Indian Wells: Quarter-finalists Lined Up!

Del Potro d. Istomin, 7-6 6-7 6-2

It took 2h44m but DelPo finally pulled through to the QFs, where he will meet Fed for the fourth time this year.

Photo: Reuters

DelPo hasn’t hit too many winners on the slow IW court this week, but he kept his UFE relatively low.  Istomin, however, had an aggressive game plan.  I could see how Istomin upset Ferru in R3, as the Uzbek was painting the lines with his FHs.  DelPo matched him and bettered him to break in the 1st set, with some fearsome FHs of his own.  Only to be broken as he was serving for the set (why does this keep happening?!?)  This led to the TB, which DelPo comfortably took.

Photo: Reuters

Great performance from Istomin, whose game suits the HCs.  Hope to see more of this level from him in the future.

In the 2nd set, Istomin maintained his level while DelPo seemed to tire.  DelPo was pretty moody in R4 — many of Istomin’s line-painting winners were greeted with hands-on-the-hips and frustrated mumblings from DelPo.  Exhaustion was written all over his face (IW is DelPo’s 4th straight tourny).  Istomin broke in the 2nd set, to go up 5*-4 40-0 on his serve — that’s when DelPo broke back, only to lose a close 2nd set TB.

Given the momentum shift in Istomin’s direction and DelPo’s visible tiredness, I was not too positive about his chances.  However, DelPo gave it one last effort with some industrious scrambling and shotmaking, to break the Istomin serve.  He gave a visceral roar when he broke for the 2nd time to serve for the match.

There was a cute moment when DelPo served for the match — the linesperson called his serve out, so he challenged.  Hawk-Eye showed the serve to be”in” by a mere millimeter or so.  Now it was Istomin’s turn to be moody with his hands-on-his-hips.  DelPo stared long and hard in Istomin’s direction, then shrugged as if to say, “What of it?  What do you want me to do?”  Istomin gave a sheepish smile in return, good feelings were restored, and DelPo comfortably served out the match.  He beat the net like a drum in celebration (he really *beat* as several net cords went against him during the match).

Let’s give a shout-out to DelPo, for holding the fort for the bottom half of the top 10!  So far, the no. 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 10 seeds are out of the tournament.  9th seed DelPo still stands.

**

Nalbandian d. Tsonga, 3-6 7-5 6-3

The no. 6 and 10 seeds are out of IW at the hands of one David Nalbandian.  Nalby defeated Tsonga for his 2nd win over a top 10 player, following his win over Tipsy.  Nalby will now re-enter the top 50.

Photo: Getty

Nalby takes his revenge for his 2008 loss to Jo in the Paris final.

Tsonga may not have been feeling his best — after soldiering through the first set, he started making too many errors off his BH wing.  That’s the more volatile wing—when it’s on, he can hit BHDTLs with cruel precision and strength.  By the 3rd set, Tsonga wasn’t making much of an effort to run for balls.  Still, credit to Nalby for staying in this competitive match.  Nalby saved MP in the 2nd set to break and win after going down a set.  It was impressive and honestly more than I’d expected.

Nalby now faces Rafa in the QF, in a re-match of their nerve-wracking 2009 encounter at IWs, when a late-night match ended with Rafa coming back from a set and a break (and MPs) down to defeat Nalby.  Both players are in different places right now (or rather, Nalby’s in a different place, as he had hip surgery only a few months after that encounter).  This is Nalby’s first first Masters QF since 2010 Toronto.

**

In other news, Fed needed three sets to defeat Thomaz Bellucci.  Fed is still suffering from the effects of a cold/flu.  He said he hasn’t practiced much at all and has only played his matches.  I think the Fed-DelPo QF will be a lackluster one compared to their Dubai match, given the exhaustion of DelPo and the illness of Fed.  Still, if there were a golden opportunity to score a confidence-making win over Fed, this QF would be it.

Fed’s twin daughters were present at his match and they apparently got into a tiff over a plastic cup.  There was some epic baby-pouting involved 🙂

Rafa easily defeated Dolgo, who also struggled with leg pains.  Of the top 3 seeds, Rafa’s the only one to have not lost a set so far.

In the top half of the draw, Djokovic will play Nico Almagro, who defeated Berdy by the odd scoreline of 6-4 6-0.  It seems Berdy simply disappeared in the 2nd set.  This is Nico’s best career result at IW.  Gilles Simon and John Isner will vie for the other SF spot.

The bottom half of the draw is perfect: Nalby-Rafa and DelPo-Fed.  How awesome would it be if the SF ended up being Nalby-DelPo?  Hey, I can hope!

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About mariposaxprs

I play favorites with Juan Martin Del Potro, Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, David Ferrer, Feliciano Lopez, Gilles Simon and the long line of mercurial talent that drives me to despair in front of the screen at odd hours during the week.
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5 Responses to Indian Wells: Quarter-finalists Lined Up!

  1. Pingback: Indian Wells: Draw Analysis | mariposaxprs

  2. Iram says:

    * i think u meant that nico beat tomas 6-4 in the first set.

    Happy for delpos success. I wonder how he’ll do against federer next. Is Delpo ur absolute favorite player? Nalby getting past Rafa will really be tough but lets see how it turns out.

    • mariposaxprs says:

      Oops, thanks, Iram!! My mistake, I just typde in the score from my memory, which obviously failed me that time 😦 I updated with the correct score!

      DelPo’s my favorite player, so I’m hoping for a good result here! It’ll be tough but once again, I hope he can at least take a set. He still hasn’t taken a set off Fed this yr, so I feel like that’s an important step.

      I’m not overly hopeful about Nalby getting past Rafa either, since Rafa is the favorite against 99% of the players right now. I just hope Nalby’s fit enough to put up a good fight and that both Nalby and Rafa play a high-quality match. Who’s your favorite player, btw? Within the Armada, of course? 😉

      • Iram says:

        well to be honest…and i hope my own blog readers wont hate me or say i’m a hypocrite- but my absolute favorite player is Roger? Can u really blame me? the guy is a legend and he has made history within the sport.
        And within the spanish guys it is btwn rafa/david. I love Rafa’s humbleness but there’s something abt David that I’m really attracted to (And no, not just his gorgeous face).
        *and btw, ever since following YOUR blog (which has been a couple of months now), u should feel happy abt one thing, u r for sure converting me into appreciating Argentinan tennis. (except pico-something abt him screams womanizer- sorry that’s how i feel)
        Looking forward to ur post semi-final wrap-up. t c

        • mariposaxprs says:

          Cool, I feel similarly about Roger! I think maybe it’s b/c Roger’s been playing for so long, that I can truly appreciate his legacy even more now. I def like watching him even more these days.

          Ferru is also one of my favs. I think aside from his gorgeousness :), it’s also the spirit with which he plays—he really does fight so hard and he has a surprisingly aggressive game as well.

          I will keep writing to hopefully convert you even more to the Argentinean side!! 😉 Pico has many diehard fans — I think he’s charming and he can play steady tennis, but I haven’t fully understood his charm either. Maybe it is b/c he has the womanizing image!!

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