Indian Wells Day 4 Preview

Today was the first day with the men’s seeds in action and 4 of the 16 ATP seeds ended up falling but the women weren’t much more successful as 7 of the 16 WTA seeds fell. This leaves a lot of the sections of the draw wide open for unseeded player to make a deep run and pick up some big ranking points.

Angelique Kerber looked amazing as she came out for her first match of the tournament against Andrea Petkovic in the opening match on Stadium 1. The start of the match was relatively competitive but from 2-2, Angie got her first break of serve and then she got another break at 4-2 before she served it out very confidently. Kerber didn’t slow down during the second set as she was serving out of her mind, which had been weak point so far this season, and she only lost one point behind her first serve in the second set. Petkovic did have break point opportunities but Kerber saved all of them to take a dominant 6-2, 6-1 match. I expected this match to be closer as Petkovic had beaten and challenged Kerber in the past but the future world number 1 looked phenomenal out there today. I think now she’s shaken off the pressure of having to defend all the good results from last year and she’s back to playing her best tennis. Kerber now has third round clash with Pauline Parmentier.

Fabio Fognini got just his second top 10 win on a hardcourt of his career today as he got the better of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Tsonga did say he was struggling with a foot injury after the match, which has forced him to withdraw from the doubles which he planned to play with David Goffin. There were no breaks of serve in the first set but Fognini was the stronger throughout and that showed in the tiebreaker as Fognini fought through it and took it 7-4. Fognini had a lapse of concentration at the start of the second set and that led Tsonga to go up 3-0 with a break but Fognini didn’t concede the set as he often does and he kept fighting but he was unlucky seeing that he didn’t break back. Tsonga had to save a total of five break points in the second set but he eventually got there and served out the 6-3 set to level the score. The final set was one with many momentum swings but in the end it was Fognini who deserved the win as he was the one who was playing a cleaner game. Fognini went up 2-0 with the break at the start of the third set but Tsonga immediately broke back and then broke again to take the 3-2 lead. Fognini broke back again after a bunch of errors from Tsonga to lead 4-3 and from there he went to lead 5-4 on serve before a double fault and a forehand unforced error bought up two match points. Fognini only needed one and he closed it out 7-6(7-4), 3-6, 6-4 to set up a third round clash with Pablo Cuevas.

Venus Williams won her first match at Indian Wells since 2001 today as she produced an epic comeback over Jelena Jankovic despite the match being very low quality. This match was highly anticipated as these two are both well known veterans who have had tough battles before but today Venus wasn’t 100% psychically and Jankovic wasted her opportunities. For Jankovic,  it all went downhill from being a set and a break up which was probably from the pressure and expectation of closing it out. At the start of the match, Venus came out with heavy strapping on her arm and leg and when she started playing she was clearly injured and struggling out on court. Jankovic almost immediately went up a double break at the start of the set to lead 4-1 and then after a tough deuce game to hold she broke Venus to love and took the opener 6-1 after playing very successful tennis. Jankovic carried that through into the second set as she went up an early break and lead 4-1 but from their Jankovic’s game took a 360 turn and started nosediving. Her serve worsened considerably and she was making a lot more errors to offer Venus a way back in to the match, which the American took as she levelled the score at 4-4. Venus had an opportunity to serve the set out at 5-4 but a tiebreaker was forced by Venus when she was serving to stay in the match at 6-5 down. Before the breaker  Jankovic had THREE match points but she lost all of them with scrappy points and Venus ended up taking the set 7-6(7-5). From there it was all went the way of Venus as Jankovic barely won any points in the final set on the way to Venus taking the match 1-6, 7-6(7-5), 6-1 in a match that will haunt Jankovic for a while. Venus now has Lucie Safarova in what will be a tough third round clash.

