Djokovic, Jankovic round off good day for Serbs at Indian Wells
Although they registered contrasting wins, Serbian tennis stars Novak Djokovic and Jelena Jankovic marked a good day for Serbs at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells on Tuesday.
Djokovic safely booked his place in the fourth round, beating Colombia's Alejandro Gonzalez 6-1, 3-6, 6-1, while in the women's draw, Jankovic ended her five-match losing streak to Denmark's Carolina Wozniacki when she reeled off 10 consecutive games to win 6-3, 6-1.
Djokovic had a little hiccup when he dropped the second set of his match but was otherwise untroubled.
"I thought I played really well from the start," said Djokovic.
"Then suddenly I just had a big loss of concentration and allowed him to win the second set for no reason. I bounced back better in the third."
While he was not at his best, Djokovic did at least survive to fight another day in the Californian desert after the shock losses of Rafael Nadal and Maria Sharapova on Monday.
Djokovic's next opponent is the big-serving Croatian Marin Cilic, who recorded his 20th win this season with a 6-4, 6-3 over Spain's Tommy Robredo.
Image: Novak Djokovic of Serbia lunges to play a return against Alejandro Gonzalez of Colombia at Indian Wells Tennis Garden on Tuesday
Photographs: Jeff Gross/Getty Images
'I just did not let her play what she plays'
"I obviously cannot allow myself to have these particular concentration lapses in the match at this level especially in the next match when I'm playing Cilic, a guy who is in really good form and I think has gotten better in last couple of months working with (Goran) Ivanisevic."
While Robredo lost to the towering Cilic, three of his compatriots all advanced with Fernando Verdasco upsetting world number nine Richard Gasquet of France 7-6 (7-5), 6-1, to leave Djokovic as the only top-10 player left in the bottom half of the men's draw.
Roberto Bautista Agut held his nerve to beat Finland's Jarkko Nieminen 6-2, 4-6, 7-6 (8-6) to move on before Feliciano Lopez joined the Spanish Armada with a 1-6 6-3 6-4 defeat of Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan.
In the women's draw, Jankovic beat Wozniacki to advance to the quarter-finals.
"At 3-1, I kind of found my way, found my rhythm, and I was striking the ball very well out there and took control of the points," said Jankovic.
"I just did not let her play what she plays. That was very important. So I was pretty pleased with the way I played and how composed I stayed throughout the whole match."
China’s Li Na, promoted to the women's top seed after winning the Australian Open and in the absence of Serena Williams, beat Canada's Aleksandra Wozniak 6-1, 6-4 but only after a extraordinary final game where she struggled to close out the match.
Image: Jelena Jankovic of Serbia
Photographs: Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
Sharapova-slayer Giorgi knocked out by Pennetta
Li raced through the opening set in just over half an hour then recovered from 3-0 down to serve for the match at 5-4 when she suddenly got the wobbles.
The final game lasted 20 minutes as Li squandered 10 match points and took her tally of double-faults for the match to nine before she finally sealed the win.
"I only can say: Welcome to the crazy women's tennis tour," she told the crowd in a courtside interview.
Poland's Agnieszka Radwanska, the second seed, breezed past Alize Cornet of France 7-5, 6-3 while Slovakia's Dominika Cibulkova brushed aside the challenge of Petra Kvitova, beating the Czech 6-3, 6-2.
Italian qualifier Camila Giorgi came back to Earth with a thud when she was thrashed 6-2, 6-1 by compatriot Flavia Pennetta less than 24 hours after she stunned Sharapova.
Romania's Simona Halep qualified for the last eight with a hard-fought 6-2, 1-6, 6-4 win over Canada's Eugenie Bouchard after trailing 4-3 in the deciding set.
"It wasn't my best tennis today, but I was fighting a lot," said Halep, ranked seventh in the world. "I did well. I think I came back in the third set very well."
Halep's next match will be against Australian qualifier Casey Dellacqua, who got a walkover to the quarter-finals after her American Lauren Davis retired with gastrointestinal illness.
Image: Flavia Pennetta of Italy returns a shot to Camila Giorgi of Italy
Photographs: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images