October 25, 2016

Djokovic Beats Nadal to Reach Indian Wells Final


(March 19, 2016) INDIAN WELLS, California – Novak Djokovic continued his winning streak against Rafael Nadal beating him 7-6 (5), 6-2 on Saturday to reach the BNP Paribas Open final for the third straight year in a row.  He has now beaten the Spaniard six times in a row, with his last loss coming in the 2014 French Open final. The world No. 1, whose streak in Indian Wells is up to 14 in a row will going be going for a record fifth title and a “three-peat” on Sunday when he faces Milos Raonic for the title. Raonic defeated David Goffin 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 to reach his third Masters1000 final.

Djokovic has now lifted his record over Nadal to 25-23.

In the first set Djokovic and Nadal exchanged breaks of serve before getting to the tiebreaker. Djokovic raced out to a 5-2 lead, thanks to three straight errors by the 14-time major champion.

In the second set, Nadal held off Djokovic until the sixth game when the Serb broke serve to go up 4-2 and holding serve for 5-2.

In the eighth game, Nadal fought off five match points before a forehand long gave the match to Djokovic.

“It could have gone either way, the first set, but I managed to stay composed and serve well in important moments and just believed that I can win,” Djokovic said.

“We had a very long first set. It went over an hour and ten minutes, I think. It’s not the first time. I know it’s very physically demanding when I get to play Nadal.

“I think I have had a couple of break points 4-3-up first set and didn’t use that. He had his chances, as well. He had 5-4, set point.

“So it was quite even coming into tiebreak. You know, tiebreak I was 5-2 up; came back to 5-All with some great defense and great points. Then I just served well and hung in there. You know, I made him play an extra shot.

“So I think, you know, 5-All, 6-5, those points, you know, in the tiebreak, I mean, have decided a whole set, because more or less if you look at the first set it was quite even.”


“I think I played well for a set and a half; then I think he played well the last,” Nadal said. “I played bad again with my serve on 3-2, and then he finished playing well the last two games. Played at high level.

“I had my chances in the first set. I felt for a moment that I was competing at the highest level possible. At the beginning of the tiebreak and at the end of the first set with some Love-15 that I had, I made a few mistakes with my forehand. That’s the only thing.

“I believe that with a little bit more of confidence with my forehand at the end of that first set will be a better chance.”

“Today was closer than the last couple of times against the best player of world, so was a very positive week for me,” Nadal continued.

“That’s the way. I gonna try to follow this way to keep going with this level. If I am able to play weeks in a row at this level, then you start to think about the chances to compete for everything.”

In the other semifinal, the Canadian Raonic hit 10 aces in his win against the Belgian, raising his 2016 record to 14-1. Raonic won the Brisbane title, beating Roger Federer in the final.

“Milos is probably playing the best tennis that he has ever played,” Djokovic said. “I think looking at his performances this year, winning in Brisbane, playing semis of Australian Open, and then coming back off injury and playing already in finals here, it’s quite impressive.

“His serve was phenomenal before the start of this season, but this season it seems like he has improved even more, especially the second serve. He’s going for it more. He’s not giving you the same look.

“That’s a very strong weapon that — an advantage that he possesses in his game that he obviously tries to leverage in the matches. I’m aware that it’s gonna be very tough to return his serve, but if I manage to neutralize his serve, get many returns back in play, I think I have a good chance from the baseline.

“I also need to have decent first-serve percentage in, because I don’t want him to, you know, take the advantage of my second serves and, you know, start stepping in too much.

“Yeah. I saw he’s aggressive, trying to take the initiative from the first shot off his serve, which is natural because his serve goes 140 miles and gives him a lot of easy shots.

“Yeah, I will try to prepare myself tactically, analyze his game with my team. You know, we are playing finals, so I’ll try to also use the experience that I have had playing in many Masters Series finals in this tournament, as well. If I’m not mistaken, he’s going for his first.

“But, you know, even though he hasn’t played too many Masters finals, he’s still very strong mentally. He’s very calm on the court. He’s very composed. He’s showing, I would say, mental character virtues that are characteristic, I would say, for maybe some more experienced and older players.”