Our feature match was next up on Stadium 1 as Stan Wawrinka moved past Paolo Lorenzi in quite a routine fashion. Lorenzi played reasonably well throughout but Wawrinka was really good and it looked like he has fully recovered from his knee injury that he sustained in Melbourne at the AO. Wawrinka got of to an excellent start as he raced out to a 4-1 lead with a break. Lorenzi probably served better overall in the first set but Wawrinka did enough to hang on to that break he got early as he went on to eventually serve out a 6-3 set. It was more one-sided in the second set despite what the scoreline suggests as Wawrinka really lifted his serving level and didn’t face a break point as well as only dropping one point behind his first serve. Wawrinka had a total of 9 break points in the second set so full credit to Lorenzi for saving eight of them but eventually Wawrinka got the break and there was no going back from that as the Swiss number one served out a 6-3, 6-4 victory. Although I thought the match would go quicker this is still good win for Wawrinka who will now face Phillip Kohlschrieber in the third round.

To open up the night session was the biggest upset of the tournament so far and it probably will remain the biggest upset of the whole tournament as Vasek Pospisil defeated Andy Murray. This is was a very competitive affair and I think that at this point everyone, including Murray, has just accepted that Andy isn’t able to play well at Indian Wellm which is supported by the fact that this is the fourth time in the last seven years Murray has lost in one of his opening two matches here. Pospisil was very intense and playing well from start to finish and he was just serving bullets past Murray. Pospisil did have his bad service games and Murray broke him twice in the first set but in the end Pospisil broke Murray three times to get himself a 6-4 set. Pospisil went up 2-0 in the second set with a break but Murray broke straight back and from there both men were solid on their serves till a breaker was forced. In the tiebreaker Pospisil started well and took an early lead and that’s what secured him the match and the Canadian took the biggest win of his career 6-4, 7-6(7-5). Pospisil will go on to face Dusan Lajovic in a very open section of the draw now.

The final match on Stadium 1 was a very high quality affair, especially during the first  two sets, as Lucie Safarova moved past Coco Vandweghe. Vandeweghe hasn’t won a match since she won the Australian Open quarterfinal and this is probably because she’s struggling with the pressure of being the favourite going in to most of her matches. Safarova has been playing good tennis this year but her draws just haven’t been kind to her so I’m not surprised to see her get this top 20 win and I wouldn’t be surprised if she continued this through more rounds in the desert. The first two sets of his clash were brilliant to watch as both women really wanted it and hit some unbelievable winners. Vandeweghe got a break in the middle of the first set and was able to hang on to that throughout the set as she eventually served it out 6-4. The second set was even tighter and there was barely anything separting the women up until Vandeweghe was serving to stay in the set at 4-5 down. From here Safarova hit some great shots to set up set point and eventually got the set 6-4 with a great forehand winner. Vandweghe totally lost focus at the start of the third set and she wasted all SEVEN break point oppurtunities she had on the Safarova serve. Safarova broke Vandeweghe twice in the final set on the way to taking the match 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 in a match where Safarova played phenomenally.

Other Matches:

Dominic Thiem defeated Jeremy Chardy 6-2, 6-4

John Isner defeated Mikhail Kukushkin 7-6(7-0), 7-6 (8-6)

Tomas Berdych defeated Bjorn Fratangelo 7-6(7-4), 6-4

Simona Halep defeated Donna Vekic 6-4, 6-1

Yoshihito Nishioka defeated Ivo Karlovic 6-4, 6-3

Madison Keys defeated Mariana Duque-Marino 6-1, 7-5

Gael Monfils defeated Darian King 3-6, 6-0, 6-1

Elena Vesnina defeated Shelby Rogers 6-4, 7-5

Caroline Wozniacki defeated Magda Linette 6-3, 6-0

David Goffin defeated Karen Khachanov 6-4, 3-6, 6-3

Agnieszka Radwanksa defeated Sara Sorribes Tormo 6-3, 6-4

Julia Goerges defeated Samantha Stosur 4-6, 6-4, 6-4

Roberto Bautista Agut defeated Adrian Mannarino 7-5, 6-2

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