INDIAN WELLS OPEN 2014: Semifinals Preview

On the day of the ongoing Indian Wells tournament, Round of 8 took place. In these quarterfinal matches, John Isner beat Ernests Gulbis in a tight slugfest and continued to carry American hopes. He has reached the semifinal here for 2nd time in three years and looks on to continue his inspiring performances. On the other hand, Novak Djokovic found his lost momentum and powered into gear to brush aside the challenge of Julien Benetteau in straight sets, the latter winning just 4 games in the whitewash process. Both the winners play each other for a spot in the final and join Roger Federer and Alexandr Dolgopolov in the semifinal stage of this tournament played amidst the desert of Coachella Valley.

Following are my analysis of the remaining four players and prediction for the starry semifinal lineups:

1. [7] Roger Federer vs.[28] Alexandr Dolgopolov:

Analyzing Federer:
7th seed Federer entered this tournament by winning the Dubai open and carried a lot of confidence by beating rivals such as Djokovic and Berdych . This is the Swiss maestro’s 4th semifinal in 4 tournaments this year, sending an alarm for his fellow players, showing that he is not done yet and is on a 10 match winning streak. He has been steam rolling over his opponents, and is playing some fine shots, making his racket look like a magic wand. He is aiming for his 5th Indian Wells trophy and 79th career trophy and is yet to drop a set here.
His road to the Semifinals is as follows:
R64: Beats Paul-Henri Mathieu- 6-2, 7-6
R32: Beats Dmitry Tursunov- 7-6, 7-6
R16: Beats Tommy Haas- 6-4, 6-4
QF: Beats Kevin Anderson- 7-5, 6-1

Analyzing Dolgopolov:
28th seed Dolgopolov entered the tournament by reaching the finals of Rio Open (l. to Nadal) and he beat David Ferrer in semis at Rio. After the Rio open he played in Acapulco, losing in semis to Kevin Anderson. En route to his 3rd consecutive semifinal this year, Dolgopolov has displayed some excellent performances, causing the biggest upset of the tournament by hunting down Nadal in R32, avenging the Rio Open loss.

His road to the Semifinals is as follows:
R64: Beats Tim Smyczek- 7-6, 6-4
R32: Beats Rafael Nadal-6-3, 3-6, 7-6
R16: Beats Fabio Fognini- 6-2, 6-4
QF: Beats Milos Raonic- 6-3, 6-4

The first semifinal of the day of men’s singles format will be played between the Swiss maestro Roger Federer and the man from Ukraine, Alexandr Dolgopolov. Both the players are performing the best they can and won’t give it up against each other easily. Where Federer is playing exceptional tennis with his flair and grace, Dolgopolov is downing his opponents with full strength and powerful game and his continuing his grand run at the tournament.

Federer and Dolgopolov have played each other just once back in 2010 at the R32 of the Basel Open where Federer was leading by 6-4, 5-2 and Dolgopolov retired due to injury after that.

Both the players soared past their opponents in their respective quarterfinal matches. An entertaining match can be expected out of both of them.

REDICTION: Although Dolgopolov is enjoying a great form right now, but according to me it is not enough to beat Federer at the time being. Federer has better experience than Dolgopolov and he won’t let the opportunity go so easily. If Dolgopolov has to beat Federer today, he will have to bring out the double of what he has done throughout the tournament. He will have to attack Federer right from the first ball they hit today. And if Federer is to win, he will have to stay very sharp from the beginning and grab the opportunities right from the root of the match. He will have to carry on the form he is enjoying right now by avoiding errors and continue his sharp play at the net.

According to me, the score line at the end will be in favor of Federer. He will win in two tough sets and might also be taken to three but will emerge as the final winner. I expect this match to give the crowd an edge of the seat action.

2. [12] John Isner vs. [2] Novak Djokovic:

Analyzing Isner: The 12th seeded American giant Isner has made it to the Semifinals of this tournament for 2nd time in three years and will be aiming for his 2nd final here at the Indian Wells open. This year Isner has won the Auckland open but was tamed by troubles then .He suffered from foot injury forcing him to retire in the round 1 match of the Australian open and Davis cup ties. But Isner then came back and reached the semis of the Delray Beach Open. Then he came to Indian wells, playing some fiery tennis and has now reached the semifinals again, repeating the feat he achieved in 2012.His road to the semifinals is as follows:

R64: Beats Nikolay Davydenko- 7-6, 6-3
R32: Beats Yen-Hsun Lu- 6-4, 6-3
R16: Beats Fernando Verdasco- 7-6, 3-6, 6-3
QF: Beats Ernests Gulbis- 7-6, 7-6