Milos Raonic

Milos Raonic

“Definitely have been playing higher level this year, but I think also when I have had those difficult moments or let’s say some kind of crisis throughout matches, I have found solutions better,” Raonic said.

“Against Novak it’s a difficult matchup. I think that I have added good things to my tennis that can help me in that aspect. It’s going to be important to control the center of the court; obviously be the one that’s moving less. I think I’m going to have to do a better job of stepping up like I did in that third set with forehands earlier on and not being content with just putting it through. Not expecting sort of the match to be given to me.”

“I have obviously a big challenge ahead of me, but I have been pretty good this year at finding solutions.”

Djokovic is 5-0 against Raonic.


Novak Djokovic to Meet Rafael Nadal in Indian Wells Semifinals

Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic

(March 18, 2016) INDIAN WELLS, California – No. 1 Novak Djokovic will face off against No. 4 seed Rafael Nadal in the semifinals of the BNP Paribas Open on Saturday.

Djokovic held off No. 7 seed, Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-6(2), 7-6(2) while Nadal stopped No. 5 seed Kei Nishikori of Japan 6-4, 6-3 in the earlier semifinal.

Djokovic served for the first set at 5-4, but Tsonga broke serve, but the Serb recovered to win the set in the tiebreak.

“Well, it was definitely very challenging to play in these kind of conditions with Jo that was in form this week,” Djokovic said.

“I thought, you know, being a break up and couple of break points for double break in the first set, you know, I felt playing well, very solid; had the match under control; serving 5-4, 30-Love.

“All of a sudden, not putting a first serve in. He started mixing up with a slice and decided to play a bit different tactically. That got me off a little bit, you know, the balance and the rhythm.

“He started playing better. He started swinging more freely from the forehand corner, especially. Yeah, it was very close.

“But, you know, I take positives out of today’s match, the fact that I have played somebody that was feeling good throughout the week, somebody that serves very, very big and plays very, you know, quick and efficient, precise forehands, you know, that gave me a lot of trouble today to win in straight sets and to win in two tiebreaks, I think it’s gonna help definitely my confidence and, you know, mentally I will take that.”

Djokovic, who earned his 20th win of the year, has only dropped one set during Indian Wells this year and that was to Bjorn Fratangelo.

In an era dominated by Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, Tsonga was asked to compare them: “They all are really good. I mean, if you have to count Grand Slam, it’s maybe Federer. If you have to count number of title, it’s maybe Federer.

“And then you have two guys who are just amazing. Rafa was the best on clay for 10 years, and Novak, he’s now the actual best player, I think, because he’s No. 1 since a while now. So it’s tough to compare.

“Yeah. Anyway, they will be part of history, and for sure for a long time. Yeah, they’re good players.”



Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal

In Nadal’s quarterfinal match, the Spaniard, rallied from a 1-3 deficit in the first set, taking five out of the next six games to close it. Nadal took a break lead in the second set in which his Japanese opponent broke him right back, to make it 4-3 in Nadal’s favor. Nadal won the next two games to seal the match.
“I never thought impossible for Kei playing at this level,” Nadal said. “He’s an amazing player, one of the best players, and he’s able to play at highest level, no?

“He started so quick hitting all the balls very well, very aggressive, and serving great, no?

“Then I think he started to miss some first serves and I was returning very well the second set serve, returning very aggressive. That was so important, I think, in my opinion. The development of the game, no?

“So my return was so important, and at the same time I think I served — my serve was enough good for this match.”
“I think the beginning I was stepping in little more and was hitting using my forehand,” Nishikori said. “My serve was hitting really good serve, first serve, second serve, and maybe he start hitting more deep. I start backing up a little more.

“You know, I think everything changed after, between that first set. Yeah, thought I had couple chances first set and second set, too, but, yeah, some unforced errors. And, yeah, he played good tennis.”

Nadal is set to play Djokovic for a place in the Indian Wells final. He spoke about the potential match-up with the Serb. The last time they played in Doha, Nadal only won three games.

