Djokovic, Nadal Win 3 Set Scares, Zverev Ousts Dimitrov; Tomic v Raonic Monday At Indian Wells
by Staff | March 13th, 2016, 11:44 pm

Novak Djokovic overcame blustery conditions and an opening set loss to rally and beat American qualifier Bjorn Fratangelo 2-6, 6-1, 6-2.

The 22-year-old Fratangelo who just won his first tour-level match on Friday, came out free-swinging breaking the error-prone 2-time defending champion twice in the opening set. But Djokovic found his form winning 12 of the last 15 games to claim his 12th straight match win at Indian Wells.

“He came out with a good game plan,” said Djokovic who was down 0-4 early. “I started awful.

“I think the fifth game in the third was the deciding one,” Djokovic said. “That break obviously meant that I can start to feel a bit more comfortable.”

Djokovic will face Philipp Kohlschreiber on Tuesday after the German lost just one game to Denis Kudla.

Three-time winner Rafael Nadal followed and also had his own issues with the wind and lefty Gilles Muller. Nadal cruised in the opener but then was broken three times in the second. He saved multiple break points (11 of 14 for the match) in the seventh game of the third before breaking the 32-year-old Muller to take the match 6-2, 2-6, 6-4.

“Very tough conditions out there,” Nadal said. “Very happy for the victory after last three matches that I lost have been in three sets or five sets. So I needed a victory like this. Very happy for that. Very happy about the attitude during the whole match. Have been very tough to play with that conditions and against a player who serve very well and who goes to the net. It’s obvious these conditions help the player who normally plays less from the baseline, no?

“So just was a great victory for me. I’m very happy for that.”

After ending a 3-match losing streak in deciding sets, Nadal will get a rematch with Fernando Verdasco. Verdasco came through when the hot-handed Martin Klizan retired in the second set with a ankle injury.

Americans John Isner, Steve Johnson and Jack Sock also prevailed as did 18-year-old Alexander Zverev who bounced the struggling Grigor Dimitrov.

“I tried to stay as calm as I could,” Zverev said. “Grigor played well for an hour or so, from the middle of the second set until the middle of the third. He didn’t give me many chances, but I knew I would get my opportunities. And I used them well.

“Grigor is such a good player. He has so much potential to really do well,” he added. “We will see [this matchup] a lot in the future.”

Gilles Simon is next for Zverev. Isner will play Adrian Mannarino, Sock gets Dominic Thiem in a juicy third round.

Kei Nishikori also scored a quiet 6-3, 6-3 victory over Mikhail Kukushkin.

“I thought it was pretty good match,” said Nishikori who has never made it beyond the fourth round. “It’s not easy for me playing first match of the tournament always. But I felt good rhythm there. It’s always a little bit windy, especially on stadium. It doesn’t look like windy, but it is. I feel a lot of windy on the court.

“So not expecting perfect match. But it’s not easy match against Kukushkin. He hits flat. Not easy to hit hard with his balls. I stayed patient, and I thought it was pretty good match.”

On Monday, Andy Murray along with Stan Wawrinka, Gael Monfils and Richard Gasquet return. In two of the better match-ups, Tomas Berdych battles Borna Coric and Milos Raonic locks up with Bernard Tomic.

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57 Comments for Djokovic, Nadal Win 3 Set Scares, Zverev Ousts Dimitrov; Tomic v Raonic Monday At Indian Wells

Matt Says:

If you’re a tennis fan, and have been following the sport for more than 10-12 years, you know what Nadal is doing is unprecedented. This started when he was 28; his tennis is garbage and the lack of explanation is disturbing

This “Vamos” and “I hope he can rebound” type of delusional crap is astounding. Tennis discussions with this kind of denial brings the tennis IQ down big time. Explain the sink hole that is rafael nadal.


Michael Says:

Novak looked totally out of sorts there with a clear lack of focus and was playing tentative right from the beginning making far too many uncharacteristic unforced errors. It was his dogged will and determination which finally helped him scrape through in a pretty tough match which nobody anticipated to be so close.

Rafa on the other hand, is still struggling to find his form and is looking very vulnerable out there. If there is one tournament where he can rediscover and restore his confidence back by winning, it is Indian wells. But at the moment, it looks like a tall order.

Colin Says:

Look at the BBC News site. Rafa is going to sue a French formergovernment politician who accused him of doping, and he says he will sue anyone else who makes these claims.

danica Says:

Novak pretty much did not show up in the first set. His movement was awful, was playing well behind the baseline, and was making waaay too many UE.


