Petra Martic earned her first top-10 win since 2012 by defeating world number six Jelena Ostapenko, whose struggles in 2018 continues after she crashed out of the BNP Paribas Open in the third round. Martic was performing better throughout the entirety of the match, looking more solid and consistent as Ostapenko failed to maintain her high level, with the vulnerability of her second serve proving costly as well.
With the win, Martic books a spot in the fourth round where she would face the talented youngster Marketa Vondrousova, whom she has beaten in Auckland earlier this year. It would be an interesting match-up while both players are fighting to make their first ever Premier Mandatory quarterfinal appearance.
Martic takes the opening set 6-3
It was a tricky start to the match for Ostapenko but still managed to prevail in her opening service game despite being brought to deuce on two occasions. The power of her groundstrokes was immense although the Latvian still produced some unforced errors off them. Staying solid on her serve, Martic got on board with an ace on game point. Having not yet found her groove, she continued to misfire and allowed the Croatian to make the first breakthrough.
Ostapenko found the perfect reply as Martic was unable to find her first serves in the fourth game, and therefore the world number six pounced on her opportunity, ultimately finding her way back to earn a 3-2 lead. However, it was consistency which triumphed over power as Martic earned four games on the trot, playing some top-notch tennis to break serve twice and claim the first set 6-3 after just 37 minutes, with Ostapenko sending a backhand into the net on Martic’s third set point.
Ostapenko looks all over the place as Martic seals the win
Losing the first six points of the set, Ostapenko found herself in deep trouble as she still could not find the court, often mishitting and sending easy shots directly into the net. Yet another backhand error gifted Martic her fourth break of the day, winning her six consecutive games.
Inspired play from Ostapenko got her the immediate break back, but her second serves were still a huge liability as she only won 35 percent of points behind those serves. A relatively low first serve percentage also ensued that Martic was tramping all over her second serves, soon regaining the lead.
The world number 51 jumped out to a commanding 4-1 advantage and had the golden opportunity to extend her lead in the sixth game, but she was wasteful on her opportunities as Ostapenko kept herself in the match with several impressive saves.
She then threatened to level the scores but, once again, errors at the crucial moments proved to be costly as Martic narrowly held onto a 5-2 lead, being just a game away from the win. Despite the world number six’s toughest efforts, Martic eventually clinched the confidence-boosting victory, making the fourth round here in Indian Wells for the first time in her career.