“I think the (Doha) result was so easy. The game was not that easy, no?

“But is obvious that Novak played unbelievable, and when he plays that way, so difficult to stop him. Nothing to say about that match than offer congratulations to him. Tomorrow is another day. He’s a clear favorite because he’s winning all the matches almost every time.

“So I am here to, as I said, enjoy the match of tomorrow, to enjoy the victory of today against a great player. That’s something important for me. Semifinals before the tournament start is a very positive result for me. Tomorrow is an opportunity to play against another top player and enjoy that fact.”

Djokovic talked about the Doha result: “Well, that’s definitely one of the best matches I have played against Rafa. I will try to take a close look at that match and what I have done right.

“But, again, you know, we have to consider the different — completely different conditions. We played in Doha on a bit quicker surface. The balls were not bouncing as high. It was night. It was colder than here.

“Tomorrow is going to be very warm. Ball bounces very high, which he, you know, prefers, because the spin, rotation that he generates with his shots is, you know, really big.

“The court is picking that rotation up here with the bounce. He likes the conditions, actually. We played against each other here several times and always close matches.

“Well, I’m hoping I can deliver my best game tomorrow.”

Djokovic on playing Nadal:

“Well, completely different matchup against most of the players that I play against this week. He’s a great competitor, a great fighter. He’s been getting himself out of trouble a few times this week and showing why he’s one of the best players in the history of the game.

“You know, he never gives up. He always makes you play an extra shot. Always makes you earn the win. You know, I’m going into tomorrow’s match knowing what’s expecting me and I know how to get ready.

“I won the last couple times we played against each other, so maybe that can give me a slight mental advantage coming into the court.”

“But, again, everything is open. It’s semifinals. We both have won multiple times titles here, and hopefully we can come up with some good tennis.”

Nadal goes into his semifinal match against Djokovic with a 23-24 record. The last time Nadal defeated Djokovic was int eh 2014 final of Roland Garros, the French Open.

Djokovic is looking to win a fifth BNP Paribas Open title, while Nadal is looking to get his fourth trophy there.


Top Seeds Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic Advance in Straight Sets

Serena gets ready for bh 3112016

(March 15, 2016) INDIAN WELLS, California – Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic advanced in straight sets on Tuesday at the BNP Paribas Open.

Serena Williams dominated qualifier Kateryna Bondarenko 6-2, 6-2, despite 22 unforced errors in the match. The 21-time major winner has not lost a set in Indian Wells. The women’s draw has been decimated by a number of seeds upset in the early rounds.

“I’m just happy to be in the quarters after three matches, so I feel all right,” Williams said.

“I haven’t been making that many errors in the past, so just have to cut back on my errors and I’ll be fine.”

“So far I think my consistency has been well; being aggressive has been well; everything that I’ve wanted to do I’ve kind of been doing,” she said.

Williams opponent in the final eight will be defending champion Simona Halep.

“I like how she’s aggressive. She’s a fighter,” Williams said. “She killed me at one point, so I definitely have to be ready.

“Yeah, and it’ll be a really good match I think for both of us to kind of see where we want to be at at this point in the year.”

Halep moved into the quarterfinals when Barbora Strycova retired trailing 6-3, 1-0.

“It was short and I feel sorry for her because she’s sick. It’s not easy to be sick and to keep continue playing the match.

“So I understand her. I’m happy that I am again in the quarterfinals. I feel good here. You know, I started to feel my game. I started to feel very well on court. I move well. It’s the most important thing.

“Of course the matches, it’s important to win a match, but it’s better to feel that you are like strong on court and then to think about winning a match.”

Halep talked about playing Williams: “I expect a tough one, of course. She’s very strong. I know her pretty well. We played each other many times.

“I know that it’s gonna be tough to win, but still, I have my chance. I believe that I have my chance, and I just have to go to play my best, to try everything to win.

First I have to believe that I can win. So then if my game is going well it’s gonna be a good match. I’m waiting for it, and I’m ready to play.”