It is the first match, he may still be suffering a bit from jet lag, and he was kind of ill during the Davis Cup. He shouldn’t have played doubles at all. Also, he was never too happy to play with the winds swirling around with a drop of temperature. So, I hope that this was a good match to get rid of rust. Next match is with a tough opponent and Novak needs to show up completely awaken.

Very, very glada Sasha won! :) Like Grisha too, but Sasha’s showing promise. I am not sure why all these talks of so-called experts about not seeing anyone to challenge Nole in the foreseeable future. There is clearly a healthy crop of young guns that are threatening. I can easily see Sasha or Nick beating Nole if not these year, then likely the next.

Michael Says:

Kohlscrieber is going to be a tough proposition for Novak if his level stays at where it did against Frantangelo. But Novak, the Champion that he is always produces his best Tennis when it is most needed !!

Anku Says:

Novak looked out of sorts to me. Movement and footwork was non existent. I have seen him play bad in the earlier rounds in many tournaments, but not this bad.Something is clearly off. Don’t understand how come he is making so many uncharacteristic UE’s lately. Hope he finds his form back, Kohli can be a very tough opponent for this Novak.

Green Lady Says:

I suppose Novak has to beat every opponent in straight sets with bagels and breadsticks otherwise its a crisis lol?….

jane Says:

the last time there were 2 or more teens in the third round at indian wells was 2007, when rafa, novak and korolev made it. i really do think this new gen are the real thing. they will be future stars. (grigor, kei and milos seem questionable at this point but i suppose there’s still time? …)

Tennis Vagabond Says:

Jane, this seems like a coming out party for Sasha and Borna, and Kei and Milos trying to back up their Aussie runs and showing their in it for real in 2016. Exciting matches this afternoon.

I also think Del Potro will be a force this year, and soon. I never wanted to jinx him because he has been away from the top for so long, but his play in the first set against Berdych looked really good. If he can keep that up throughout a match, he’ll be a real threat.

Novak will get stronger each round. KOhlschreiber isn’t going to take him out.

skeezer Says:


I for one jumped over to your Blog and found it interesting, no holding back eh? :-).
Keep it up.👍

jalep Says:

It was a good win for Rafa, I thought, Green Lady.

I know, it took 3 sets but remember last fall on hc when Rafa started out winning in 3 sets — it seemed a pattern and he built confidence as he went along?

Yes, and then came the tough loss in the Doha final; and the first round loss at AO. Then, Rafa performed below what his fans hoped for in South America on clay, true. But I can’t count him out — going to be optimistic, wait, and see.

I’m picking Rafa over Verdasco.

SG1 Says:

I’m not sure how DelPo will play the rest of the year yet. His serve looked pretty solid along with his forehand. His movement isn’t quite there yet but that will come around. His backhand however, looks really tentative. I was watching a replay of a topspin BH he missed. It was all arms and shoulder. He still looks really afraid to use his left wrist on the backhand. This is perfectly understandable of course. But, I do wonder if it’s one of the following:

1) the normal fear that goes with recovering a serious injury
2) he feels pain when he uses the backhand
3) his doctors told him he’d have to change his mechanics or risk another injury

I just hope it’s not 2 or 3 (or both). Every once in a while in the Berdych match, you could see the old DelPo. Hopefully, it’s the beginning of a great story.

SG1 Says:

I thought that Berdych played a terrible first set which kept DelPo in it longer than he should have been. Berdych missed quite a few balls he shouldn’t have and seemed reticent when it came to going after DelPo’s backhand. Weird…at least to me.

SG1 Says:

As for Rafa…he just didn’t look good. Even in the first set. He looks so defensive. 2 years ago he would have pasted Muller in straight sets. I’m a big Rafa fan but it looks to me as if there is something really wrong with him. It may not even be something physical but in fact, something mental. He misses forehands he would never miss. Very hard to understand. As you get pros get older, they tend to lose their legs, not their shots. Rafa seems to have lost both (…at least for now). We’ll see how the European clay court season goes. I think this will be the acid test. The problem for Rafa is that he doesn’t seem able to hit through anyone and playing on clay could actually exacerbate this issue.

J-Kath Says:


Agree Sasha and Borna but Kei is 26 and Milos 25 years old…..equally close to Nole/Andy as they are to the younger guys….not saying they won’t succeed given that Stan got hot later….maybe this year will show????

nits Says:

I am betting on Raonic this year he will get something this year for sure

Giles Says:

Today I had the displeasure of reading the biggest load of CR@P ever contained in what this nincompoop considers to be his blog. Yes Matt’s blog. Frankly I would rename it Matt’s Bog.

