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It was a long time ago: No history as Swiatek and Raducanu…

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The two most recent US Open champions are preparing to meet in the BNP Paribas Open round of 16 in a clash that may yet become one of the tour’s biggest attractions and rivalries.

Since her triumph in 2021, Emma Raducanu has struggled with injury and consistency as she adapts to life as a full-time athlete. With coaching changes galore, she has started to show glimmers of her old self in recent days. Absent from the tour since January, when she lost in the second round of the Australian Open to Coco Gauff, at Indian Wells she’s gritted her teeth and fought through in the face of challenges – including a three-set battle against Beatriz Haddad Maia in the round of 32, 6-1, 2-6, 6-4.

I’m really pleased to have come through that match,” the 20-year-old admitted afterwards. “I think it was, yeah, really tough out there. To battle it out in three sets, I was really proud of the way that I regrouped and came back in the third.”

Reigning champion and current world No 1 Iga Swiatek has enjoyed her time at the top since Ash Barty’s retirement last year. Top seed at Indian Wells, she is now invariably the favourite going into any tournament. She has not yet dropped a set this fortnight, and she reached the final of her three most recent tournaments (winning in Qatar, losing in Melbourne and Dubai). Still, she was pushed by Bianca Andreescu in the round of 32, coming through 6-3, 7-6 (1).

It was a really tight match,” the 21-year-old said afterwards, “and I’m really happy that I actually played such a tight match, because now I see how I can handle those situations after couple of matches that were kind of one way.”

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