“I think I have to do my game like I did every day since I came in the U.S.: aggressive, not very strong. I don’t hit very strong. I just take the ball fast. I move well. I hit with confidence. Also, the serve is going well.

“So I feel okay. I feel that I have the game to play against her. We will see tomorrow. It’s tough. I repeat that, because it’s normal to be tough. She’s No. 1 in the world.

“Yeah, it’s good experience for me to play against her and also big challenge.”

Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic beat Philipp Kohlschreiber 7-5, 7-5. Each set the German came back from a break down before Djokovic shut down each set. In the second set Djokovic served for the match at 5-3 and had four match points he could not convert. Djokovic closed the match breaking serve in the 12th game.

“I felt better on the court than I did in the first round, which comforts me obviously,” Djokovic said of his tricky contest with the German.

“But, again, you know, I allowed myself twice to lose the serve when I was break up in both sets. Especially in the second, 40-Love smash, easy backhand, match points, got him back.

“As I said, those things cannot happen. I cannot allow myself any more to react that way in those particular circumstances. Because, you know, I was fortunate today to manage win in straight sets. But Kohlschreiber is an experienced player. He has played so many times on the big occasions, so he knows how to capitalize on the opportunities and come back to the match.

“I just put myself in a very difficult position after that. But, you know, there are more positive things I can take out of this match today comparing first one.”

Djokovic is seeking a record fifth Indian Wells title.




Related article:

Rafael Nadal and Kei Nishikori Advance to Fourth Round of Indian Wells


Serena Williams Rebounds From Sluggish Start to Reach Fourth Round of Indian Wells

Serena Williams

Serena Williams

(March 13, 2016) INDIAN WELLS, California – Serena Williams was pushed to the brink in the first set but defeated Yulia Putintseva 7-6(2), 6-0 to advance to the round of 16 at the BNP Paribas Open on Sunday.

Putintseva went up a break to take a 3-1 lead in the first set against the world No. 1 and served for the set twice at 5-4 and 6-5 but failed to close. Williams dominated the tiebreak 7-2, and did not lose another game. The 21-time major champion ended he match with an ace.

Williams talked about the first set rollercoaster: “I was just trying to find my rhythm out there. Trying my best to not get off to a slow start. Then I got broken really early and I couldn’t manage to break back.

“But I was just trying to fight out there and do what I could.”

Asked about what makes Putintseva’s game frustrating, Williams said: I don’t know. I found it good to play. I just wasn’t finding my rhythm. I hadn’t played someone like her in a second, so I was just trying to get my bearings there.

“I made a lot of errors in that first set. I went for a lot and I usually make those, but I kept missing. Even in the first game. Wow, this echo is annoying. Is that better? Yes, I think. Yeah. Okay.

“Even though I won, I made some simple errors that just kept going for the first set.”

Williams had 29 unforced errors in the first set.

Third seed Agnieszka Radwanska, making a 10th straight appearance in Indian Wells defeated 32nd seed Monica Niculescu 6-2, 6-1. She was the 2014 runner-up.

She was asked about the upsets tournament, but in women’s tennis in general. Half of the women’s seeds are out of the tournament.

“I think the conditions also are very tough,” she. But, well, to be honest, those lower-ranked players are also playing good tennis, so it’s not like you can play your 50% and you’re gonna win.

“Maybe that how was like maybe 10 years ago, that you really didn’t play your best and you was still keep winning even two easy sets

“And I think at the moment you really have to play 100% from the first rounds because there are no easy matches. Especially that a lot of players unseeded, and you think they kind of should be in the top 20 and you are playing them in the first round and you’re in trouble.

“Well, I think that’s tennis. What you’re not have your day, you are in trouble.”

Eighth seed Petra Kvitova survived Johanna Larsson 6-3, 4-6, 7-5. Larsson was serving for the match at 5-4 in the third set before Kvitova broke serve.

The Czech was very happy to advance.

“It’s such a relief, I think. I think I fought much more than the first set, so the relief is a little bit bigger.

“I think I played better, as well, especially first set. Unfortunately the accident happen on the stands, so it was kind of weird, you know, to sitting on the chair and someone is really struggling with the hot. It was just tough.

