(March 16, 2016) INDIAN WELLS, California – No. 5 Rafael Nadal came back from 2-5 down and a match point at 3-5 in third set to take down up-and-coming 18-year-old German No. 58 Alexander Zverev 6-7(8), 6-0, 7-5 to reach the quarterfinals of the BNP Paribas Open.
Zverev had a match point at 5-3 in third, but he hit a forehand olley into the net and never recovered from his mistake. The Spaniard lost only two points in his Last two service games to close the match.
“I had match point, so I think I did well there. On match point I sucked, so that was it,” Zverev said.
“I missed probably the easiest shot I had the whole match. That’s what happened.”
“I think it was a great match. I mean, Rafa did what he does best; he was fighting. I mean, he’s known for that. So, you know, I still had chances to win. I had an easy shot at match point and I missed it.”
“Look, in the last three weeks I lost 7-5 in the third to Berdych; 6-4 in the fifth to Berdych; and 7-5 in the third with match point to Nadal. So I know how tough losses feel right now.
” Look, I mean, I think it was a great match. I mean, Rafa did what he does best; he was fighting. I mean, he’s known for that. So, you know, I still had chances to win. I had an easy shot at match point and I missed it.
“I’m out and he’s in the quarterfinals.”
“Very happy for the victory, obviously,” Nadal said. “I have been fighting during the whole match. First set I had big chance with not a difficult forehand down the line that I missed. So that first set probably will be the key, if I was able to hit that forehand right place, no?
“But after that, I think I played a great second set. But at the beginning, sometimes when win a set that easy is dangerous for the beginning of the next one, no?
“The beginning of the third he played aggressive, and I think I stopped a little bit the rhythm, so I was in trouble, no?
“Was a great victory. You know, it’s obvious that I played against a great player, a player who was serving unbelievable, at the beginning especially. He served well whole match apart from some double faults.
“”But you think when somebody is serving with that speed in the second serve, some double faults are the normal thing, no?
Is a great victory, as I said before. I’m very happy about it. I am especially happy about the mentality on court, the spirit of fight during the whole match, believing that I can win a match during the whole time even in the tougher situations.”
Nadal talked about the adjustments he needed to make against Zverev.
“Well, beginning of the match he was serving over 133 first serves and second serves over 120.
“I was trying to return inside the court, as I did every day, but with the second serve 120 miles with a lot of spin, 124, 123, 120, was impossible, no?
“At the beginning when that happened I was in a little bit of trouble, because I felt like I cannot lose my serve, because if I lose my serve and he was serving that way, is impossible. So I felt a little bit the pressure at the beginning.
“But then I think I returned really well during the whole match, no? First serve. Second serve I decided to go back three, four meters behind the baseline, because from inside he was — he’s young, ready to take the risks, and if the opponent wants to take the risk on the second serve and he’s having success, it’s difficult to make something, no?
“”I decided to go back and tried to put more balls in, and I think worked well. I think I had enough breaks to win the match.
“Negative thing is I lost my serve twice in the third, something that cannot happen, especially after having the break back. But that’s it. No, no, no, the match was tough. I think any player can win, and is true he had a big chance with match point and that volley.
“Sorry for him. I think at the same time, I deserve victory like this after couple of loses with big chances to win, too.”
Belgian’s David Goffin, ranked 18th in the world, stunned third seed Stan Wawrinka 6-3, 5-7, 7-6 (5) to reach the quarterfinals of Inidan Wells on Wednesday. The victory for Goffin ended a 14- match losing streak against top 10 players.
Wawrinka came back from 0-4 down in the second set to 4-4. Goffin served for the match at 5-4, but failed to close and Wawrinka won the next three games to even the match at a set all. In the third set, Goffin against served for the match and could not hold. The match went on to tiebreak. Wawrinka hit a crucial overhead out at 5-5 to give Goffin match point which capitalized on.
There were 13 breaks of serve in the match.
“I was struggling with my serve and it was difficult with the heat,” Goffin said in press. “In the third, it’s tough to fight again with the heat and with the level of Stan. The tiebreaker is like you flip a coin.”
“Well, not too great day, not too great level,” Wawrinka said smiling. “I didn’t have the rhythm yet. Was a match without brain, let’s put it that way.
“Have some tough time to focus, have some tough time to find what I wanted to play and stay calm. Still try to fight. Got lucky to come back twice. Had the chance to finish the tiebreak. I didn’t, and quite simple.”
“I think he got a bit tired and nervous also,” Wawrinka continued. “He start to miss easy shots. Gave me the chance to come back. Can lose quickly, eh?
“Two time I come back. I had the chance in the third set to finish it also at 5-5 to break him again. I didn’t. I didn’t.
“But in general, he deserved to win. You know, it was the time of. Should have finish before.”
Goffin will play No. 10 seed Marin Cilic, who defeated No. 8 Richard Gasquet, 7-5, 5-7, 6-2. Another upset saw No. 12 Milos Raonic beat No. 6 Tomas Berdych 6-4, 7-6 (7).
“A match where you sort of say you felt great but you went out there and you tried to put the pieces together, Raonic said.
“I got ahead a few service games. He served well. He got ahead. I served well. That was pretty much only one point that I would sort of have played differently. Maybe just be a little bit sharper in the second serves in the beginning service games.
“Other than that, it was all good.”
Top seeds Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic advanced easily. Williams defeated defending champion Simona Halep 6-4, 6-3.
“It feels really good to get that win,” Williams said. “She obviously has been in good form the past couple years. So, yeah, I feel really good just to get under there and buckle down and to win that.
No. 3 seed Agnieszka Radwanska, who will move up to No. 2 in the rankings, defeated Petra Kvitova 6-2, 7-6 (3) to reach the semifinals. She’ll face Serena Williams in the semifinals.
Asked about returning to No. 2 in the world, Radwanska said: “It’s always a good feeling to be back in this position. I wasn’t long last time, but I think that was a few years ago. It’s always good to be back in that position. Now it’s difficult to be No. 1.
“There is always opportunity, but it’s not about one or two tournaments. To be No. 1 you really have to play the whole season very good, and obviously catch Serena. But she is also playing very good tennis and she will want to play good and be there at No. 1.
“Well, I will try my best, and now I have the opportunity that I’m definitely not really defending much points till the grass, so, well, that’s definitely my spot that I can do that. We’ll see if I can.”
Williams said of the match-up: “She knows how to play in big stadiums and big matches, big games.
“Obviously she does everything so well, including running, and this is a good surface for her because it’s a slow surface. I think I expect there will be a lot of long rallies.
“Honestly, I will be ready. I really like Aga on and off the court. I think she’s super exciting to watch on the court, and off the court I think she’s really one of the nicest people.
“Regardless, I think it will be a really good matchup. Whoever wins will go into the final.”
Novak Djokovic defeated Feliciano Lopez 6-3, 6-3 to reach the quarterfinals.
“I’m actually glad to have a match like this with not much complications,” Djokovic said.
“I think we both started to play well on our service games, and he was 30-Love on that game when I broke him. Then he missed four first serves. I managed to step in and return very well on those four second serves that I got and just used the opportunity.
“You know, after that I was feeling more comfortable also on the return games even though Feliciano is a very difficult player to play against. He’s left handed and he has a big first serve and he can hit angles, comes to the net, so very strong, physically moves well.
“But I was very solid. I didn’t allow him to come to the net too many times. It was a good performance.”
Kei Nishikori beat John Isner 1-6, 7-6 (2), 7-6 (5) plays Nadal in the quarterfinals.