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Emma Raducanu looks to continue her impressive run at Indian Wells on Tuesday but she will have her work cut out against the World No.1 Iga Swiatek. The Pole remains the woman to beat on tour and already has previous here, with her title here last year being one of many in a stunning year.
It was a rare closer victory for Swiatek who needed to up her game to see off Bianca Andreescu in straight sets 6-3 7-6. Andreescu was much improved and offered the type of variety she was well known for in her initial run. However, the Pole managed to up her level just in time to run away with the second set tiebreak just when things could have got difficult. “She changed the rhythm pretty well and with this surface it can get tough,” Swiatek said in her on-court interview. “But I’m pretty happy I was solid most of the times, at least. And that I could be recomposed in the tiebreaker because I really knew that I could get my focus up.”
While injuries have played a big part, Raducanu has struggled to live up to the expectations set by her stunning 2021 US Open victory. Now outside the top 70, she is going to have her fight her way back up the WTA Tour rankings. This week has been a good start for her after nearly 2 months out, picking up three good wins to get to this stage. The last of them came against Beatriz Haddad Maia, making it just the second time she has won three matches at a tournament since that slam title.
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It will likely have served Swiatek well being tested in the previous round, with too many easy matches sometimes leading to complacency. The top seed remains incredibly difficult to defeat on slower hard courts and should pick up another win in her goal to defend the title. It was just 6-4 6-4 to her last time in Stuttgart and a similar result would not be too much of a surprise here if Raducanu continues to raise her level.
Prediction – Iga Swiatek in straight sets
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