Pablo Carreno Busta hung on to win the biggest match of his career beating Pablo Cuevas 6-1, 3-6, 7-6(4). Carreno Busta saved two match points in the third serving down 4-5 and again at 5-6, and then won the ensuing breaker taking four of the last five points of the match.
With few spectators in the stands for a match that was projected to feature Andy Murray, these two Pablos began the match in scorching heat and immediately Carreno Busta took early charge winning the first four games over the Uruguayan.
But Cuevas finally found his footing in the second breaking the Spaniard to lead 2-1. The two traded two more breaks before Cuevas took the set breaking for 6-4.
In the third, Cuevas continued the momentum going up 3-1. But Carreno Busta capitalized on some shaky serving from Cuevas, leveled and then saved an incredible point down match ball at 4-5, 30-40 which left Cuevas bloodied and in need of medical attention.
Carreno Busta will now challenge Stan Wawrinka who in similar fashion needed a final set breaker to advance. Wawrinka squandered a 3-0 lead in the third against Dominic Thiem but took the slugfest 6-4, 4-6, 7-6(2) winning the last five points of the match.
After a second straight final tiebreak win, Wawrinka is into his first Indian Wells semifinal and third Masters final four in North America.
“I think it’s a little bit of experience, a little bit of confidence, a little bit of thinking about what you want to do and then just do it without thinking if you’re gonna miss or not. In those moments, you need to trust your game and that’s what I did well,” said Wawrinka. “I could have lost the match, for sure. But in general, I try to stay with my game plan and not give away anything. I also know that’s when I play good tennis and I can beat anybody. So that gives me a lot of confidence.”
Tomorrow, the quarterfinals wrap up with Roger Federer taking on Nick Kyrgios followed by Jack Sock against Kei Nishikori.
Federer lost his only meeting with Kyrgios at 2015 Madrid where he held two match points in a three-breaker loss which featured a 14-12 final set breaker.
“I’m playing in more normal conditions, because Madrid plays very different, super fast,” Federer said of the previous meeting. ‘I had my chances. I think I was even up a set and a break even, if I’m not mistaken.
“Of course I’d like to get him back.”
Meanwhile, Kyrgios will try to beat Novak Djokovic and then Federer back-to-back.
“It’s completely different conditions from Madrid clay to Indian Wells in the desert,” Kyrgios aid. “So it’s going to be a completely different game.
“He’s the greatest player of all time. Age is just a thing for him. As long as he stays healthy, he’s going to be the top player, you know, around that top tier.”
Sock and Nishikori split their two previous meetings. Both are seeking a first Indian Well semifinal, and for Sock a first Masters semifinal.
“He has a decent backhand,” Sock said of Nishikori. “He has a decent ranking. I mean, very, very solid player, very consistent player. He’s top 5 for a reason, and an established top 5, top-10 player.
“Just trying to keep him back, you know, behind the baseline and, you know, kind of try and move him side to side. If he’s moving in, stepping into balls, forehands or backhands, dictating points, then it’s going to be trouble for me.”
INDIAN WELLS FRIDAY SCHEDULE
STADIUM 1 start 12:00 noon
ATP –  R. Federer (SUI) vs  N. Kyrgios (AUS)
Not Before 2:00 pm
ATP –  J. Sock (USA) vs  K. Nishikori (JPN)
ATP –  J. Murray (GBR) / B. Soares (BRA) vs  L. Kubot (POL) / M. Melo (BRA)
Not Before 7:00 pm
WTA –  K. Mladenovic (FRA) vs  E. Vesnina (RUS)
WTA –  Ka. Pliskova (CZE) vs  S. Kuznetsova (RUS)
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