Indian Wells gallery Wednesday 18th March
Originally published on: 26/02/10 15:37
Were motoring towards the business end of the two-week BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells and the two halves of the mens draw came together for the first time to decide the quarter-final line-up.
Before the men got under way on Stadium 1 though, the first of two womens quarter-finals opened up proceedings on the 16,000-seat main show court fourth-seeded Russian Vera Zvonareva up against Caroline Wozniacki.
Zvonareva was the first player to taste success on Wednesday, easing past the young Dane 6-4, 6-2 to move into the last four where shell meet the in-form Victoria Azarenka, who shocked top seed Dinara Safina in the night session 6-7, 6-1, 6-3.
After Vera and Wozza were done and dusted, it was the first of a bunch of mouth-watering mens fourth rounds match-ups second seed and three-time champ Roger Federer against Chilean Fernando Gonzalez.
Try as he might, it wasnt to be for Gonzo, although he played a decent second set to stretch the match into a decider before Fed came through 6-3, 5-7, 6-2.
The Swiss is one step closer to yet another meeting with Britains Andy Murray in the semis after the Scot won his third successive match of the event with relative ease when his opponent, Tommy Robredo, quit their contest with a wrist injury while trailing 6-2, 3-0.
Murray has made it into the last eight without losing a set so far not bad for a man who was on his sickbed with a virus for ten days prior to arriving in the Californian desert.
The Scot remains cautious about his chances of going all the way at the Tennis Garden, however, and says its next weeks Sony Ericsson Open in Florida that he will really be focusing on. “I think I’ve got a chance of winning [this] tournament but I’m still looking ahead to Miami,” was how Murray summed up the state of his game.
Murray will now face the surprise quarter-finalist in the mens draw, the relatively ancient Ivan Ljubicic (he celebrates his 30th on Thursday), who got past Russian Igor Andreev thanks to a third-set tie-break. If Federer wants to make the last four hell have to get past another Fernando Spanish heart-throb Verdasco who put out German Philipp Kohlschreiber in three.
In the top half of the draw third seed and defending champion Novak Djokovic and seventh seed Andy Roddick will renew their rivalry in the last eight after both came through tight fourth rounders.
Djokovic squeezed past Swiss Stan Wawrinka 7-6, 7-6 while Roddick outfought Spains David Ferrer in three sets. The last time these two fellas met Djokovic quit their Aussie Open quarter-final with heat exhaustion, prompting the media to question whether he still has the heart for the big occasion. Well soon find out
The night session featured another two crackers the Azarenka-Safina starter before the main course (with all the trimmings), Rafael Nadal up against the man who held a 2-0 winning record over him, enigmatic Argentine David Nalbandian.
Nalbandian looked like he was on his way to yet another victory over Nadal when he took the opening set and served for the match at 5-4, but a classic Rafa match wouldn’t be complete without some gutsy come-from-behind tennis and the Mallorcan eventually came through 3-6, 7-6, 6-0 after scraping through the breaker 7-5. Next up for the world No.1 is a quarter-final date with Juan Martin Del Potro.