Credit to Novak Djokovic, the guy just keeps on winning. Yesterday in the third round at Indian Wells, the Serb earned his ninth straight victory after saving three match points in a 6-3, 2-6, 7-6(3) win over Philipp Kohlschreiber.
Call it a great escape or a total Kohlshreiber choke job – the German had a point for a 4-0 third set lead and then held the three match points with Novak serving 4-5, 0-40 – but Novak is through to live another and to fight another battle in the desert.
“He was playing well most of the second and third set. But when I needed to, I did the work, served well, made some good approaches from forehand side,” the 2008 Indian Well champ said. “It’s a fact that I’m not feeling the ball 100 percent. It’s a sport. You cannot always play your best. Still, considering the last couple of weeks that I had, it’s normal that I dropped the level of game a little bit.”
Djokovic’s now gone the distance in seven of his last eight matches playing 24 of a maximum 25 sets. Ahead for Djokovic on Tuesday is Croat Ivan Ljubicic.
Also yesterday, Rafael Nadal hammered Mario Ancic and the Spaniard will now face John Isner tomorrow in a good one. Isner got revenge for his Memphis loss to his doubles partner, Sam Querrey, in a 7-6(3), 6-4 win late last night.
Fernando Verdasco was the big surprise going down meekly to the hot-again Tomas Berdych 6-0, 6-3. Juan Monaco (d. Ferrero) and Cilic’s conqueror Guillermo Garcia-Lopez also were victors.
While things have been status quo in the men’s draw, the women’s field has been reduced to rubble. Last night saw yet another upset when Alisa Klyebanova beat two-time champion Kim Clijsters in a third set tiebreak. The loss of Clijsters – and earlier upsets to Maria Sharapova, Justine Henin and Svetlana Kuznetsova – leaves the women’s draw with zero former Grand Slam winners left in the fourth round.
For a “Premier” level event, the premier players sure aren’t sticking around. And need I remind you of the last WTA Premier event in Beijing which also went pear shaped. Let’s hope this doesn’t continue in Miami.
As for today, Roger Federer and Marcos Baghdatis meet in a rematch of their Australian Open final. Federer should get through and if does Andy Roddick could be next up on Wednesday night for the Swiss. Roddick, who has never reached the IW final, meets Thiemo De Bakker. The Dutch kid has a decent serve and good two-hander but I think Roddick prevails.
Andy Murray is back on first to open the day against backboard-like Michael Russell. James Blake tries to maintain his hot-hand against Nicolas Almagro and Robin Soderling faces Feliciano Lopez. JW Tsonga and Tommy Robredo are also in action. Nadal is also playing in a doubles Spanish lovefest with Marc Lopez against Feliciano and Verdasco.
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