“I think that she really pushed me a lot, because she couldn’t really miss anything. I was like really have to doing everything what I could in the moment and really trying to have some winners, because otherwise we can play still now,” she said with a smile.


More to follow….


Online Registration Begins for BNP Paribas Challenge


(January 11, 2016) INDIAN WELLS, Calif. – Registration for the 2016 BNP Paribas Challenge, the pre-qualifying event for the BNP Paribas Open, begins today and will run through Friday, February 19. The Challenge is slated for February 29 – March 5 at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. Last year’s event boasted the largest draw in the event’s history with more than 200 participants seeking wildcard berths into the BNP Paribas Open Qualifying tournament.
First through quarterfinal round matches will be best of three sets with a 10-point match tiebreak played for the third set, while semifinal and final matches will be best of three sets. To enter, visit http://www.bnpparibasopen.com/en/event-info/bnp-paribas-challenge.The entry fee is $50.
All entries and fees must be received by Friday, February 19. For more information, please contact Tom Fey, Director of Tennis at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden at 760-200-8200 or tfey@iwtg.net.

Indian Wells, London-Queen’s, Doha and St. Petersburg Voted 2015 ATP World Tour Tournaments Of The Year

From the ATP World Tour: (January 7, 2016) LONDON – The ATP has announced the Tournaments of the Year in the 2015 ATP World Tour Awards presented by Moët & Chandon, with the BNP Paribas Open and Aegon Championships joined by the Qatar ExxonMobil Open and St. Petersburg Open as the most favored ATP World Tour events in their respective tournament categories.

The Tournament of the Year awards, voted annually by ATP players, recognise the leading standards set across the three tournament categories on the Tour. Indian Wells repeats at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 level, while The Queen’s Club in London wins in its first year as a 500 tournament. In the 250 category, first-time winners Doha and St. Petersburg share honors.

Visit the official ATP World Tour Awards section on ATPWorldTour.com

Chris Kermode, ATP Executive Chairman & President, said: “Many congratulations to these four tournaments for setting the standard in their respective categories in 2015. They are each outstanding events in their own right, and this is a fitting recognition, as voted by the players, for all the hard work and dedication that goes into putting on these world class tournaments.”

The BNP Paribas Open retains its title as the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Tournament of the Year. The tournament received the distinction for the first time in 2014, following the debut of its state-of-the-art Stadium 2, additional practice courts and a new shade structure.

In 2015, the BNP Paribas Open continued its on-site improvements, unveiling a newly renovated player restaurant with expanded dining options and free Wi-Fi throughout the site. The tournament welcomed more than 450,000 fans through the gates over the fortnight.

“It is very rewarding for the BNP Paribas Open to be recognized as the 2015 Masters 1000 Tournament of the Year,” said Tournament Director Raymond Moore. “Our event is focused on improving each and every year in all areas and aspects, and receiving this award for the second year in a row is another validation that our actions – such as providing Hawk-Eye electronic line calling technology on every match court – are being appreciated by the players. It only intensifies our desire to reach new heights in 2016 and ensure that the experience at the tournament is nothing short of exceptional.”

The Aegon Championships receives a Tournament of the Year award for a third straight season. It won at the 250 level in 2013-14 before its re-categorisation as an ATP World Tour 500 event for 2015. The Aegon Championships ends Dubai’s seven-year reign at this level.

“To win ATP World Tour 500 tournament of the year in our first year in the category is a huge thrill, a magnificent achievement, and a credit to our tournament team, The Queen’s Club, our sponsors – particularly Aegon, and our broadcast partners,” said Tournament Director Stephen Farrow. “We were up against some of the finest and most popular tournaments on the ATP World Tour, and I am immensely proud that our efforts have been recognised by the players in this way.”

For the first time since 2004 and the fourth time overall (since 1986), two events have been named joint winners in the ATP World Tour 250 category. The Qatar ExxonMobil Open hosts its 24th edition this week, boasting a field that includes four Top 10 players: Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Tomas Berdych and David Ferrer. The St. Petersburg Open, held in September, celebrated its 20th edition in 2015 as it returned to the ATP World Tour calendar following a one-year hiatus.

