Indian Wells – quarterfinals

Friday. It happens rarely that the first game of the match makes a decisive impact on the final outcome. It happened in the third quarterfinal between Roger Federer [3] and Juan Martin del Potro [9]. In a very long first game, Del Potro had two break points, but exploded arguing with Mohammed Lahyani. The Argentine felt robbed, because a video line call review was not available after Federer’s wide serve.  Del Potro lost the point which should’ve been replayed and couldn’t regain his composure after that for a while and lost three straight games quickly, it allowed Federer to feel himself very well out there, the relaxed Swiss was mixing up the pace intelligently – strong serves (12 aces to none from DelPo) with forehand drop-shots, and secured a semifinal berth in 1 hour 9 minutes, winning 6-3, 6-2. Federer improves his H2H with Del Potro to 11-2 (four matches this year, all of them Federer took in straight sets).
Three years ago Rafael Nadal [2] survived five match points to defeat [74] David Nalbandian 3-6, 7-6, 6-0 (the match ended after 2:00 a.m.) in the fourth round at Indian Wells. Today on the same court their match was some kind of reminiscence of that late finished encounter in 2009. Nalbandian was very solid almost the entire two sets, especially from his backhand side. He was two points away from a win at 5:4* (30 all) in the 2nd set – Nadal hit the baseline with an offensive stroke, and broke the Argentine for the first time in the following game. The Spaniard notched a 5-game winning streak in total, and was very close to get another break, but Nalbandian saved a break point at 0:2 with a rally of the match (Nadal was running like crazy from corner to corner) and he came back to the match avoiding a bagel like 3 years before. Later on, he was one point away from erasing a double break deficit but chose wrongly – missed a drop-shot and three points later Nadal wrapped up a 4-6, 7-5, 6-4 victory in 2 hours 39 minutes (needed 2 hours 50 minutes 3 years ago).

Thursday. Nicolas Almagro [12], reaching quarter-final at Indian Wells achieved arguably the biggest result on hardcourts. So it was tough to expect he would make an upset against the best player in the world. Novak Djokovic [1] dismissed him 6-3, 6-4 in 1 hour 22 minutes, stepping up in the second phase of both sets. “I had a very powerful ball striker on the opposite side of the net,” said Djokovic. “He’s very solid from ground-strokes and has a powerful serve, but I knew that he’s inconsistent with that, so I just needed to hang in there, which I did.”
He now faces John Isner [11], who advanced to second straight ‘1000’ semi-final. In the night session match against Gilles Simon [13], Isner saved a break point trailing 1:3 in the 3rd set. In the 3rd set both players were winning service games comfortably until the 12th game when the Frenchman produced a couple unforced errors and lost 3-6, 6-1, 5-7. “It’s pretty satisfying. I don’t feel like I played my best. I don’t think Gilles did, either,” said Isner. “So we’re both kind of fighting that the whole match. My coach said it wasn’t a Picasso out there, but I found a way to get it done.” Isner had never before played four consecutive matches without a tie-break! He has advanced also to semi-finals in doubles (along with Sam Querrey), in this competition he won in contrary every match thanks to a super tie-break.

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