As we enter into the 9th day of the Indian Wells open, the 92 player draw is reduced to just 8 players who gave their best to reach the Quarterfinal stage of this tournament. On day 8 we had some sizzling performances came up giving out some tremendous results.The day began with the Canadian Milos Raonic defeating Andy Murray in three sets after coming back from one set deficit.Then was born the what can be called as match of the day- The match between Kevin Anderson and Stanislas Wawrinka.
Coming into this tournament, no one would have ever imagined that Wawrinka would have been stunned in the fourth round by the South African Anderson. He denied Wawrinka of his continued winning streak and registered a three set victory over the eventual Australian Open,giving the crowd an edge of the seat action. The next thing that was witnessed by the crowd was the genius of of Roger Federer himself who is yet to drop a set in the singles matches here. Federer beat his friendly rival Tommy Haas in straight sets, winning his 9th match in a row. Even the court must have felt happy to be graced by the Federer’s appreciable performance against Haas. In another match between Alexandr Dolgopolov and Fabio Fognini, Dolgopolov simply soared past his opponent in straight sets without facing any difficulty, proving that his win against Nadal was not a fluke.
Gulbis and Benetteau also made it to the last 8 by winning their matches in 3 and 2 sets respectively. Then came the turn of the man still carrying American hopes, John Isner. The 2012 runner up here beat Fernando Verdasco in 3 sets and made a spot in last 8. The last match of the day came out in favor of the Serbian world no.2 Novak Djokovic who had to work hard and sweat it out against the Croat Marin Cilic. Cilic won the first set by 6-1 and looked stronger than Novak. But Novak switched control of the match and took the next two sets, proving it yet again that why he stays a permanent challenge to his fellow players on tour. His smile sparkled like a freshly uncorked champagne after recording yet another comeback win.
Only three of the top ten seed are left in the draw. They are Novak Djokovic seeded 2nd, Roger Federer seeded 7th and Milos Raonic seeded 10th. Two of the four Quarterfinals matches of the Men’s singles will be played on day 9 that is Thursday, the remaining two will be played on Friday. Following are my predictions for the two matches to be played on Thursday:
1.Alexandr Dolgopolov vs Milos Raonic:
This will be an interesting line-up for the first quarterfinal of the day as Dolgopolov and Raonic, both have stunned Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray respectively on their voyage to the Quarterfinals and are desperate to prove their prowess. Raonic had to sweat it out to make his place in the quarters, whereas Dolgopolov flew past his opponent in straight sets. Both the players are carrying a lot of confidence and are playing some of the greatest tennis of their careers. Both of them are playing in a fantastic manner. Both of them have never played each other making this match all the more exciting and interesting.
Prediction: This is the toughest prediction of the tournament I have to make. Both the men have equal caliber and strength to win the match. The one who takes the early lead and builds pressure over his opponent will be the winner of the match and probably it will be Raonic who will emerge as the final winner. Rest assuered that both these players will give their best to make it to the Semifinals.
2.Kevin Anderson vs Roger Federer:
Anderson comes into this match carrying a lot of confidence he has gathered by beating the Swiss Stan Wawrinka in the pre-quarters. Most tennis experts and fans had not given Anderson a great chance against Wawrinka. He outclassed Stan in three sets and became the only man to beat him this year. He did what Djokovic, Nadal and even Berdych could not do this year. On the other hand the Swiss legend Roger Federer produced his best performance of last three matches by fending away the challenge of Tommy Haas. Continuing his unbeaten streak of 9 wins, Federer is making his 4th consecutive quarterfinal this year, which is a good result for the 32 year old Basel native. Federer and Anderson have faced each other just once. Their first and only meeting came in 2013 Paris Masters where Federer beat him in straight sets.
Prediction: Federer will take this match in straight sets because of his better experience than Anderson, though he must impose his game quickly and avoid facing lapses to beat the new Anderson – a player that has conquered Grand Slam champions Lleyton Hewitt and Wawrinka en route to his quarterfinal and is riding high on the new found confidence.
The excitement doesn’t end in this sport. The deeper the players go, the deeper the excitement grows. All the players will give their best to clinch their spot for the semifinals. It will be not about what they have done but now it’s just about what they’ll do.
Quoting Ella Wheeler Wilcox- ”Always continue the climb. It is possible for you to do whatever you choose, if you first get to know who you are and are willing to work with a power that is greater than ourselves to do it”
Safe to say, this quote has been reflected well in the performance of many a player, this week!
-Vishakha Khandelwal [Vishakha is a Tennis Analyst for Sportz Cosmos. You can reach her at the gmail id : sportzcosmos]