“Our aim is always to make a great event where players can feel relaxed and at home, where they can perform at their best, where they want to return year after year,” said Karim Alami, Tournament Director of the Qatar ExxonMobil Open. “We are always listening to the opinions and feedback from the organisation and from the players and trying to learn from our mistakes and past experiences to keep improving and to keep raising the bar every year. To achieve the recognition of the players for these efforts and be selected by them as the best ATP World Tour 250 tournament for the year 2015 makes us all very proud and gives us the strength and motivation to continue improving and making our event better and better.”

Mikhael Mirilashvili, owner of the St. Petersburg Open, said: “In 2015, the St. Petersburg Open Tournament was revived after a year’s break. That was a landmark event in the sporting life of the city and the country. We are proud that the work of our big renewed team was appreciated on such a high level. I am sure that in the future the level of the tournament will continue to grow and reach new professional heights.”


Djokovic Does the Double

Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic

(March 22, 2015) INDIAN WELLS, California – After the drawn out drama of the women’s final and over an hour later than planned, defending champion Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer took to the court for their final, and with the anticipation of perhaps another three set thriller on the cards.


First blood though went to the Djokovic, who closed out a ruthless break, for a 4-2 lead, and although Federer asked the question for him to serve it out, he snapped up the first set 6-3.


It was imperative for Federer to get off to a quick start, and it looked as though he would settle, but another loose game helped Djokovic take advantage for an early break at the start of the second.


Djokovic was making the difference in his return games, taking the time away from Federer in the distinctly cooler conditions today than for the majority of the tournament, but Federer needed to settle to try and at least stay in contention, before time ran out to make his move.


Suddenly the momentum shifted as Federer took advantage of a dip in Djokovic’s game to level at 4-4 with a break that got the crowd alive, roaring their approval and silencing the small enthusiastic group of Serbians in the nosebleeds.


Holding in perhaps his most commanding form since the very start of the match, the pressure was very firmly on Djokovic now as the errors started to stack up from the Serbian, as he served to stay in the set. A slightly more confident hold to love brought him into a second set tie-break.


With Djokovic taking the early momentum, Federer slowly got himself back into contention as the pressure got to the defending champion, double-faulting on his serve to bring Federer level at 5-5. A second double fault handed the advantage right back at the Swiss with two serves to come at 6-5. He needed just the one set point to send the final into an electric decider.


Perhaps it was inevitable that the defending champion would come out swinging maybe a little more freely, and quickly took a 2-0 advantage before the nerves seemed to grip him again, opening the door for Federer to charge back in to get the match back on serve.


It was Djokovic who surged to a lead once more, at 5-2, with Federer serving to stay in the championship.


For a match that could so easily have been settled in straight sets, Federer had done well to fight back, but a tired shank gave the Serbian the match points he needed, as he closed out the win 6-3, 6-7(5), 6-2, a title defence, and draws level with Federer in terms of titles won here.


Coming first into press, Federer analyzed where the match was won (and in his case lost):


“For a long time I was always trailing. I was putting myself under pressure unnecessarily sometimes on my own serve. But that was, again, a credit to Novak’s great way of returning second serves.


“He’s always going to catch some first serves, especially here where it’s not as fast. I knew it was going to be tough. That was the most disappointing part I was telling myself throughout the match. It’s like where is that return on the first serve? “


He continued: “Midway through the second it started to get better and I got into more rallies, and that’s where I think it became close again. That was tougher for him, because all of a sudden I think I was playing better so he wasn’t getting as many free points. He had to pull back and play a bit more safe. So it was from my side a bit more up and down, and he was just more solid. That’s why he totally deserved to win today, in my opinion.”


Djokovic was presented with a cake celebrating his 50th title, which surpasses coach Boris Becker’s 49 titles, and the World No. 1 described how that felt along with his assessment of the match.


