Kerber dismisses defending champ Vesnina

Published by Matt Trollope

Angelique Kerber celebrates her win over Elena Vesnina in the third round at Indian Wells; Getty Images
Angelique Kerber’s renaissance continues with a straight-sets win over defending Indian Wells champion Elena Vesnina, while Sloane Stephens falls to Daria Kasatkina.

Angelique Kerber continued her excellent form of 2018 with a straight-sets win over Elena Vesnina at Indian Wells on Monday.

Vesnina, the tournament’s defending champion, had no answer to Kerber’s relentless defence and consistency; the German posted a 7-5 6-2 win to move through to the fourth round.

Vesnina is expected to drop outside the top 40 following the loss.

Kerber will next face No.7 seed Caroline Garcia, who earlier overcame Daria Gavrilova for the first time in six career meetings.

Kerber, who lost to Vesnina in straight sets in the fourth round at Indian Wells last year, endured a forgettable 2017 season during which she plummeted from world No.1 to outside the top 20.

However, she has been a player renewed in 2018.

Her win-loss record now stands at 17-3, thanks to a title in Sydney, semifinal finishes at the Australian Open and Dubai, a quarterfinal in Doha and now her run to the last 16 in the Californian desert.

> VIDEO: Serena-Venus XXIX preview

Another player enjoying a solid season is Daria Kasatkina, who ousted reigning US Open champion Sloane Stephens to reach the fourth round.

Kasatkina, seeded 20th, rifled a scorching forehand winner crosscourt to seal a 6-4 6-3 triumph.

The Russian, who recently appeared in the Dubai final, has now won nine of her past 12 matches and will take on second seed Caroline Wozniacki next.

Wozniacki arrived in the last 16 courtesy of a 6-4 2-6 6-3 win over Aliaksandra Sasnovich.

In a battle of the wildcards, American Danielle Collins beat Sofia Zhuk in straight sets to advance.

Svitolina, Goerges depart

A pair of in-form seeds, Elina Svitolina and Julia Goerges, were shown the door on Monday.

Svitolina, seeded No.4, was beaten 7-5 6-3 by Carla Suarez Navarro, who will go on to face Collins for a spot in the quarterfinals.

Svitolina, who’d won 15 of 17 matches in 2018 before the defeat, was riding a five-match winning streak after her title in Dubai, and before arriving at Indian Wells had also scooped the $250,000 prize at the Tiebreak Tens event in New York.

No.12 seed Goerges, who had won 13 of her 16 matches coming into her meeting with 21st seed Anastasija Sevastova, found the Latvian too tough on this occasion.

Sevastova posted a 6-3 6-3 win to advance to a fourth-round meeting with the winner of the Serena-Venus clash.

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