Indian Wells – semifinals

2nd semifinal:

(7)Juan Martin del Potro d. (1)Novak Djokovic    4-6, 6-4, 6-4    [2:50 h]

Djokovic was a dominant figure in the 1st set and confirmed it breaking Del Potro in the 10th game, but needed seven break points altogether to do it (Del Potro saved four break points serving at 3:4). I would argue that losing such a ‘4-6’ set which lasts almost an hour to Djokovic, Nadal, Murray or Ferrer is a bit like losing a tie-break set to vast majority of players. It is tough to keep focus on the highest level when delpotro_iw13_you played your best in a set against an opponent you usually lose to, and you are beaten once again. Del Potro showed a day before against Murray, that he deals very well with those situations. Just like against the Scot, he forgot what happened a few minutes earlier, and broke at the beginning of the 2nd set; Djokovic broke back quickly, then lost his serve again after an entertaining, long rally finished with DelPo’s backhand down the line: one of the players run 62 meters during that rally, the other one 10 meters more. Del Potro built a 5:2 lead and didn’t waste the second opportunity to serve the set out. The 3rd set was draining, they were involved in many punishing rallies. Djokovic jumped to a 3:0* lead, but he seemed a bit more tired at the time. Nevertheless he was on a 22-match winning streak, with an 8-2 H2H record vs. DelPo, and hadn’t lost a match with a three-game advantage in the deciding set since Marseille 2007. Against all odds, Del Potro managed to level at 3 games apiece, and even had a double break point in the 7th game. What he squandered then, he converted two games afterwards. Serving to win the match Del Potro played two poor points leading 30/0, at 30-all Djokovic made an unforced errors from the backhand side, and the Argentine finished the match with an ace out-wide (the only point that separated them in total points), his just fourth during the longest match of this year’s tournament. Obviously Del Potro is known for his blistering forehand, but you can’t beat Murray and Djokovic in back-to-back matches using just one weapon. Del Potro has lately developed very good backhand slice which allows him to keep the ball in play when he hasn’t a good enough  position to attack with his double-hander. “I was doing a very good match until the third set, but Novak had the chance to beat me when I was down 3-Love,” said Del Potro. “But I came back soon and that gave me a little confidence to come back in that set. Then also the crowd wanted to watch more tennis and [it] helped me to play my best tennis in the end. I think it was my best match in this tournament, for sure.”

Match stats (total points: 101-100):
Del Potro: 21 service, 4 aces, 15 FH, 5 BH, 3 volleys, 1 overhead
Djokovic: 12 service, 5 aces, 12 FH, 7 BH, 8 volleys, 5 overheads, 2 dropshots
Del Potro: 3 double faults, 27 FH, 15 BH, 2 volleys, 1 overhead
Djokovic: 2 double faults, 25 FH, 21 BH, 2 volleys
Break point conversion & Challenges:
Del Potro: 5/12 (six games), 1/3
 Djokovic: 4/11 (five games)

1st semifinal:

(5)Rafael Nadal d. (6)Tomas Berdych    6-4, 7-5    [1:43 h]

Berdych could hope to snap a streak of 11 consecutive losing matches to Rafa, because he’s been arguably playing his best tennis for a few months whilst the Spaniard hasn’t lately played too many matches on hardcourts. Despite that, their quarterfinal match did not vary from most of their encounters in the recent years nadal_iw13_– the Czech played his standard solid tennis (good enough to beat Gasquet or Anderson in straights), but all the big points took Nadal. First serious test for Berdych came in the 7th game of the 1st set when he saved two break points, but sent a forehand wide from a good position trying to save the third one. In the 2nd set, Nadal helped considerably committing a double fault at 3:4 (30/40). Berdych was serving to level at one set apiece, only to play the weakest service game of the match. Two games later came a small disaster – Berdych shamefully mis-hit an overhead on a break point. In the next game he had three break points for a tie-break, but on each occasion Nadal responded with a service winner. It’s the third time he beats Berdych ‘6-4 7-5’ (Cincinnati ’09, Rome ’12). “It was a good tournament. I beat a couple of good guys and I had a good run,” reflected Berdych. “My game was also very solid the last couple of weeks that I have been playing… But I’m still trying to push it more and more.” Nadal said about advancement to his fourth final in four tournaments since the comeback: “It’s certainly something amazing for me, totally unexpected, and I received more support than ever from the crowd every place that I played. That’s always a very, very special feeling. Thank you very much [to] all the people.”

Match stats (total points: 74-65):
Nadal: 15 service, 2 aces, 12 FH, 1 BH, 2 overheads
Berdych: 16 service, 4 aces, 7 FH, 1 BH, 2 volleys
Nadal: 1 double fault, 21 FH, 11 BH, 1 volley
Berdych: 4 double faults, 21 FH, 15 BH, 1 overhead
Break point conversion & Challenges:
Nadal: 3/7 (three games), 0/2
Berdych: 1/4 (two games), 1/3
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