Analyzing Djokovic: The 2nd seeded man from Serbia has had a relatively poor start to this year. Although he joined hands with Boris Becker as his new coach, the Serb failed to defend his titles at the Australian Open and at Dubai losing to Stanislas Wawrinka and Roger Federer in Quarterfinal and Semifinal respectively. But a determined Djokovic came to the Indian Wells looking forward to improve his performance as a player on hard court. He had a difficult outing in round of 32 and round of 16 but he showed his mettle and found his lost momentum in the quarterfinal match where he played quite a match. This is his 4th consecutive semifinal here and is hungry for more success.
Following is his road to the semifinals:
R64: Beats Victor Hanescu- 7-6, 6-2
R32: Beats Alejandro Gonzalez- 6-1, 3-6, 6-1
R16: Beats Marin Cilic- 1-6, 6-2, 6-3
QF: Beats Julien Benetteau- 6-1, 6-3

The second semifinal of the day of men’s singles format will be played between John Isner and Novak Djokovic. This semifinal is going to be the rematch of the 2012 semifinal of this very tournament where Isner edged out Djokovic in three set and made his first masters 1000 final. Both the players are looking in a good shape. Where Isner is bombing aces and is serving well against his opponents, Djokovic has found back his rhythm and is encouraged to give what it takes to beat his opponents and claim the first trophy of this season.

Djokovic leads Isner 4-2 in their H2H meetings. The two victories for Isner have come on the hard courts of America i.e. in Indian wells 2012 and Cincinnati 2013.The last time met was at the Paris Open 2013 where Djokovic fended off Isner’s challenge in three sets and claimed victory over the towering American.

PREDICTION: This match is going to be another slugfest where the American crowd will definitely support their local boy Isner, but Djokovic’s fans will be no less in supporting their favorite man, who is soon to be married. This will be a tight encounter between both of the players as both of them are excellent players when it comes to hard courts.

According to me Isner will give a tough fight to Djokovic as usual and so will Djokovic to Isner. If Djokovic continues the kind of masterclass performance he showed in the quarterfinals match, no doubt he will reach the finals beating Isner in straight sets. But if he struggles even a little bit, Isner might take advantage of that and will leave no room for Djokovic to recover. But Djokovic is known for his comeback victories so still there stands a chance for him to overturn deficits only if he keeps aggression as his top priority. But if Isner has to win he will have to build and maintain high pressure on the Djokovic serve and on the same hand serve well himself.

According to me, the score will at the end favor Djokovic after facing a fierce battle from Isner because both men are stubborn in their game and won’t give up easily. This match will please the eyes of every individual who watches it and will expose them to an out the world experience.

The day at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden will be an amazing day, whipping up a tasty treat for all the ardent lovers of the sport and their favorite players who will be contesting for a place in the year’s first Masters 1000 tournament

-Vishakha Khandelwal [Vishakha is a Tennis Analyst for Sportz Cosmos. You can reach her at the gmail id : sportzcosmos]

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9 thoughts on “INDIAN WELLS OPEN 2014: Semifinals Preview

  1. @Vishakha…thanks for another interesting preview today. After reading your analysis and research on the 4 competing players I agree with your predictions for today’s semis. I look forward to your preview for tomorrow’s final.

  2. Dude how did Dog get the forehand? His father had certain coaching regimen? He sure is exciting but dont think can match Fed. Isner on the other hand might just pull it off.

    • @Carlos…agree and like ‘ Federer can seriously contend this year for number 1 ranking’. Very exciting game playing now between Djokovic and Isner…thinking tho Djokovic will take out the match.

  3. Federer just dismantled Dolgo. Did we travel 7 years in the past? Federer can seriously contend this year for number 1 ranking if he can keep that form up.

  4. @ Carlos: As my co-founder Rajk said best, as the whole of America is busy turning their clocks forward [last week], Federer is busy turning the clock back….. He’s uncorked vintage Fed in the last 2 matches…. though this match was a lot like the 2012 semi, where he beat Rafa in impressive fashion in similarly windy conditions….

    @Paddyt: You were right Nole did pull out the match….

    I still think Nole will win tomorrow, but I am not as confident as I was a few hrs back. 60-40 in favor of Nole.

    • @Roger Laver…my thinking is Roger will do another Dubai and take out Djokovic but this time in straight sets. I’m not convinced with the way Novak has been playing for most of this week. I felt Isner let both sets slip through his fingers. Actually I thought neither player in the 2nd semi was convincing…not like Roger’s play today.

      Ha…your co-founder Rajk ‘certainly said it best’ and he said it beautifully.

  5. Paddyt:

    Definitely Roger has raised his game a notch or 2 in the last few rounds….. and he’s definitely matched up better against Nole and as you say Nole is not playing his best, but given the importance of the match tomorrow, I expect him to play his best match of the week….. either way, Roger has definitely sent out a serious msg to the rest of the Tennis Galaxy, that he intends to be part of the elite players even at his age and after almost 1200 matches under his belt! Kudos to the Swiss Maestro!

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