Red hot Argentine Juan Martin Del Potro is only three wins away from an Indian Wells Miami double after a 6-4,6-2 ruthless demolition of Filip Krajinovic of Serbia as he extends his unbeaten run to 14 matches which includes two title winning runs in Acapulco, Mexico and at first Masters series event of the year in Indian Wells. The twenty nine year old, seeded fifth, nicknamed the Tower of Tandil needed only 83 minutes to beat the twenty second seeded Serb on Tuesday.
He next faces Canada’s Milos Raonic in a repeat of the Semi-final in Indian Wells two weeks ago, which Del Potro won 6-2,6-3. Raonic who was once ranked number four in 2016, had a good win over the unseeded Frenchman Jeremy Chardy 6-3,6-4 in just one hour and twenty four minutes. Raonic hit 12 aces and never faced s break point in the entire match. Raonic and Del Potro are tied at two matches apiece in their career head to head.
In what was the only upset of the day, John Isner, now the lone remaining American left in the draw, upset second seeded Marin Cilic of Croatia 7-6(0),6-3 in the opening match of the day in just one hour and twenty six minutes. Isner fired twelve aces, never faced break point on serve and converted on one out of the two break point chances to record only his second win against the Croat in nine meetings. He will play the South Korean teenager Hyeon Chung, winner of last years inaugural ATP NextGen championship in Milan after 19th seed took out Joao Sousa of Portugal 6-4,6-3 in only one hour and seven minutes.
In what was the most eagerly anticipated match of the day, fourth seeded Alexander Zverev of Germany, avenged his defeat by the Australian Nick Kyrgios last year in Miami, with a surprisingly easy 6-4,6-4 win in just one hour and ten minutes in the evening session. He faces Borna Coric of Croatia who prevailed over Canada’s Denis Shapovalov in the only match of the day that went the distance.
Coric, ranked 36th in the world, seeded 29th took the close first set in a tie-break 7-2. Shapovalov, ranked 46th, rallied to claim the next set 6-4. Coric, who almost beat Roger Federer in the Semi-final in Indian Wells, regrouped to claim the decider. Coric won 7-6(2),4-6,6-4 in two hours and fifteen minutes to record his second win against Shapovalov whom he beat in the Davis Cup tie in February this year.
In all Spanish encounter, the sixteenth seeded Pablo Carreno Busta decimated the veteran Fernando Verdasco, seeded 31st, 6-0,6-3 as the 34 year old left hander looked tired after two back to back three set matches. Up next for Busta is the sixth seeded South African Kevin Anderson who took out the popular American Frances Tiafoe 7-6(3),6-4. The 20 year old Tiafoe, winner of the Delray Beach event in February was playing in his second match of the day as he completed his third round match against Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic earlier in the day. Tiafoe upset the 10th seeded Berdych, a finalist in 2010, with a 6-7(2),6-2,7-6(1) scoreline.
Following then is the quarter-final line up with my pick mentioned first :-
John Isner (14) v. Hyeon Chung (19) ; Isner leads 2-1
Juan Martin Del Potro (5) v. Milos Raonic (20): tied 2-2
Alexander Zverev (4) v. Borna Coric (29) ; Coric leads 2-0
Kevin Anderson (6) v. Pablo Carreno Busta (16) ; Anderson leads 4-0
With early exit of three time champion Roger Federer and four time champion Novak Djokovic, the scene is set for what could well be an exciting weekend of matches with only Del Potro and Zverev having previously claimed ATP Master’s series titles. Isner and Chung face off in the day session on Wednesday, while Del Potro and Raonic will play the evening match. The remaining matches are slated for Thursday. Anderson faces Carreno Busta in a rematch of the U.S. Open Semi-final; the pair also clashed at Indian Wells. Zverev will look to avenge his two previous losses against the lower ranked Coric.
– Rasesh Mehta [Rasesh Mehta is an analyst with the Tennis Galaxy. You can reach him at the email: sportzcosmos@]