Thiem Overtakes Federer After Indian Wells Triumph

Dominic Thiem of Austria celebrates after a break point during the third set against Roger Federer of Switzerland on day fourteen of the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden on March 17, 2019 in Indian Wells, California. Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images/AFP

 

Dominic Thiem climbed to a career-best ranking of fourth on Monday after clinching his maiden ATP Masters title with his defeat of Roger Federer at Indian Wells.

Austrian Thiem, who was also briefly ranked fourth in the world in late 2017, rose four places after beating Federer 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 on Sunday to deny the Swiss star a record sixth Indian Wells crown.

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Federer, 37, dropped one spot to fifth as the top three remained unchanged with Novak Djokovic ahead of Rafael Nadal and Alexander Zverev despite the Serb’s third-round exit in California.

Nadal, who pulled out of his semi-final with Federer due to a knee injury, will skip this week’s Miami Masters as he targets a return to competition for the clay-court season.

Juan Martin del Potro dropped three spots to eighth after he was unable to defend his Indian Wells crown because of a knee problem. The Argentine will also miss the Miami event.

ATP rankings on March 18:

1. Novak Djokovic (SRB) 10,990 pts

2. Rafael Nadal (ESP) 8,725

3. Alexander Zverev (GER) 6,630

4. Dominic Thiem (AUT) 4,755 (+4)

5. Roger Federer (SUI) 4,600 (-1)

6. Kei Nishikori (JPN) 4,235 (+1)

7. Kevin Anderson (RSA) 4,115 (-1)

8. Juan Martin del Potro (ARG) 3,585 (-3)

9. John Isner (USA) 3,485

10. Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE) 3,160

11. Marin Cilic (CRO) 3,095

12. Karen Khachanov (RUS) 2,845 (+1)

13. Borna Coric (CRO) 2,345 (-1)

14. Milos Raonic (CAN) 2,275

15. Daniil Medvedev (RUS) 2,230

16. Marco Cecchinato (ITA) 2,021

17. Fabio Fognini (ITA) 1,885

18. Gael Monfils (FRA) 1,875 (+1)

19. Nikoloz Basilashvili (GEO) 1,865 (-1)

20. David Goffin (BEL) 1,685 (+1)

AFP

Nadal Cruises To Third Round Victory At Indian Wells

Rafael Nadal of Spain during their men’s singles second round match on day seven of the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden on March 10, 2019 in Indian Wells, California. Clive Brunskill/Getty Images/AFP

 

World number two Rafael Nadal steamed into the third round of the ATP Indian Wells Masters on Sunday with a 6-1, 6-1 victory over American Jared Donaldson.

The 17-time Grand Slam champion, who owns three Indian Wells titles, needed just 72 minutes to get past world number 192 Donaldson, who returned to the tour in February after six months sidelined by a knee injury.

The Spanish star is playing his third tournament of a year that opened with a runner-up finish to Novak Djokovic at the Australian Open.

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He next faces Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman, a 6-3, 6-1 winner over Spain’s Roberto Carbralles.

AFP

Serena Downs Azarenka To Reach Indian Wells Second Round

INDIAN WELLS, CALIFORNIA – MARCH 08: Serena Williams of the United States celebrates her women’s singles second round match victory against Victoria Azarenka of Belarus on Day 5 of the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden on March 08, 2019 in Indian Wells, California. Yong Teck Lim/Getty Images/AFP

 

 

Serena Williams defeated Victoria Azarenka 7-5, 6-3 in a battle of former world number ones on Friday to reach the second round at Indian Wells.

Williams, seeded 10th in her first tournament since a quarter-final exit at the Australian Open, needed two hours and seven minutes to get past her long-time rival.

She took her record against Azarenka to 18-4, although the Belarusian, now ranked 48th in the world, had triumphed in their most recent prior meeting in the 2016 final on the same Indian Wells stadium court.

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“It’s hard to play somebody you’re so close to,” Williams said. “It’s also invigorating.”

Williams advanced to a third-round meeting with another former world number one, Spain’s Garbine Muguruza, who beat American Lauren Davis 6-1, 6-3.

AFP

Rain Halts Federer’s Opening Match At Indian Wells

Rain Halts Federer's Opening Match At Indian Wells
File photo

Defending champ Roger Federer’s opening match was put on hold Saturday when play at the Indian Wells ATP Masters was suspended after heavy rain swept through the California desert.

