BNP PARIBAS OPEN 2012
Djokovic Tested By Spaniard; Isner Into QFs
Indian Wells, U.S.A.
What began as a cakewalk for Novak Djokovic turned into a challenge, with the World No. 1 required to work hard for a 6-0, 6-7(5), 6-2 win over unseeded Spaniard Pablo Andujar in fourth-round action Wednesday afternoon at the BNP Paribas Open.
The defending champion blitzed through the first set in under 30 minutes, but came under pressure in the second. He saved seven break points and two set points, before Andujar finally broke through to draw level.
Djokovic immediately resumed his lead, securing the break in the opening game of the third set. After facing down one more break point in the sixth game, he broke Andujar for a fifth time in five opportunities, and served out the match at love after two hours and 15 minutes.
The two-time Indian Wells champion will continue his title defense at the year’s first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament against another Spaniard, Nicolas Almagro. The 12th-ranked Almagro convincingly defeated World No. 7 Tomas Berdych 6-4, 6-0 to reach the BNP Paribas Open quarter-finals for the first time.
Djokovic, who holds a 25-4 match record at this event, has defeated Almagro in their previous two meetings.
World No. 11 John Isner advanced to his first quarter-final in the Palm Desert, defeating qualifier Matthew Ebden 6-4, 7-5. Isner won 31 of his 35 first serve points, firing 10 aces past the Australian in the 75-minute victory.
"I felt very good out there and I started very well, but she was also playing tough," said Kerber. "I just tried to move very good and hit the balls deep in the court and also play aggressive tennis, focusing on me. I'm happy that I'm in the semis now."
The American is through to his second ATP World Tour Masters 1000 final eight, having reached the semi-finals in Paris last year (l. to Tsonga). He will take on No. 13 seed Gilles Simon, who topped wild card Ryan Harrison 7-6(0), 5-7, 6-1.
After blowing three match points in the second set, Simon found himself in trouble early in the third set, saving three break points in the third game. It proved to be a turning point, as he swept the final five games of the match to take the hard-fought win in two hours and 55 minutes.
"Those two games were very important, because I lost the second set, which I thought I had to win. It was tough for me on the court, as he had a good tactic and it was hard for me to win a single game," Simon told BNPParibasOpen.com. "I knew I had to hold serve, because I believed if I could get it to two hours and 30 minutes on court, I would be good and maybe he would get tired, and that's what happened. I managed to save those two games and go 3-1 up, and then he dropped down, and started to miss a lot. I maybe was a little bit lucky as it could have been 3-1 for him. But I'm very happy because when you lose the second set, it's not that easy to win the third one."
Simon and Isner have met just once, with Isner edging out a four-set win in the round of 16 at last year's US Open, winning three tie-breaks.
"I think it's going to be very difficult," Simon said. "Last time at the US Open, I had some opportuniites. It's a match where I should have been better. I know it will be difficult to be in the same position, but I hope that this time, if I am, I will finish it."