Federer, Nadal, Djokovic in Blockbuster Wed. at Indian Wells
A few minor upsets on Tuesday have set up some blockbuster meetings on Wednesday at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.
World No. 1 Novak Djokovic struggled in the first set past fast riser and No. 31 seed Grigor Dimitrov 7-6(4), 6-1. Tonight he will face the last American standing, No. 23 seed Sam Querrey, who shakily moved past unseeded Aussie Marinko Matosevic 7-6(5), 6-7(7), 7-5.
Djokovic improved to 15-0 on the year, but now faces a player who beat him in their last meeting last November in Querrey, his last loss before this 19 match win streak.
“I won four, five times against him,” Djokovic said. “Yes, he has won the last encounter indoors. Different circumstances and conditions. So we’ll see. We’ll play in front of his crowd and he has a big serve and big game and he can come up with the goods when needed. He loves to play also on a big stage.”
Querrey will have the added pressure of being the new top American and trying to keep the U.S. in the ATP Top 20.
“I’m just going to hopefully play well, hopefully be aggressive, hopefully on those break points, deuce points, have some balls go my way,” said Querrey, who will be the new No. 1-ranked American when the next ATP rankings are released. “I’m going to try and just enjoy it out there. I might have to go outside of my comfort zone a little bit and do things I don’t like to do, and hopefully it will pay off for me.”
The resurgent No. 19 seed Tommy Haas saved a match point in upsetting No. 11 Nicolas Almagro 6-3, 6-7(2), 7-6(2), and this evening will face No. 7 Juan Martin del Potro, who on Tuesday defeated unseeded German Bjorn Phau 6-2, 7-5.
Canadian No. 17 seed Milos Raonic and No. 8 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga will meet Wednesday in the second match on Stadium 2 after Tsonga mentally out-toughed No. 32 Mardy Fish 7-6(4), 7-6(0), and Raonic out-served No. 12 Marin Cilic from a set down 6-3 in the third.
“I felt like I could have easily won the match,” Fish said. “Bunch of break points obviously in the first set, and the second set was what it was. Tennis-wise it’s a good sign that it hasn’t taken too long to get the form back. I usually don’t lose 4-0 set [leads] very often. I can’t remember the last one. Maybe just not being in that position I’m sure had something to do with it.”
No. 3 seed Andy Murray will on Wednesday face unseeded Argentine upstart Carlos Berlocq after Berlocq on Tuesday took out No. 16 Kei Nishikori 6-2, 6-2, and Murray tamed Taipei’s Yen-Hsun Lu 6-3, 6-2.
Also on court in Wednesday’s embarrassment of riches are No. 2 Roger Federer vs. No. 18 Stan Wawrinka in an all-Swiss-fest, No. 13 Gilles Simon vs. unseeded Kevin Anderson, No. 5 Rafael Nadal vs. qualifier Ernests Gulbis, and No. 6 Tomas Berdych vs. No. 10 Richard Gasquet.
The Top 8 women’s seeds all threatened to march unharmed into the quarterfinals on Tuesday — until veteran and No. 13 seed Maria Kirilenko rose up to play giant killer, slaying No. 3 Aggie Radwanska 6-1, 4-6, 7-5.
“Today I was a little bit more lucky,” said Kirilenko, who came back from a break down in the third, and who will next face Petra Kvitova in the quarters. “I lost to [Radwanska] the last four or five times I think, and it was kind of a similar match to previous ones, but this time it worked out for me.”
Kirilenko says she needs to be ready for a different kind of challenge in Kvitova.
“Petra’s a really good player. She just won a big tournament in Dubai,” Kirilenko said. “That means she’s in good shape right now. The last couple of matches we’ve played have been tough, long matches, so I think this one will be another big one. It will be completely opposite to today’s match. I just need to be there. I need to be thinking fast. It’s not going to be slow, long rallies, you have to be quick against her. Everything’s going to be quick. I just need to concentrate, and that’s it.”
Of the Top 8 winners Tuesday, only No. 7 Sam Stosur dropped a set, coming from a set down to defeat No. 24 Mona Barthel 4-6, 6-2, 6-3.
Other Top 8 seeds into the quarters were No. 1 Victoria Azarenka who eased past Poland’s Urszula Radwanska 6-3, 6-1, No. 2 Maria Sharapova who overcame a first set hiccup to bear unseeded Spaniard Lara Arruabarrena 7-5, 6-0, No. 4 Angelique Kerber in a tight one over Spanish qualifier Garbine Muguruza 6-4, 7-5, No. 5 Kvitova rolling over No. 19 Klara Zakopalova 6-2, 6-3, No. 6 Sara Errani impressive in topping veteran No. 9 Marion Bartoli 6-3, 6-2, and former No. 1 and No. 8 seed Caroline Wozniacki handling the hot-handed No. 10 Nadia Petrova 7-6(3), 6-3.
Azarenka, who is making it sound like she could pull from the tournament at any moment, is next slated to face Wozniacki in the quarterfinals.
“It was pretty obvious I wasn’t feeling that well — my ankle was bothering me, it’s been bothering me for a while, and it hasn’t really been getting better,” said Azarenka, who improved to 17-0 on the year. “But on the bright side, I won the match today. I overcame those things and — I don’t know how — managed to just take my opportunities and really go for my shots and make it happen, and not just wait for her mistakes.”
Sharapova struggled at times to simply keep the ball in the court on Tuesday, and will have a much tougher time in the quarters against the backboard Errani.
“The first set was so up and down,” Sharapova said of beating Arruabarrena 7-5, 6-0. “I knew I had to buckle down and start being more aggressive, stepping in on the returns and getting more first serves in. She was a tough opponent today but once I started playing more aggressively in the second set things went much better for me.”
On court Wednesday for the women will be Kvitova vs. Kirilenko, and Errani vs. Sharapova.
STADIUM 1 start 11:00 am
 G Simon (FRA) vs K Anderson (RSA) – ATP
Not Before 1:30 PM
 P Kvitova (CZE) vs  M Kirilenko (RUS) – WTA
 S Wawrinka (SUI) vs  R Federer (SUI) – ATP
 R Nadal (ESP) vs [Q] E Gulbis (LAT) – ATP
Not Before 7:00 PM
 S Errani (ITA) vs  M Sharapova (RUS) – WTA
Not Before 8:30 PM
 N Djokovic (SRB) vs  S Querrey (USA) – ATP
STADIUM 2 start 11:00 am
T Huey (PHI) / J Janowicz (POL) vs [WC] J Blake (USA) / M Fish (USA) – ATP
 M Raonic (CAN) vs  J Tsonga (FRA) – ATP
 T Berdych (CZE) vs  R Gasquet (FRA) – ATP
Not Before 5:00 PM
 A Murray (GBR) vs C Berlocq (ARG) – ATP
 T Haas (GER) vs  J Del Potro (ARG) – ATP
Also Check Out:
To Rest His Knees, Rafael Nadal Might Not Play Indian Wells
The Nightmare Is Over: ATP Finally Approves The Indian Wells Prize Money Increase
Andy Murray: The Courts At Indian Wells Are Very Slow, They’re Also Very Slow Here In Miami
Andy Murray Won’t Play Dubai In 2013, He’ll Focus On Indian Wells
Poll: Djokovic, Federer, Murray Or Nadal, Who’ll Win Indian Wells?