Tennis Vagabond Says:

J-Kath, I do think the younger guys have more potential than Milos and Kei, but those two were coming very close to the serious-Slam-contender conversation last year, and I think at least Milos will this year.

Lots of story lines to follow at this point in the year.

J-Kath Says:

TV: Yep…will be interesting. Yep again, I think Kei has more talent but Milos will be more consistent..

Wog Boy Says:

So far looks like Andy wants to do what Nole did yesterday, to give away first set and then start to play. Is that new trend for top players?

Wog Boy Says:

What happened to Tomic, did he tank again?

Gordon Says:

Milos is not looking at all rusty. It will be interesting to see how he does against Berdych, should that be his next opponent.

J-Kath Says:

Looks like Andy will lose!

Wog Boy Says:

Andy doesn’t move as well as usual, that was Nole’s problem yesterday to, but he’ll prevail.

Wog Boy Says:

Andy is moving better in third and result shows it.

Green Lady Says:

Giles its not made for Rafa fans that is for sure,so i doubt his site would get many Rafa fans blogging on there anytime soon,maybe thats what he wants,personally i cant see the point,as i thought blogs were supposed to be for all fans to blog on,still each to their own i suppose????….

Wog Boy Says:

No disrespect to Delbonis, he played the bedt he could, but Andy played badly.

J-Kath Says:

Oh my Andy is out.

Daniel Says:

Grumpy Murray loses a match he should not lost. Don’t understand why he has to go on and on with Bernardes about that first set break, it cost him the match.

Open draw for one of the guys, Wawa, Raonic or even somebody else.

AndyMira Says:

To ALL Andy’s fan,JK,margot,RZ,CDP[out there somewhere]and whom i didn’t say here..sorry for Andy’s loss..

jane Says:

who beat murray? i just saw on twitter that he’s out.

Wog Boy Says:


Murray beat Murray.

Dave Says:

I know it’s a bit early, but Nole staying number 1 for 2016 just got a whole lot easier. Federer injured and Andy losing early in Indian Wells. Everything win Nole gets will be gravy in the race to London Standings. I honestly think Raonic would have beat Murray had he played him this week. Raonic is on a mission to get back to the top 4. Without injuries, I see it happening for sure.

Wog Boy Says:


I think you are right about Raonic, he is on the mission.

BTW, dvd “Peaceful Worrior” arrived yestrday, I’ll be watching it this arvo, book is yet to arrive.

jane Says:

did he withdraw wog boy?

AndyMira Says:

To think back,what Srdjan said about Andy has a truth in it..he gets very frustrated easily,when he’s winning he has booming confidence,but once he starts losing,his mind turns around and start look lost,start talking to his box and this will distract his mind..if only he addressed this problem very seriously..6,7 or 8 slams sure in his grasp very easily..hope he do well in Miami..want to impress sophia no doubt!

jane Says:

novak defends a lot though too. as a friend pointed out to me, while murray loses just 350 points due to his loss today, if novak loses in the final, he loses 400 points, so it’s not “easy” imo. he has a big lead in the rolling rankings but the race is a little different.

just saw that delbonis beat murray… surprising!

Wog Boy Says:

No jane, he just played awful tennis.

Wog Boy Says:

^^ replace “awful” with “not good”

RZ Says:

@AndyMira – thanks for your commiserations. Not a huge surprise to me as Andy has never done particularly well in Indian Wells. I guess the desert air doesn’t agree with him.

BTW, I saw Andy on Friday – actually ended up walking just a few feet behind him as he and Colin Fleming were heading into a stadium to practice before their doubles match. He looked really happy, smiling at all the fans (only a few at that time as it was Belford matches were to begin) who asked for autographs and selfies. Colin Fleming started to look a little anxious at the delays as he seemed to be in a hurry to get some practice in.

RZ Says:

^ before matches, not Belford matches – computer just ran an update and now I get weird autocorrect. (Belford, really? How does that get picked over “before”?)

skeezer Says:

Well here we go again. Delbonis really didn’t earn it, Andy lost it.
Congrats Delbonis on pulling out a tough 3 setter and win in a TB. You earned it.

AndyMira Says:

@RZ..your welcome..even though andy was lost,i hope you’re happy vacationing there..are you going to Miami after this?

