Djokovic rallies to win in 3 sets at Indian Wells
Top-ranked Novak Djokovic rallied to beat Pablo Andujar 6-0, 6-7
(5), 6-2 on Wednesday and reach the quarterfinals of the BNP
Paribas Open, while No. 1 Victoria Azarenka improved to 21-0 on the
season with a straight-set win on the women’s side.
Djokovic, the two-time defending champion, raced through the
first set in 27 minutes before Andujar picked up his game. The
Spaniard, who had lost his previous meeting against Djokovic in
straight sets, held at love to even the second set 1-1, drawing
encouraging cheers from the crowd at the Indian Wells Tennis
Second-ranked Rafael Nadal defeated 21st-seeded Alexandr
Dolgopolov 6-3, 6-2 to set up a quarterfinal against David
Nalbandian, who upset sixth-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 3-6, 7-5,
No. 3 Roger Federer was to play a fourth-round match later,
completing a parade of the world’s highest-ranked players on a
warm, sunny day in the Southern California desert.
Azarenka routed fifth-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska 6-0, 6-2 in
just over an hour to tie Serena Williams’ 2003 record of 21-0 to
start a season. The Belarusian has already won three titles this
year, and now has her sights on Martina Hingis’ record 37-0 start
to the 1997 season.
”I was executing my shots brilliantly,” Azarenka said.
Against Djokovic, Andujar held at 6-6 to force a tiebreaker,
which he won 7-5 as the Serb committed a slew of errors. Djokovic
broke to open the third, then again to lead 5-2. He served out the
match at 40-love, winning when Andujar’s forehand service return
”He surprised me with his aggressive approach. He was taking
the ball early and was playing well,” Djokovic said. ”Second set,
I start playing a little bit more defensive, and that allowed him
to come back to the match. All the credit for him to play the way
he played. The second set I could have won, but I managed to stay
calm mentally and just find my rhythm again.”
Andujar fell to 1-8 against top-10 players, although he hung in
for a stretch against Djokovic, keeping him on the run at the
baseline with deep shots. The friendship between Djokovic and the
26-year-old Spaniard dates to when they played each other in an
under-16 match in Belgium.
”I had six match points, and I lost that match 7-6 in the third
set,” Djokovic said. ”We joke around a bit at the times when we
were growing up.”
Radwanska won two of the final three games in the quarterfinal
match to avoid a shutout in falling to 1-5 in her career against a
No. 1-ranked player.
”I was (ticked), yeah, in the first set especially losing
6-love is not fun,” she said. ”Especially when you expect that
you’re at this kind of level that you can beat anyone. But then I
was seeing that she was playing just too good.”
All four of Radwanska’s losses this year have been to Azaranka,
including a straight-set defeat last month in Doha when Azarenka
injured her ankle.
She kept playing, but appeared to be in pain and was visibly
distraught. Radwanska later said she ”lost a lot of respect” for
Azarenka because her behavior wasn’t a good image for women’s
”I hope I was a good example of women’s tennis,” Azarenka said
She had said earlier that she never had a problem with
Radwanska, and the two women briefly clasped hands at the end of
their latest match before walking away.
”It was the past, and now is a new tournament, new match,”
Radwanska said. ”You know, everything from the beginning.”
Azarenka also insisted there was no carryover from the situation
”I have to play a very good match and show excellent tennis to
beat her, so that’s what I was mainly focused on,” she said.
”She’s the same person, same great player as she was before,
and I have tons of respect to her game.”
Other winners were: No. 11 seed John Isner, who defeated Aussie
Matthew Ebden 6-4, 7-5; and No. 12 Nicolas Almagro, who defeated
No. 7 Tomas Berdych 6-4, 6-0.
The top-ranked American doubles duo of twins Bob and Mike Bryan
withdrew from their quarterfinal match when Mike fell ill, although
tournament officials didn’t immediately say whether he has the same
viral illness that has forced at least eight players out of the