Rafael Nadal escaped a match point against a young up-and-comer, Stan Wawrinka couldn’t escape a familiar yet far lower-ranked opponent, and two other upsets went into the books on Wednesday at Indian Wells.
The No. 4-seeded Nadal needed to come from a set down and save a match point against Alexander Zverev, beating the German 6-7(8), 6-0, 7-5.
“I missed probably the easiest shot I had the whole match,” said the 18-year-old German, who stoned a volley then went on to lose the last three games after leading 5-4.
The three-time Indian Wells champ Nadal was happy with the result.
“A great victory…I’m very happy about it,” Nadal said. “I am especially happy about the mentality on court, the spirit of fight during the whole match, believing that I can win a match during the whole time even in the tougher situations.”
On Friday, Nadal will next face No. 5 seed Kei Nishikori who beat No. 9 John Isner in a comeback victory 1-6, 7-6(2), 7-6(5).
The No. 3-seeded Wawrinka blew a sitter overhead at 5-5 in the third-set tiebreak of his match, falling to No. 15 David Goffin 6-3, 5-7, 7-6(5).
“Two times I came back. I had the chance in the third set to finish it also at 5-5 to break him again. I didn’t,” Wawrinka said. “I think he got a bit tired and nervous also. He (started) to miss easy shots. Gave me the chance to come back. Can lose quickly, eh?
“But in general, he deserved to win.”
Goffin will next face Croat Marin Cilic in the quarterfinals. The No. 10-seeded Cilic beat French No. 8 seed Richard Gasquet 7-5, 5-7, 6-2. Cilic failed to serve out the match in the second set, winning in three.
No. 12 seed Milos Raonic and No. 13 Gael Monfils also lined up a meeting. The Canadian Raonic upset No. 6 Tomas Berdych 6-4, 7-6(7), while the Frenchman Monfils beat Andy Murray-killer Federico Delbonis of Argentina 6-3, 6-4.
“I just tried to compete and get better with each match. I have been fortunate to do so,” said Raonic, playing in his first tournament since the Australian Open. “I give myself now a chance tomorrow with three matches behind me to play even better, and I know I’m going to need to.”
World No. 1 Novak Djokovic showed there is no wobble at the top spot, defeating No. 18 Feliciano Lopez 6-3, 6-3.
“I’m glad to have a match like this, without many complications,” Djokovic said. “I managed to step in and return very well…even though Feliciano is a very difficult player to play against. He’s left handed and he has a big first serve and he can hit angles, comes to the net. He’s very strong and moves well. But I was very solid. I didn’t allow him to come to the net too many times. It was a good performance.”
He will next face the winner of Wednesday’s late night match which was Dominik Thiem vs. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
Thursday in Indian Wells will feature Cilic vs. Goffin and Raonic vs. Monfils.
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