Rafael Nadal d. Alexander Zverev 6-7(8) 6-0 7-5
Tennis is a very cruel sport and remembered it again. Alexander Zverev was dominating in the third set against an unconsistent Nadal. The German was very close to get the most important win of his career, the first one against a top 10 player, and on the match point makes a volleying unforced error. The Spaniard has come back him winning five games in a row, from 2-5 to 7-5.
In the tie-break of first set Nadal saved at first a set point thanks to an error by Zverev with the return. Nadal went up 7-6 but the young player kept playing aggressive, finding amazing angles with the backhand but Rafa is always there, with the forehand that helps him in the defensive point. With a set point in favour, Nadal makes a forehand unforced error, then another error and Zverev took the set with a winner first serve.
If the second set was a dominance, the third one was full of emotions: Zverev went up 3-1 and then hold to lead 4-1. In the sixth game he has even the chance to lead 5-1, but Rafa with the heart succeeds to go through it with an ace and a winner forehand that allows him to be down “Only” 2-4. On 5-2 Zverev makes a disaster, putting the easy vole on the net. From there Nadal will win 18 points on 22, qualifying for the second year in a row in the quarter-finals where he will face Kei Nishikori. For Zverev a such big win it’s only a matter of time, today he deserved it: in almost the entire match he showed to have courage and no fear, but in the decisive moment showed to be not accostumed to such matches, but he is only 18 and can improve a lot.
Rafa’s next opponent will be Kei Nishikori, who reaches for the first time in career (on eight appearances) the quarter-finals in Indian Wells beating the John Isner 1-6 7-6(2) 7-6(5), after having saved a match point to the American in the 12th game game of the third sets. Isner fires 23 aces but it’s not enough. Head to head against Nadal see Nishikori be down 1-7, but he won the last meeting in Montreal last year.
N. Djokovic d. F. Lopez 6-3 6-3
No problem for defending champion Novak Djokovic, who takes the revenge against Feliciano Lopez, who had beat him in Dubai when Nole retired. Fast and not beautiful first set, with the Serb who changes the angles from the back of the court and despite he makes more unforced errors (10) than winners (7), he is good to capitalize the less chances he has in the return games. Feliciano plays well on serve (100% with the first serve, 60% with the second serve) and wins three serve games on four at love. However the sixth game is decisive: the Toledo Native, up 30-0, loses four points in a row and then the first set. In the second set the break made by Nole in the third game makes the difference: Feliciano gets even more tired because of the long match against Bautista Agut the previous day and gets broken in the ninth game too. After more than an hour, Djokovic qualifies for the quarterfinals where he will face Jo Wilfried Tsonga, who beat Dominic Thiem 6-3 6-2.
Stan Wawrinka could not avoid the loss against David Goffin, who beat him 6-3 5-7 7-6(5). Between broken rackets, incredible unforced errors and body language not good, Stan finds himself down 6-3 4-0. Then thanks to a Goffin who drops his level physically he returns in the match. However in the tie-break on 5-all he missed an avoidable smash very close to the net. Now Goffin will face Marin Cilic, who beat Richard Gasquet 7-5 5-7 6-2. Marin has had some knee problems, but managed to win after the 11 losses in a row against top 10 players.
Beautiful win for Milos Raonic. The Canadian defeated Tomas Berdych 6-4 7-6(7). Raonic, who reached semifinals last week, took the right decision in the key moments. Milos will play against Gael Monfils, who defeated Federico Delbonis 6-3 6-4.
Results of Wednesday 16 March:
10]M.Cilic b. R.Gasquet 7-5 5-7 6-2
J. W. Tsonga d. Thiem 6-3 6-2
D.Goffin b. S.Wawrinka 6-3 5-7 7-6(5)
M.Raonic b. T.Berdych 6-4 7-6(7)
R.Nadal b. A.Zverev 6-7(8) 6-0 7-5
G.Monfils b. F.Delbonis 6-3 6-4
N.Djokovic b. F.Lopez 6-3 6-3
K.Nishikori b. J.Isner 1-6 7-6(2) 7-6(5)