He said: “I thought set and a break and it was a break point for 5‑2 up. I thought I could have done the job earlier. Credit to Roger for fighting through. Showed again why he’s a competitor and champion, somebody that never gives up. When we got to the third set obviously it was anybody’s game.


“I managed to regroup [and] overcome that frustration of handing that tiebreak to him with three double faults in crucial moments. But that’s sport. Obviously under pressure sometimes these things happen and it’s important to regroup, bounce back, and focus on next one.”


He continued: “I’ve got to look forward to get to Miami and have a dinner with Boris. I think it’s on him this time. (Smiling.) I surpassed his 49th title, so that gives a little bit of special spice to this title.”


While Federer is skipping Miami this year, Djokovic will travel on to defend his title and attempt the double once more.




Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer to Clash in Indian Wells Final

Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic

(March 21, 2015) The top two men’s tennis players will face off in the final of the BNP Paribas Open on Sunday in Indian Wells, California.

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic defeated No. 4 Andy Murray 6-2, 6-3 in the first semifinal of the day, a rematch of the Australian Open final, while No. 2 Roger Federer bested Milos Raonic 7-5, 6-4.

In Sunday’s final, defending champion Djokovic will be aiming to capture his fourth Indian Wells tournament, while Federer will be going for his fifth title in the desert. Federer leads Djokovic 20-17 in their head-to-head records.

Djokovic is now 17-8 against Murray, after winning for the sixth straight time against the Brit. Djokovic is 18- 2 on the year.

Considering this was probably the first match that I’ve played in the day in the entire year ‑‑ because I have played Doha, Dubai, Australian Open, and 90% of the matches I played during the night ‑‑ I thought I handled the conditions well.

It wasn’t easy, but I needed some time to adjust. The fact that I’m in another finals makes me definitely feel very good, very confident.

I had a phenomenal start of the season, and hopefully I can, you know, do my best tomorrow and maybe get another trophy.

Murray had a below average serving day against the Serb, losing his serve four times in the match.

“I tried to go for a few more serves today and to try to get a few more free points, but, you know, serving 50% or just below is, you know, not good enough against the best players,” sais Murray. “You obviously need to serve better.

“I thought I actually hit my second serve better than I did in Australia today, but first‑serve percentage was too low.”

Murray had 29 unforced errors and only seven winners in the contest

“I think obviously I didn’t start either of the sets well,” Murray said. “That obviously makes things difficult against the best players. I mean, Novak didn’t give me any free points at the beginning of either of the sets, and I made a few too many errors early on.

“Then, you know, in the end of both sets, middle of both sets, I started to play a bit better and made it tougher and was able to push him a bit, but not enough at the beginning of the sets to make it challenging enough for him.”

“I thought I played solid, with the right intensity from the beginning,” said Djokovic. “Good first‑serve percentage. Got some free points there in the important moments.

“Just overall it was a good performance.”

Djokovic admitted that his opponent did preform as well as he could have.

“Even though it’s a straight‑set victory, I still had to earn it,” Djokovic stated. “I thought that he hasn’t played close to his highest level. Made a lot of unforced errors, especially from the forehand side. Low percentage of first serves in. That allowed me to obviously step in and be aggressive.”


Roger Federer

Roger Federer

Milos Raonic broke up the potential “Big Four” reunion in the semifinals when he upset Rafael Nadal in the quarterfinals on Friday. Raonic tested Federer in the straight set loss on Saturday.

The hard-serving Canadian was broken in the eleventh game of the first set, which the Swiss closed out 7-5 in 45 minutes. Federer opened the second set with a break, and never looked back.

Federer has now reached his 40th Masters Series 1000 final. Federer claimed the desert crown 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2012.

“I’m very happy how well I’m playing,” said Federer. “Feel good physically. Obviously I feel refreshed after the holiday. I’m serving well, which is always crucial.”

“He was neutralizing well on the serve, but especially during the points I felt like a few times I was able to stretch him,” Raonic said.

“He was doing a good job of getting legs behind and always playing deep cross so I could never find that short forehand I was looking for.”

