Lopez Squeezes Past Sock To Near Best Indian Wells Showing
In his 16th BNP Paribas Open, Feliciano Lopez is only one round away from recording his best result at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament in Indian Wells. The 36-year-old Spaniard upset eighth seed Jack Sock on Tuesday evening, escaping a tight third-round match 7-6(6), 4-6, 6-4.
Sock was looking to return to the semi-finals in Indian Wells (l. to eventual champion Federer in 2017). But Lopez was solid on serve and opportunistic with his return game during the pair's fourth FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting (2-2), which lasted almost two hours and 30 minutes.
Neither player saw a break point in the opener, but Lopez came back in the tie-break after Sock led by a mini-break early. The American secured the lone break in the second on set point, knifing a backhand slice that curled inside the line. Up to that point, Lopez had erased all four break-point opportunities.
But in the second game of the decider, Sock slipped and lunged for the ball, landing on his right elbow. He said he was OK during the next changeover but later complained of pain and received treatment during a following break.
Lopez, however, stayed focused and created his opening, breaking Sock for the first time during a 15-point game at 2-2. He served out the set to love.
The Spaniard reached the quarter-finals in 2015 (l. to Murray) and made the fourth round in 2014 and 2016. He'll try to reach the last eight again when he meets another American in Sam Querrey, who fought past Indian Yuki Bhambri 6-7(4), 6-4, 6-4 to make the fourth round in Indian Wells for the third time.
Querrey was locked in on serve after the first set, not facing a break point and finishing the third-round affair with 17 aces. The 6'6” right-hander won nearly 70 per cent of his service points (61/91).
It was still a notable tournament for Bhambri, who qualified and was the first Indian to reach the third round in Indian Wells since Somdev Devvarman, who advanced to the fourth round in 2011.