Indian Wells: Doubles Shine in the Desert

Stanislas Wawrinka’s undefeated win-streak came to an end on Day-10 of the BNP Paribas Open, defeated in 3-sets by South African Kevin Anderson. Anderson’s had a remarkable month with Finals appearances in Delray Beach and Acapulco – even a Doubles title at the Mexican lead-in to Indian Wells. He’ll face Roger Federer in the Quarterfinals tonight on Stadium-1. Roger pulled-through with a two set win over Tommy Haas, while Mary-Jo Fernandez babysat the twins.

Bob and Mike - Defending Champions
Bob and Mike – Defending Champions

Andy Murray’s on his way to Miami, eliminated in 3-sets by Milos Roanic. Delray and Zagreb Champion Marin Cilic took Novak Djokovic to the woodshed in their first set, but Nole fought back to win it in three…just after midnight. Agnieszka Radwanska and Doha Champion Simona Halep each won – their Doha Semifinal rematch is scheduled for tomorrow.

Stadium-2 Results from Wednesday:

  • [28] A Dolgopolov (UKR) def. [13] F Fognini (ITA) 6-2 6-4
  • [20] E Gulbis (LAT) def. R Bautista Agut (ESP) 7-6(0) 4-6 6-2
  • [12] J Isner (USA) def. [30] F Verdasco (ESP) 7-6(3) 3-6 6-3
  • J Benneteau (FRA) def. F Lopez (ESP) 6-3 7-6(4)
  • [1] B Bryan (USA) / M Bryan (USA) def. N Mahut (FRA) / J Tsonga (FRA) 7-6(9) 7-6(3)
  • R Federer (SUI) / S Wawrinka (SUI) def. [4] L Paes (IND) / R Stepanek (CZE) 6-3 6-7(6) 10-4

Stadium-2’s line-up was packed with solid tennis again on Wednesday, starting with Rafa-slayer Alex Dolgopolov in the day’s first Quarterfinal. Alex never lost focus, despite the tantrums and tirades of the emotional Italian. The day’s drama from Fabio included two foot-faults, a netted “tweener” volley, and at least one broken raquet. Ultimately, Fognini had no answers for Dolgopolov’s focus and determination, and boarded his flight to Miami with a solid 17-5 record (Title in Vina del Mar, Finals appearance in Buenos Aires and 4th-Round finish at the Australian Open). Dolgopolov gets World #11 Milos Raonic this afternoon – their first meeting on the ATP World Tour. With a Finals appearance in Rio, Semifinals appearance in Acapulco, and his first win over Nadal – I asked Alex if he was peaking at the right time to deliver on the Indian Wells title. Like most on tour, it was way too early to talk about titles…he’s very happy with the aggressive way he’s playing, it’s led to some good results, and he looks forward to maintaining that focus moving forward in the Quaterfinals.

Indian Wells - Gulbis Chilly Handshake
Ernests and the “Spoiled Princess”

And then came Ernests – again – to Stadium-2. The 4th-Round match with Roberto Bautista-Agut, the “spoiled princess” as Ernests refers to him, provided its share of smashed racquets, distractions and chair-umpire side-bars. [The friction between the two stems from Bautista Agut’s complaints over Gulbis’ ‘squeeky sneakers’ during a match last year in St. Petersburg]. The match featured three breaks to start both the second and third sets, a ridiculous Gulbis double-fault to make it 3-all in the third, some late match cramping from the Latvian, and another classic post-match interview. After the match, when asked about the cramping, he said he was fine…in fact, he was headed to a practice court for some sprints and foot-work drills to satisfy his ‘pissed’ coach. Pointing out the obvious, I simply said: “You and Roberto have an interesting relationship.” To which he reponded: “I would prefer NO relationship.” Ernests is into his first Quarterfinal here at Indian Wells and he’ll get American John Isner next. Random truth: After beating Roberto Bautista-Agut in thier two previous meetings in St. Petersburg and Marseille, Gulbis went on to win the title.

John Isner’s playing solid tennis, making a run reminiscent of his 2012 BNP Paribas Open. Two years ago, he lost to Roger Federer in the Final and won the Doubles title with partner Sam Querrey. Stadium-2’s third match saw John conquer good friend Fernando Verdasco in three sets. John and Sam then went on to win their doubles match versus the 3-seeds Ivan Dodig and Marcelo Melo. (They’ll play Bob and Mike Bryan in today’s Semifinal on Stadium-1). During the post-match chat after his singles win, John said he’s looking forward to the Quarterfinal battle with the ‘unpredictable’ Gulbis: “Hopefully Ernests will run out of raquets by smashing them all during the match.”

