Sunday, 13 March 2016

Indian Wells - Day 4

No problems for the top men's seeds in proceedings at Indian Wells on Day 4 with Richard Gasquet (8) and Milos Raonic (12) decisive winners over Mahut and Cervantes respectively.  13th seed Monfils had more to handle with Spanish 52 ranked Pablo Carreno Busta who pushed the French player in both sets falling just short 5-7 6-7.  
The match of the tournament - Berdych v Del Potro - certainly lived up to the hype in Set One with both players delivering a high standard.  Del Potro stuttered first at 5-6 when facing his initial break point but calmly saved it and a tie break was required.  Through the tie break and beyond, the 6th seed dominated and Del Potro could do little to combat the pressure exerted. Berdych continued the procession of seeds into round three.
2nd seed Andy Murray thankfully shut up about Sharapova and did what he does best, defeating a hard working opponent, this one Marcel Granollers, ranked just inside the top 100, but who had the initial break in Set One and also forced a second set tie break.  Murray of course manufactured a win 6-4 7-6.

Aussie best mates Bernie and Nick had varying outcomes - 17th seed Tomic dispatched American Rajeev Ram in straight sets without any drama apart from dropping serve when serving for the match at 5-3.  24th seed Kyrgios lost the first set tie break to Ramos-Vinolas, a crime for a player with his serve.  He then was broken in the second set,  also having all sorts of trouble winning points off the Spanish serve.
Unable to convert any of the four break points available to him, Nick was exonerated from further singles action at Indian Wells 7-6 7-5. 

For the women, 12th seed Timea Bacsinszky, whose season has been little short of a disaster, managed to sail through her second round match against Pironkova and perhaps the Swiss sensation can live up to her break out season in 2015 from now.
The other Swiss star and 7th seed Belinda Bencic had to fight to survive against American Lauren Davis but escaped in three sets.
9th seed Roberta Vinci was trailing 0-3 in the third before she repeated the Radwanska escape manoeuvre from the day before and won the tie break and match over the Russian 12 years her junior.  Although the vanquished in this match, Margarita Gasparyan continues to impress, and her ranking in the forties should be much lower before long.

The major upset was the ousting of Aus Open champ Angie Kerber, who just hasn't handled things well since her January triumph.  This time she was overcome by 64th ranked Denisa Allertova, another product of the Czech factory which continually churns out female tennis players of the quality enabling them to keep wining the Fed Cup.  Next for Denisa is the rapidly rising Johanna Konta from the UK, another seeded player successfully negotiating her way to round three, thrashing US hopeful Madison Brengle   (Konta had lost all of their previous 3 meetings)

Following Kerber out the door was 4th seed Garbine Muguruza, whose 2016 promised heaps but has delivered nothing.  As opposed to Day 5 the supposed elite have been exposed for their frailties and players such as American Christina McHale are confident of their chances entering matches against the top ten accordingly.  62 ranked Christina smashed Garbine 7-5 6-1.

17th seed Elina Svitolina, like Heather Watson a winner last week, appeared ready to repeat the Watson trick of falling at the first hurdle in California.  German Annika Beck has been in good form this season and from the first game looked competitive, and after edging out Elina in the first set, took total charge in the second, ripping into the Ukranian first serve and retaining command of most points until 5-3 and serving for the match where the wobbles occurred and Elina broke serve to prise her way back into the contest.  Not only did she prise but she tore an enormous hole and jumped through it to claim the second set tie break without loss of a point and win the first five games of the final set.  Svitolina won 4-6 7-6 6-1 while Annika went missing.

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