Nadal, Federer, join Murray in Indian Wells quarters
INDIAN WELLS – Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal advanced to the quarter-finals of the BNP Paribas Open on Wednesday, joining Britain’s Andy Murray in the last eight, though Japan’s Kei Nishikori crashed out.
Federer dispatched American Jack Sock in a 6-3 6-2 victory while Nadal beat Gilles Simon 6-2 6-4.
Nadal captured his opening set quite easily, but fell behind 2-0 in the second set before rebounding with an accurate serve to beat Simon for the seventh time in eight meetings.
“After playing a bad game with my serve I was able to be completely focused and mentally ready to be back and ready for the next game,” Nadal told reporters.
“I was there mentally waiting for the opportunity. Lucky I played a good few points in that game to have the break back.”
Murray reached the quarter-finals with a landmark win over Adrian Mannarino, while Spain’s Feliciano Lopez upset fifth-ranked Nishikori.
Murray’s 6-3 6-3 victory over Frenchman Adrian Mannarino put him level with Tim Henman as Britain’s most successful men’s player in the Open era on 496 singles victories.
“I thought I played well. It was a tricky match,” said Murray, who added that his 38th-ranked opponent’s low crosscourt backhand and short, flat forehand can be deceptive. “I thought I did a good job against a tough opponent.”
Murray will next face 33-year-old Lopez, who has reached his top ranking of 12th in the world.
Murray has never lost to the Lopez in nine previous meetings, though said he would not suffer from over confidence.
“He’s been playing the best tennis of his career these last 18 months or so,” said Murray. “And obviously had a great win today against Nishikori.”
Lopez belted 12 aces in the 6-4 7-6 (2) win over Nishikori, who squandered six of seven break points, and blamed his loss on a poor game that cost him the opening set.
“I think I really had one bad game at 5-4,” said Nishikori, who had never before reached the fourth round at Indian Wells.
“Until then, I was playing better. He was hitting good serves, but I had all the chances. Just one bad game at 5-4. I think that’s all that matters in today’s match.”
Down a set and 4-1 in the second, Nishikori battled back to level the set at 4-4, but Lopez recovered to force a tie-break before ending Nishikori’s run of reaching the quarter-finals or better in the four tournaments he had played this year. – Reuters