32-year-old Julien Benneteau’s mantra during this year’s tournament has been “Why not?” He defeated the #9-seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the 2nd-round, delivered a tough 2-setter against 20-year-old Dominic Thiem in the 3rd, and took out Feliciano Lopez yesterday for the 6th-time in their eight meetings. Benneteau hasn’t lost a set since the 1st-Round. It’s only Julien’s second Masters-1000 Quarterfinal in a long career. He completely understands the weight of the opportunity, but it’s light on his shoulders. He’s going to need that “Why Not Me?” free-swinging attitude in the Quarterfinal, where he’ll face Novak Djokovic. Julien’s won only one of their six previous matches…and that was back in 2006.

Doubles became “The Show” Wednesday night at the BNP Paribas Open. With sparse attendence in Stadium-1 for the Jankovic vs. Radwanska Quarterfinal…Stadium-2 was packed with fans for the Bryans, Nicolas Mahut, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Leander Paes, Radek Stepanek, and of course Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka. Bob and Mike pushed through to the Semifinal with a highly entertaining, two tie-break sets win over Tsonga and Mahut. The defending champions were excited to hear that they’d be playing Davis Cup teammates John Isner and Sam Querrey in today’s Semifinal – a battle between the past two champions of the tournament. Roger and Stan managed to win another thriller over the reigning US Open Champions Leander Paes and Radek Stepanek (10-4 in the match tie-break). Stan actually nailed Roger in the back of the head with a forehand during the match. After the match, Stan joked that he was just taking out his frustration after being eliminated from the Singles draw earlier in the day, while his teammate made it through. Still alive in the Doubles draw, we took some time to congratulate Stan on an amazing start to 2014: 13-1, two titles including his first Grand Slam, and potentially a Doubles Title…if he doesn’t give his partner a concussion.
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Men’s Singles Round-of-16 Results…

  • [2] N Djokovic (SRB) def. [24] M Cilic (CRO) 1-6 6-2 6-3
  • [17] K Anderson (RSA) def. [3] S Wawrinka (SUI) 7-6(1) 4-6 6-1
  • [10] M Raonic (CAN) def. [5] A Murray (GBR) 4-6 7-5 6-3
  • [7] R Federer (SUI) def. [11] T Haas (GER) 6-4 6-4
  • [12] J Isner (USA) def. [30] F Verdasco (ESP) 7-6(3) 3-6 6-3
  • [28] A Dolgopolov (UKR) def. [13] F Fognini (ITA) 6-2 6-4
  • [20] E Gulbis (LAT) def. R Bautista Agut (ESP) 7-6(0) 4-6 6-2
  • J Benneteau (FRA) def. F Lopez (ESP) 6-3 7-6(4)

Men’s Doubles Quarterfinals…

  • [1] B Bryan (USA) / M Bryan (USA) def. N Mahut (FRA) / J Tsonga (FRA) 7-6(9) 7-6(3)
  • J Isner (USA) / S Querrey (USA) def. [3] I Dodig (CRO) / M Melo (BRA) 4-6 7-5 10-8
  • R Federer (SUI) / S Wawrinka (SUI) def. [4] L Paes (IND) / R Stepanek (CZE) 6-3 6-7(6) 10-4


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Ladies Singles Quarterfinals…

  • [2] A Radwanska (POL) def. [7] J Jankovic (SRB) 7-5 2-6 6-4
  • [6] S Halep (ROU) def. [Q] C Dellacqua (AUS) 6-2 6-2

Ladies Doubles Quarterfinals…

  • [1] S Hsieh (TPE) / S Peng (CHN) def. [7] A Barty (AUS) / C Dellacqua (AUS) 6-3 6-4
  • [5] C Black (ZIM) / S Mirza (IND) def. [2] E Makarova (RUS) / E Vesnina (RUS) 6-4 6-1
  • [WC] S Kuznetsova (RUS) / S Stosur (AUS) def. K Date-Krumm (JPN) / B Zahlavova Strycova (CZE) 1-6 6-3 10-6


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Here’s what to expect today, on Day-11 of the BNP Paribas Open 2014: Two Quarterfinal matches from the fellas, the two remaining Quarterfinals and a Doubles Semifinal from the ladies; plus an all-American Doubles Semifinal featuring Davis Cup Teammates Sam Querrey, John Isner, and the Bryan Brothers.

STADIUM 1 start 11:00 am
WTA – [1] N Li (CHN) vs [12] D Cibulkova (SVK)
Not Before 1:00 pm
ATP – [28] A Dolgopolov (UKR) vs [10] M Raonic (CAN)
Not Before 3:00 pm
WTA – [20] F Pennetta (ITA) vs [17] S Stephens (USA)
ATP – [1] B Bryan (USA) / M Bryan (USA) vs J Isner (USA) / S Querrey (USA)
Not Before 7:00 pm
ATP – [17] K Anderson (RSA) vs [7] R Federer (SUI)
WTA – [8] L Hradecka (CZE) / J Zheng (CHN) vs [5] C Black (ZIM) / S Mirza (IND)