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Qualifier Garin stuns Ruud at Indian Wells, Norrie and Zverev survive

Cristian Garin of Chile hits a backhand in his match against Casper Ruud. Photo: Harry How / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

Qualifier Cristian Garin shocked third-seeded Casper Ruud 6-4, 7-6 (7/2) to reach the fourth round at Indian Wells on Sunday as Daniil Medvedev and Cameron Norrie survived scares.

Garin’s attacking game paid off as the 97th-ranked Chilean dispatched world number four Ruud in just under two hours.

“The way I played today I’m so happy,” the 26-year-old Garin said. “I was aggressive the whole match.”

His 39 winners were too much for Ruud, a two-time Grand Slam finalist last year who had hoped a quick victory over Diego Schwartzman in his second-round opener would mark a turnaround in a season where he hadn’t advanced past the second round in three prior tournaments.

Meanwhile, Medvedev, long frustrated by the slow hard courts in the California desert, managed to push his ATP winning streak to 16 matches with a 6-2, 3-6, 6-1 victory over 85th-ranked Ilya Ivashka.

Medvedev, coming off three straight titles at Rotterdam, Doha and Dubai, said the victory was a matter of “a few points,” but they went his way to keep him on track to improve on his previous best Indian Wells showing — the round of 16 in 2021.

“(It’s) tough to make anything during the rallies, so just have to kind of see who puts more balls in court. If you lose a little momentum you lose a set,” said Medvedev, who was clearly frustrated at the end of the second set.

He grumbled to the referee that he would be “as slow as the court” in taking a bathroom break, but pulled himself together to take a 5-0 lead in the third, serving it out after Ivashka saved three match points to hold in the penultimate game.

“I cannot say I played much better in the third, but (I) managed to be the one not missing after 25 shots,” said Medvedev, who next faces former world number two Alexander Zverev.

Zverev, coming back after torn ankle ligaments ended his 2022 campaign at the French Open, said much the same after a 7-5, 1-6, 7-5 victory over Finland’s’ Emil Ruusuvuori.

“To be honest I think he played much better than me throughout the match,” Zverev said. “It’s just the way it is sometimes, one or two points can decide a match.”

Tenth-seeded Norrie, who reached the final in Buenos Aires and lifted the trophy in Rio de Janeiro last month, was down a set and 4-1 to Japanese qualifier Taro Daniel before rallying for a 6-7 (5/7), 7-5, 6-2 victory.

Another Chilean qualifier joined Garin in the fourth round as Alejandro Tabilo triumphed 6-3, 7-6 (8/6) over unseeded Jordan Thompson, who had upset second-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas in the second round.

Tabilo lined up a meeting with American Frances Tiafoe, who eased past Aussie Jason Kubler 6-3, 6-2.

Sabalenka wins by walkover

On the women’s side of the combined WTA and ATP Masters 1000 event, second-seeded Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus advanced by walkover when Ukrainian qualifier Lesia Tsurenko withdrew from their scheduled match.

Tsurenko has now lost by retirement or walkover in nine of her 18 tournaments dating back to Indian Wells last year.

Third-seeded American Jessica Pegula again rallied from a set down, beating Anastasia Potapova 3-6, 6-4, 7-5.

“That was definitely a battle today,” said Pegula, who also rallied from a set down in her second-round win over Camila Giorgi. “She definitely came out hitting her shots and painting lines and going after it.

“So I’m just glad I was able to work my way back into the match and ended up playing much better than how I started.”

Sixth-seeded American Coco Gauff advanced with a brisk 6-4, 6-3 victory over Linda Noskova.

But last year’s runner-up, Maria Sakkari, needed two and a half hours to seal a 3-6, 6-2, 6-4 win over Anhelina Kalinina — Sakkari’s second straight come-from-behind victory.

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