their feet with a backhand winner down the line to clinch the set.

Both players struggled to hold serve in the second set, with the first seven games going against serve, but Pegula finally held to go 5-3 up and she held the final game to love to secure the win.ered only by Swiatek, Navarro is enjoying te said. – SuperSport


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