WTA Tour: Victoria Azarenka, Angelique Kerber and Nadia Petrova all win in California
Last Updated: March 12, 2013 10:47am
World No 2 Victoria Azarenka overcame a first set wobble to beat the dangerous Kirsten Flipkens in Indian Wells and maintain her unbeaten start to 2013.
Azarenka, who has won the Australia Open and Doha Open so far this year, is attempting to become the first woman to defend an Indian Wells title since Martina Navratilova, who won in 1990 and 1991.
She booked her place in the fourth round with a 3-6 6-3 6-0 victory over the world No 31 from Belgium.
Azarenka, who faces Urszula Radwanska of Poland next, admitted a bunged-up nose made life difficult in the first set, compounded by some woeful serving.
She led 2-0 early on but was broken three times to lose the opener, and after four consecutive breaks early in the second set, Azarenka won three of the next four games to level the match up - and she romped through the decider.
"I just blew my nose, started breathing better and calmed down and started to see what I had to do," she said.
"I'm really happy that I find the ability to turn around my matches no matter what the circumstances are on the court," she said.
Angelique Kerber produced a second-set rally to defeat Yanina Wickmayer 6-1 7-6 (7/4) in the third round at Indian Wells.
The fourth seed breezed through the first set but then quickly found herself 4-1 down to her Belgian opponent in the second.
However, Kerber - ranked sixth in the world - came storming back after receiving some words of encouragement from her coach, winning five of the next seven games to force a tie-break which she eventually won.
The victory suggests Kerber is returning to form after a difficult 2013 so far; she failed to get out of the first round at her last two tournaments, in Doha and Dubai.
"Now my confidence is of course back and I feel good, and I'm looking forward to playing tomorrow again," she said.
Next up for the German will be Spanish qualifier Gabine Mugurza, who was a 6-4, 6-0 winner over Magdalena Rybarikova.
Nadia Petrova eased past fellow seed Julia Goerges of Germany 6-1 6-2, the Russian saving five of the six break points she faced on her own serve in a match that lasted 90 minutes.
Australian Samantha Stosur, seeded seventh, also advanced to the last 16 of the event thanks to a hard-fought 6-3 3-6 6-3 result over China's Shuai Peng.
Former world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki later made serene progress with a 6-2 6-1 win over Elena Vesnina.
Wozniacki took the first set in little more than 40 minutes and broke at the start of the second set to take what proved an unassailable 3-0 lead.