rediff.com

NewsApp (Free)

Read news as it happens
Download NewsApp

Available on  

Rediff News  All News 
Rediff.com  » Sports » Indian Wells: Djokovic hangs on, Nadal, Serena advance with ease

Indian Wells: Djokovic hangs on, Nadal, Serena advance with ease

Last updated on: March 16, 2016 12:33 IST

Photos from the tennis matches played at Indian Wells on Tuesday

Serbia's Novak Djokovic celebrates match point against Germany's Philipp Kohlschreiber during the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, California, on Tuesday

IMAGE: Serbia's Novak Djokovic celebrates match point against Germany's Philipp Kohlschreiber during the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, California, on Tuesday. Photograph: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

World number one Novak Djokovic broke his opponent late in both sets to eke out a 7-5, 7-5 third round victory over an upset-minded Philipp Kohlschreiber on Tuesday as the Serb continued his BNP Paribas Open title defence in California.

One day after world number two Andy Murray was surprisingly knocked out of competition, Djokovic had no such letdown despite suffering a bit of a wobble towards the end of the match.

Djokovic broke serve to lead 4-2 in the second set and squandered four match points in the ninth game before handing back the break to the German world number 30.

The next two games went with serve with Djokovic ensuring the contest would not go to a deciding set when he sealed victory on his fifth match point in breaking his opponent for the fourth time in the match to advance to the round of 16.

He next plays Spaniard Feliciano Lopez for a place in the quarter-finals.

Spain's Rafael Nadal in action against compatriot Fernando Verdasco during their BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, California, on Tuesday

IMAGE: Spain's Rafael Nadal in action against compatriot Fernando Verdasco. Photograph: Julian Finney/Getty Images

Rafael Nadal saved five set points to finish off a two-set victory over Fernando Verdasco 6-0, 7-6 (11-9) in the third round at Indian Wells.

The fourth seeded Spaniard next faces German Alexander Zverev who defeated Gilles Simon in straight sets 6-2, 6-2.

Nadal, who avenged his first-round loss to fellow Spaniard Verdasco at the Australian Open in January, roared through the first set without dropping a game, but Verdasco came to life in the second, eventually forcing it to a tiebreaker.

Nadal fought off five set points before clinching it when Verdasco hit a backhand long to end the one hour, 41 minute third round match.

He moved a step closer to a fourth trophy in the California desert, where he took the title of the hardcourt ATP and WTA event in 2013, 2009 and 2007.

"It was a tough match, but I resisted," Nadal said.

"I lost a few matches this year that I had a chance to win so I need to play more matches like this."

Japan's Kei Nishikori during his 3rd round match against USA's Steve Johnson

IMAGE: Japan's Kei Nishikori during his 3rd round match against USA's Steve Johnson. Photograph: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports via Reuters

Japanese fifth seed Kei Nishikori reached the round of 16 at the BNP Paribas Open in California with a 7-6(6), 7-6(5) win over American Steve Johnson on Tuesday.

Nishikori, uncomfortable in the blustery conditions at Indian Wells, saved four set points in the first tiebreak and, after failing to serve out the match at 5-3 in the second set, escaped another tiebreak to close out a nearly two-hour battle.

"It's not easy with these windy conditions and the ball and altitude, everything," said Nishikori. "It's tough to expect great tennis here, but I thought I was patient today."

Nishikori, chasing his second ATP World Tour title of the season after victory last month in Memphis, will next face big-serving American ninth seed John Isner, who fired 15 aces in his 6-4, 7-6(4) win over France's Adrian Mannarino.

Also advancing was German 18-year-old Alexandr Zverev, who crushed 31-year-old Gilles Simon of France 6-2, 6-2.

The power-hitting Zverev needed just 67 minutes to advance over 16th-seeded Simon. The German won 70 percent of his service points and converted five of 11 break points.

Zverev is bidding to become the youngest quarter-finalist here since 1989 and to reach his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 quarter in just his fifth tournament at this level but the teenager has Nadal standing in the way.

Serena Williams hits a backhand during her match against Kateryna Bondarenko of Ukraine

IMAGE: Serena Williams hits a backhand during her match against Kateryna Bondarenko. Photograph: Harry How/Getty Images

Serena Williams sent down seven aces on her way to a comprehensive 6-2 6-2 victory over Kateryna Bondarenko at the BNP Paribas Open on Tuesday, setting up a mouth-watering quarter-final against defending champion Simona Halep.

"It'll be a really good match I think, for both of us to kind of see where we want to be at this point in the year," top seed Williams told reporters of the showdown against the Romanian in California.

"I really like her game. I like how she's aggressive. She's a fighter. I definitely have to be ready."

The American world number one, a 21-time grand slam champion, is looking for her first title at Indian Wells since 2001.

Halep moved a step closer to repeating last year's triumph after her opponent Barbora Strycova retired with the world number five leading 6-3 1-0.

The Romanian has only defeated Williams once in her career, a 6-0 6-2 thrashing in the group stages of the 2014 WTA Finals that the American avenged in an equally as one-sided final.

The pair were due to meet in the semi-final of this tournament a year ago but Williams was forced to withdraw ahead of the contest through a knee injury.

"I know that it's gonna be tough to win, but still, I have my chance," Halep said.

I feel that I have the game to play against her. We will see tomorrow. She's number one in the world."

Italian ninth seed Roberta Vinci retired from her match against unseeded Magdalena Rybarikova while trailing 2-6, 0-2.

Victoria Azarenka, Timea Bacsinszky and Karolina Pliskova were also winners. 

Poland's Agnieska Radwanska in action against Dominika Cibulkova

IMAGE: Poland's Agnieska Radwanska in action against Dominika Cibulkova. Photograph: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Polish third seed Agnieska Radwanska beat Jelena Jankovic of Serbia 6-3, 6-3 on Tuesday to reach the quarter-finals of the BNP Paribas Open where she will face world number nine Petra Kvitova.

Radwanska, a runner-up here two years ago, defeated 2010 winner Jelena Jankovic of Serbia 6-3, 6-3 in a fourth-round tilt between two of the game's best movers that produced a slew of entertaining exchanges.

"We've played so many good matches before, and I just remember that it's a lot of running, a lot of rallies and I really prepared for that today," said Radwanska, who has now won all six of her meetings with Jankovic on hard courts.

Two-time Wimbledon champion Kvitova ended the Cinderella run of American qualifier Nicole Gibbs, rallying for a 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 win to book her spot in the quarters.

Kvitova imposed her left-handed power to overtake Gibbs, swatting 27 winners to 11 for the American and claiming 18 of 25 points at net to prevail.

AGENCIES