The 36-year-old Federer had taken a set from Federico Delbonis 6-3 with the second tied at 2-2 when rain stopped play.

The start of the match had been delayed several minutes by light rain in a precursor of worse weather to come.

With the showers expected to continue, organizers eventually suspended play for the night, with the match to resume on Sunday.

One women’s match had yet to be completed and another didn’t even make it on court, and those two were also to be completed on Sunday.

Federer and Delbonis will be the third match on stadium court on Sunday after 10th seeded Novak Djokovic plays his opener against Japan’s Taro Daniel.

Federer is seeking to extend his perfect record this season to 13-0 as he hopes to make history and capture his sixth title.

The age-defying Swiss maestro has already won two titles in 2018, claiming his 20th Grand Slam crown at the Australian Open in January.

In men’s play earlier, world number four Grigor Dimitrov slumped to a shock 7-6 (7/4), 4-6, 6-3 defeat to Spain’s Fernando Verdasco.

Dimitrov continues to struggle in Indian Wells. The 26-year-old Bulgarian No. 1 has never made it past the third round in seven appearances.

Dimitrov reached the final earlier this year in Rotterdam, where he lost to Federer. That came after a breakthrough 2017 which saw him win four titles, including Sofia, Cincinnati, Brisbane and the ATP Finals.

Verdasco, 34, is making his 15th straight appearance in Indian Wells and trying to improve on his 2009 quarter-final run.

– ‘Amazing feeling’ –

“It is an amazing feeling when you come to a tournament like this and in a stadium with a good atmosphere against one of the top players in the world. You know you’re able to do your job and have a good day and win the match,” said Verdasco.

“So it was a really good feeling. I am super happy to win and come through this tough opponent and this tough round.

“I am just going to enjoy the victory and try to keep it going in the next round and make it as far as possible.”

Fifth-seeded Dominic Thiem defeated teenager Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 in a second-round match.

Thiem moved through to a third-round meeting with 30th seed Pablo Cuevas, of Uruguay, who beat Canadian Denis Shapovalov 7-6 (7/4), 6-3.

Thiem, 24, is hoping to improve on last year’s quarter-final finish at Indian Wells, one of the biggest events on the tennis calendar outside of the four Grand Slams.

Other men’s winners on Saturday included American Taylor Fritz, Czech Tomas Berdych and South Korea’s Chung Hyeon.

AFP

Indian Wells: Dimitrov Suffers Shock Defeat In Opening Match

Indian Wells: Dimitrov Suffers Shock Defeat In Opening Match
File photo

 

World number four Grigor Dimitrov slumped to a shock 7-6 (7/4), 4-6, 6-3 defeat to Spain’s Fernando Verdasco in his opening match of the ATP Indian Wells Masters on Saturday.

Dimitrov continues to struggle in the California desert, the 26-year-old Bulgarian No. 1 never made it past the third round in seven appearances.

Dimitrov reached the final earlier this year in Rotterdam, where he lost to Roger Federer. That came after a breakthrough 2017 which saw him win four titles, including Sofia, Cincinnati, Brisbane and the ATP Finals.

Verdasco, 34, is making his 15th straight appearance in Indian Wells and trying to improve on his 2009 quarter-final run.

AFP

Indian Wells: Azarenka Defeats Serena

Indian wellsFormer world number one, Victoria Azarenka, took advantage of an error-prone display by Serena Williams to win her second BNP Paribas Open title at Indian Wells in California.

The 26-year-old Belarusian beat the American number one seed 6-4 6-4 under 90 minutes in front of a stunned crowd at the sun-baked Indian Wells tennis garden.

Azarenka broke the top-seeded American once in the opening set and twice in the second before wrapping up the victory.

Meanwhile, world number one Novak Djokovic produced a sublime form to clinch an unprecedented fifth men’s title at Indian Wells.

The Serb beat big-serving Canadian Milos Raonic with a 6-2 6-love in the men’s final.

The 28-year-old Serb broke his out-of-sorts opponent twice in the first set and three times in the second to wrap up victory in one hour 17 minutes on a blazing hot afternoon.

Nadal out to halt the Grand Slam beatdowns

Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal says he’s not obsessed with beating Novak Djokovic despite some heavy soul searching after seven straight losses to the world No 1, the last three in Grand Slam finals.

“I don’t have the spirit of revenge. I don’t have the spirit of obsession of another player,” Nadal said on Thursday at the ATP Tour’s Indian Wells Masters series tournament.

