World No 2 Caroline Wozniacki kept alive hopes of reclaiming the world no 1 ranking with a scrappy 6-4 2-6 6-3 third-round win over Belarusian’s Aliaksandra Sasnovich at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells on March 12.
Australian Open champion continued to exist a stern test from the 23-year-old Belarusian in a sloppy contest that included 14 breaks of serve on a warm, sunny day. Sasnovich surrendered the two hours 16-minute brawl with her 56th unforced error of the match.
The 27-year-old seemed frustrated by the tension of the strings on her racket and discarded it in the middle of the second game. That failed to recover her focus as she continued to tug the strings between points throughout the match.
Sasnovich raced out to a 4-1 lead in the first with the help of some deft drop-shots and it seemed that the world number 49 was well on her way to pulling off a major upset. But she was undone by 14 double faults.
Right-handed Wozniacki reeled off five straight games to take the first set and, despite plummeting the second set in the middle of service issues of her own, was able to advance.
Next up for the 27-year-old Dane, who needs to win the tourney and hope that top seed Simona Halep fails to reach the final, is either out-of-form US Open champion Sloane Stephens or Russian Daria Kasatkina.
Halep hardly avoided falling to world number 165 Caroline Dolehide on Sunday and faces unseeded Chinese Wang Qiang on Tuesday.