Indian Wells D5 wrap: Lehecka rolls Rublev

THOUGH the majority of results went as expected, Czech Jiri Lehecka ripped up the script when he sent fifth seed Russian Andrey Rublev packing from Indian Wells. Reaching the Round of 16, Lehecka remains one of only two players outside the top 16 in the bottom half of the draw.

The win allowed the 22-year-old to level his head-to-head against the top five talent, having also beaten him in Doha last year. However the result reverses that of the last time the two faced off – at Indian Wells 12 months ago – when Rublev won in straight sets to advance to the third round. This time, it was Lehecka getting through in two, winning 6-4 6-4.

Rublev incredibly only served one ace for the match as Lehecka powered nine, only dropping two points off his first serve, and winning 63 per cent of his second serve points as well. The normally strong Rublev only won 64 per cent of his first serve points, and while he recovered well off his second serve – 62 per cent – did not create a break point himself, and was broken twice by the 32nd seed.

“This was our fourth meeting, so we both kind of knew what we should expect” Lehecka said post-match. Last year, I beat him once. But last year here in Indian Wells, I lost easily. So that was something I needed to improve. “I was looking back to the match, trying to see what I did wrong. Of course, the thing is that I’m a bit of a different player now.”

Both of Lehecka’s top five wins have come against Rublev now, having hit 31 winners in the 93 minutes on court to the Russian’s eight for the match.

“I feel more confident and I think that my game also improved. So I knew that I needed to be the one who will hit hard first and that worked well for me today,” Lehecka said. “I tried to focus on my serve, not to give him much freedom. And it worked well.”

Lehecka will now take on 11th seeded Greek talent Stefanos Tsitsipas who defeated local hope Frances Tiafoe comfortably in straight sets. In other results, second seed Carlos Alcaraz cruised through to the next stage to take on the last remaining unseeded player in the bottom half of the draw – Fabian Marozsan – while Alexander Zverev and Alex de Minaur will do battle in the other match for that quarter.

In the remaining two matches, Italian third seed and Australian Open champion Jannik Sinner advanced past Jan-Lennard Struff to take on highest ranked remaining American, Ben Shelton in the Round of 16. Shelton knocked off 22nd seed Francisco Cerundolo in a three set epic, 7-6 3-6 7-6 to make his way into the fourth round.


[2] Carlos Alcaraz (ESP) defeated [31] Felix Auger-Aliassime (CAN) 6-2 6-3
[3] Jannik Sinner (ITA) defeated [25] Jan-Lennard Struff (GER) 6-3 6-4
[32] Jiri Lehecka (CZE) defeated [5] Andrey Rublev (RUS) 6-4 6-4
[6] Alexander Zverev (GER) defeated [27] Tallon Griekspoor (NED) 7-6 6-3
[10] Alex de Minaur (AUS) defeated [20] Alexander Bublik (KAZ) 7-5 6-0
[11] Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE) defeated [18] Frances Tiafoe (USA) 6-3 6-3
[16] Ben Shelton (USA) defeated [22] Francisco Cerundolo (ARG) 7-6 3-6 7-6
Fabian Marozsan (HUN) defeated [Q] Thiago Seyboth Wild (BRA) 6-2 6-3

While the men’s singles went largely as planned, the women’s singles saw upsets galore. Just three of the eight players ranked higher than their opponent won through to the next round, and only five of the eight players remaining in the top half of the draw are seeded.

While number one seed Iga Swiatek avenged her loss to Linda Noskova at the Australian Open with a 6-4 6-0 thrashing of the youngster in the third round of Indian Wells, few other results were as expected. In a throwback to year’s gone by, former stars Caroline Wozniacki and Angelique Kerber both won through to the next stage to face each other, while unseeded Kazakh Yulia Putintseva ended the run of local hope Madison Keys.

Marta Kostyuk received a walkover against seventh seeded Marketa Vondrousova, leaving 13th seeded Jasmine Paolini as the second highest ranked player in the top half of the draw. That also occurred because 22nd seeded Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova ousted Brazilian Beatriz Haddad Maia, coming from behind to knock off the 12th seed. In the other match, 28th seed Anastasia Potapova won through against Argentinian lucky loser to face off against Paolini in the next round.


[1] Iga Swiatek (POL) defeated [26] Linda Noskova (CZE) 6-4 6-0
[31] Marta Kostyuk (UKR) defeated [7] Marketa Vondrousova (CZE) W/O
[22] Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) defeated [12] Beatriz Haddad Maia (BRA) 2-6 6-4 6-3
[13] Jasmine Paolini (ITA) defeated [21] Anna Kalinskaya (RUS) 6-3 3-6 6-4
Angelique Kerber (GER) defeated [17] Veronika Kudermetova (RUS) 6-4 7-5
Yulia Putintseva (KAZ) defeated [18] Madison Keys (USA) 6-4 6-1
[28] Anastasia Potapova (RUS) defeated [LL] Nadia Podoroska (ARG) 6-1 6-1
[WC] Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) defeated [WC] Katie Volynets (USA) 6-2 4-6 6-0

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