RZ Says:

@AndyMira – unfortunately not. Work calls. I’m already back on the job. :-( But it was nice enjoying a few days at the tennis mecca that is Indian Wells. I got to see Thiem play on a small court and sat right behind his coach. From a larger court I got to see the fun doubles match between the Bryan Bros and Rafa/Verdasco.

Dave Says:


I don’t think you understood my point. I’m not talking about Nole’s 16,000 plus points and defending. I’m stricktly talking about 2016 accumulated points earned. That’s what is going to matter at the end of this year as to whether Nole gets another year end number 1 honor or not. Andy Murray is second in accumulated points earned in 2016, he just lost in the 3rd round. Nole is also currently in the 3rd round, so technically, every win that he gets from now on at Indian Wells will give him a bigger lead over Murray in the accumulated points earned for 2016. If Nole would have lost yesterday and Murray would have won Indian Wells, Murray would have had the lead for 2016. Instead Nole will have most likely a bigger lead going into Miami than he had going into Indian Wells. If he wins the tournament, his lead will be close to 2000 points for the year.


Watch Peaceful Warrior as soon as possible and get back to me on your thoughts about it. I look forward to hearing your insights.

AndyMira Says: got to watch Rafa/verdasco vs Bryans?Oh my God..i heard and saw that the atmosphere was awesome,’re lucky to have the opportunity to watch that match i’m jealous..Bryan Bro’s said..”you put rafa out there,doesn’t matter whether he play tennis or shaving..the stadium will be packed”..and to dueled with Bryans..the american was like you watch a uso final between novak/rafa or novak/roger..right?

Okiegal Says:

@AM…..I watched all of that doubles match on my computer and the live feed was really clear. The Bryan brothers are correct in their statement about the crowd and Rafa……the fans were into it big time! You could tell they were loving it! BTW, I would pay to watch Rafa shave…but not Mr. Gillett…… :)

AndyMira Says:

@Okie!Hey..long time no hear..i missed chatting with are you nowadays?Better?Stay strong k?’s surreal to see a doubles match on 2nd round none the less to be like that was like to see last year uso more thing ,in 2nd set at 43 i think,they’re involved in stunning rally right?and rafa shown his old brilliant defensive skills and retrieved,God..i missed the old rafa very much..wanna feel like cry now..

jane Says:

thanks for clarifying dave. i take your point. it’s definitely valid. however, i personally think it’s a little early in the season to be thinking of YE1. for me, it’s too soon to tell. novak’s form has been very up-and-down since the AO. fed will be back soon. andy will likely play better in miami, as he always does. i didnt see rafa but one would expect him to round into better form for clay. more importantly, i think we may finally see some new names breaking through this year. so much still to play, lucky for us. :)

Margot Says:

Glad you had a good time RZ but see even your oresence the days before effected Andy…;)

Pauly Says:

If Nadal beats Nando big shot of confidence will help him go deeper in this tournament with possibility of another crack at djoky

RZ Says:

@AndyMira – it was definitely an electric atmosphere! My friend and I got there 2 matches ahead of time as we knew it would be the popular match of the day, and it certainly was worth it. Sadly it was on at the same time as Pospisil-Sock playing doubles too but I think I made the right choice. Rafa was the youngest guy on the court and is almost 30. As long as Pospisil and Sock keep playing together, I should have other opportunities to see them play.

@Margot – nah, my presence only affected Andy’s doubles match (although that seemed to be more on Colin Fleming – he was having trouble with Isner’s and Roanic’s pace).

J-Kath Says:

AndyMira: Thanks for commiserations – he’s a pain in the rear sometimes.

AndyMira Says:

JK..that’s alright..i think he still got the effect from DC the other’s not easy to come back from almost 5 hours slugging fest with kei..and after that.. travelling to’s sure drained him considering this is the only 2nd tournament he entered after AO after long lay off,and guess what? The supernovak also playing badly here!He… who also been dragged to 5 hours by it coincidence or what?I’m sure Andy will make a statement in Miami..with kim and baby there..he’s sure can relax and focus to tennis..don’t worry about it..

AndyMira Says:’s sure worth do you described the stunning rally point in 2nd set at 43?It’s amazing isn’t’re lucky to have the opportunity to watch that match..

RZ Says:

@AndyMira – that was such an incredible rally. All 4 guys did incredibly well to keep the point going and there were several shots that could have been a winning shot. I really am lucky to have been able to be part of that atmosphere and see it live.

AndyMira Says:’s a shame you can’t go to Miami..i’m pretty sure andy can do well there..

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