The young leaders of the men’s circuit Jannik Sinner and Carlos Alcaraz qualified without trembling for the quarter-finals of the Masters 1000 in Indian Wells (California, United States) on Tuesday, a level that the Dane Caroline Wozniacki is returning to, after two maternity wards.

Boss at the start of the season, titled at the Australian Open in January then in Rotterdam in February, undefeated in 15 matches, the Italian Jannik Sinner passed a first conclusive test in the Californian desert, facing the enthusiasm of the American left-hander Ben Shelton (7-6, 6-1). Sinner, however, had an eventful end to the first set. He got a first set point at 5-4 on his serve, saved by Shelton on a lucky shot with the net strip.

Losing his face-off, failing to convert three break points in the next game, then offering a point on a double fault in the tie-break, Sinner never got angry or broke down. More solid, he concluded the set with a smash at the net, clutching his racket for joy. The 22-year-old Italian, world No.3, not necessarily flamboyant, displayed an average level sufficient to counter the 16th in the world pushed by the American public in the night session. He will face the Czech Jiri Lehecka in the quarters on Thursday, who defeated the Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas (6-2, 6-4).

Earlier in the day, the Spanish title holder Carlos Alcaraz (N.2) had even less difficulty in defeating the Hungarian Fabian Marozsan (6-3, 6-3), taking his revenge after the defeat suffered against this opponent in Rome last year. “I moved well, I controlled the pace of the game perfectly. During the hot moments, on break points, I was very good. My confidence is growing,” commented the young Spaniard, who arrived in Indian Wells accompanied by questions, now answered, about the condition of an ankle affected two weeks ago. Placed in the same part of the table, Sinner and Alcaraz could find themselves in the semi-final for a highly anticipated shock, if the Murcian overcomes the obstacle Alexander Zverev in the quarters.

Caroline Wozniacki has not been to the quarter-finals of such a tournament since the fall of 2019. She will make her return there on Thursday thanks to her victory over the German Angelique Kerber (6-4, 6-2). The match pitted two friends against each other, but above all two former world No.1s who had recently returned from maternity leave. Kerber (36 years old) has been playing again since January after giving birth in February 2023. Wozniacki (33 years old) was absent from the circuit between January 2020 and August 2023, the time to have two children.

The winner of the 2018 Australian Open will face the Polish world No.1 Iga Swiatek in the quarterfinals who defeated Yulia Putintseva (6-1, 6-2).