“I want to improve to beat Novak and Roger (Federer). I try every day to improve my level of tennis.

“But whenever I go on the court for practice I don’t think about Novak, I think about getting better.”

Spaniard Nadal says he’s ready to reclaim his throne as the top ranked player in the world, but that path clearly goes through Djokovic, who defeated Nadal in the final of this year’s Australian Open 5-7, 6-4, 6-2, 6-7 (5/7), 7-5 to win his fifth Grand Slam title and third in a row.

The match lasted almost six hours, the longest Grand Slam final in history, and marked Djokovic’s seventh-straight win over the clay court specialist, beginning with last year’s final here in the California desert.

“It was a great match, great quality and it was physically demanding and emotional. He won, I lost and I was happy to be part of that,” said Nadal, who is playing his first tournament since the Australian Open.

World No 2 Nadal holds a 16-14 career record over Djokovic but couldn’t overcome the Serb in the most recent Aussie Open, US Open and Wimbledon.

“You have to have a reference on what you have to do to improve,” said Nadal, who won the 2011 French Open. “I prefer to be in front.”

Nadal, 25 said there is no magic formula to beating Djokovic. It is going to come down to hard work.

“He brings tennis to another level. But nobody is forever. There was Federer then something happened and then Djokovic and in three to five years when I come back here there will be somebody better than him. I don’t know if it will be me the one to have success.

“Victories for everybody have an end.”

Nadal, Indian Wells champion in 2007 and 2009 — will play a South American in his opening second round match of the men’s draw which got under way on Thursday.

If he gets past either Argentina’s Leonardo Mayer or Colombian Alejandro Falla, who played on Friday, he would be on track to possibly face world No 6 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga or tenth seeded Janko Tipsarevic in the quarterfinals.

“I feel I am hitting more winners than before,” said Nadal, who is 31-5 at Indian Wells.

 

Murray Dumped As Djokovic Progresses At The Indian Wells

Andy Murray

World No 1 Novak Djokovic eased into the third round of the Indian Wells ATP tournament on Saturday while fourth-seeded Andy Murray made a premature exit.

Djokovic, champion here in 2008 and last year, handed out a 6-3 6-2 thrashing to Kazakhstan qualifier Andrey Golubev, breaking his opponent’s serve twice in each set to triumph in one hour 20 minutes.

“It was a good start,” the top-seeded Serb said in a courtside interview after sealing the win with a powerful first serve that forced a wild backhand error by his 145th-ranked opponent.

“We didn’t play a beautiful match and there were a lot of unforced errors but look, it’s the opening match of the tournament for me and I am still getting used to the conditions and adjusting to the court.

“Hopefully the next match will be better,” added the Serb, who won his fifth grand slam crown at the Australian Open in January.

Djokovic, who beat Spaniard Rafa Nadal in last year’s final, will next face South African Kevin Anderson, who benefited from a walkover when Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber withdrew due to an unspecified illness.

World No 4 Murray, runner-up at Indian Wells in 2009, was upset 6-4 6-2 by 92nd-ranked Spaniard Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, the second year in a row the Briton was eliminated in his opening match at Indian Wells.

“My return let me down and he hardly missed the ball,” Murray said after being broken once in the opening set and twice in the second. “I hit my backhand poorly tonight, no question.

“With the level of tennis nowadays you get no easy first round matches and you play a poor match, that’s what happens.”

Earlier, Czech Tomas Berdych advanced with a 6-7 6-3 6-4 win over Ukrainian Sergiy Stakhovsky while AmericanAndy Roddick clawed his way back to beat Poland’s Lukasz Kubot 4-6 7-6 6-3.

Roddick, a break down and trailing 4-5 in the second set, was in danger of losing the match when he suddenly found form with his service returns to take control.

“That was all the difference,” said Roddick, whose world ranking of 31st is his worst since August 2001. “I had to have hit 10 winner returns from that point from being down in the second (set).

“I started putting pressure on every service game he had and broke like four times from then from not breaking at all for the first hour and 45 (minutes) I was out there.

“It was like a line in the sand. It went from terrible to good, for whatever reason. In the first two sets I couldn’t have hit a return into the ocean from the beach, much less on a tennis court.”

Former world No 1 Roddick will take on Berdych in the third round.

“We know each other pretty well,” he said of the Czech. “We’ve played a lot over the last couple of years. I think I’ve gotten him more than he’s gotten me.”