Sharapova, Nadal Tough Out Three Set Wins, Enter Semifinals.
It was time for the Quarter Finals in the top half of both the women’s and men’s draw at the BNP Paribas Open. In action were, 2006 Champion Maria Sharapova looking for her first Semifinals since Cincinnati 2010, Men’s World No.1 Rafael Nadal and Women’s world No.1 Caroline Wozniacki looking to cement their position at the top and 2009 US open champion Juan Martin Del Potro who has been on a role recently after coming back from a serious wrist injury.
First up on Stadium one,was the Quarter Finals between Dane Caroline Wozniacki and good friend Victoria Azarenka, the No.8 seed here in Indian Wells. After some long rallies in the first two games, Azarenka needed some medical attention while Wozniacki was serving at 2-0 ,30-0. Later, Azarenka played two more points till 0-3 and then unable to take the pain,she retired.After the match,the two showed some support to those suffering in Japan,by displaying the National Flag of Japan saying “Our thoughts are with you Caroline & Victoria”.On the playing side,the Danish World No.1 moved into the Semifinals in just 26 mins, awaiting the winner between Maria Sharapova and Shuai Peng.
Next match scheduled on Stadium 1 was the Men’s quarter-finals between Argentine Juan Martin Del Potro and Spaniard Tommy Robredo.But before the players could step on court,Robredo had to pull out,because of a strained left abductor muscle,which meant Del Potro was through to the Semifinals,where he could possibly play Rafael Nadal.
Another disappointment for the fans,as they were yet to see a full match of tennis.On Stadium now was Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova up against Shuai Peng of China. Sharapova showed some display of her vintage tennis in her 62 60 dispatching of former world No.1 Dinara Safina in the previous round and was expected to get a similar result here.On the other hand Peng has enjoyed a dream start to the season,already getting 23 wins,including wins over the likes Jelena Jankovic and Li Na.
Sharapova started the match in top form, hitting winners on all parts of the court,making her Chinese opponent look helpless and with ease Sharapova took the first 62. In the second set, Sharapova continued her aggressive ground strokes quickly getting to a two love lead. But,all of a sudden, Sharapova started throwing in a number double faults as well playing some erratic tennis. Peng seeing the rustiness of her opponent took quick advantage of it as she picked up four games in a row to lead 4-2. Sharapova tried to get back in the second set,but too many errors and double faults gifted the second set 75 to Peng.In the third set,Sharapova was 2-3 ,15-40 on her serve and just it seemed Peng would pull off another major upset,Sharapova used here competitive spirits and got back into the match,taking four games in a row and hereby taking the set 63,and eventually winning the match 62 57 63 in 2 hours and 22 mins.Next up for her is the No.1 player in the world Caroline Wozniacki. Sharapova leads the head to head 2-1,but Wozniacki had won their last meeting at the US Open,last year.
The night session saw World No.1 Rafael Nadal taking on big server Ivo Karlovic. Nadal rallied from a set down and survived 23 aces from his opponent to over power Karlovic 57 61 76(7) in 2 hours and 23 mins,setting up a mouthwatering Semifinals with Juan Martin Del Potro.”The match was the first one that I felt really that even if I play well, I can lose,” said Nadal, who had been bothered by a left thigh injury recently. “That’s always hard to go on court with this feeling.”
In the doubles action,Swiss maestro Roger Federer and compatriot Stanislas Wawrinka eased into the Semi-Finals following a 61 75 win over Knowles/Mertinak in the Quarters.Next up for them are Rafael Nadal and Marc Lopez in the Semis.
For the Indians,it was a mixed day in the doubles as the Indo-Pak express of Rohan Bopanna and Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi went down 63 36 8-10(TB) to Dolgopolov/Malisse in the quarter-finals.In the women’s doubles,Indian tennis sensation Sania Mirza and her Russian partner Elena Vesnina cruised into the Finals of the BNP Paribas open following a 60 64 win over Daniela Hantuchova and Agnieszka Radwanska in the Semifinals.This is Sania’s first WTA doubles finals of 2011,she had last won a doubles title at WTA Guangzhou in 2010.