“I wish I would have served a higher percentage, but I felt like when I was putting my first serve in I was doing a good job,” the Canadian explained. “I don’t think I mixed up my second serve enough.”

Djokovic discussed the possibility of playing Federer in the final:

“If I get to play Roger, it’s the ultimate final that right now I can have. Probably the player that is in the best form. You know, in the last 12 months he’s been playing some of his best tennis, I thought.

“Especially after, for his standards, pretty average season in 2013. He came back and played the finals in Wimbledon, played some great tournaments, won titles, and we had a fight for No. 1 spot all the way up to last couple of matches in London.

“He started off the year well again except that third‑round loss in the Australian Open. He won two titles. You know, he’s playing great. There no question about it.

“We all know that Roger, with all his records, we know the experience that he has. He’s not expected to play nothing less than his best in these stages of the tournament.

“He’s been proving that. He won so many titles. He loves the big occasions, and I’m sure he’s gonna come out wanting to win, being aggressive.

“He moves great. I thought since he changed the racquet it helped him with maybe reaching balls in the defense that he wasn’t able to do maybe before that. Seems like he has more control in the backhand. Great serve, as always.

“So he’s a very complete player. No question about it.”

“One thing about Roger is that he always makes you play highest level if you want to win against him,” Djokovic added.

“That’s something that’s always in the back of my mind. This is something that makes me come out with the highest possible concentration and intensity and commitment. If I want to win that match and win this title, I definitely need to be on top of my game.”

“After losing so close last year I was quite disappointed, even though I was happy how I was playing,” said Federer. “Can’t wait until we get a chance again to play him here, because you have to wait one entire year, got to win another five matches, and finally you’re in the finals again.

“So I think it’s very exciting for both of us, and also for fans, to see a rematch of the great final from last year. I’m looking forward to it, and I hope I can keep up my good play.”

“I like these big matches. I have been playing so well and I don’t feel tired. I feel great going into the finals, and I hope I can keep up this kind of a level. I know I need an extra special performance tomorrow because Novak’s going to push you there to come up with a lot of great shots in a row, which is not always easy to do.

“So I will see how it goes.”

Asked if his rivalry Djokovic is on par with Rafael Nadal, Federer said: “It will never be the same. Not better or worse. It just will be different just because the matchup is so unique for me with Rafa; whereas Novak’s is totally, like I said, straightforward.

“With Rafa I feel like I need to change everything when I play him. I have played so many times against Rafa on clay, as well, that it feels different; whereas Novak has been a much more of a hard court rivalry, whereas with Rafa has been more clay and grass.”

Federer on his rivalry with Djokovic: “What remains is that you know it’s always been tough against him. I have seen the rise of him, you know, as he’s gotten fitter and more match tough, mentally tougher, became one of the best movers we have in the game. It’s been nice seeing him do that, you know, and improve as you move along.

“Sometimes I wonder if everybody’s willing to improve as much as Novak did. It’s been interesting to see him figure his game out, and I’m happy I can still hang with him. I must be quite honest, because he’s in his absolute prime right now, and I enjoy the challenge of him. I hope he enjoys my challenge.

“So we will see tomorrow, but I think it’s a very dynamic rivalry we have. Great movement. I don’t think we need to change our games very much when we play each other. We can just go out there and play our game, which I think is quite cool also for fans and for ourselves, which is interesting.”





Mardy Fish Returns to Tennis, Falls in Three-set Battle to Ryan Harrison in First Round of BNP Paribas Open

(March 12, 2015) Former world No. 7 Mardy Fish returned to the court under a protected ranking, for the first time in over 18 months on Thursday in Indian Wells, California. Fish was off the tour due to heart problems which have bothered him since 2012.

The 33-year-old Fish put up a good fight for 2 hours and 36 minutes and even had two match points in falling to fellow American, 22-year-old Ryan Harrison, 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (3) in the first round of the BNP Paribas Open. The pair of match points came at 15-40 in the 10th game of the third set.

“I worked really hard in the past three-and-a-half months to get in physical shape, to go from golf to tennis shape,” Fish said.

“It was nice to play Ryan, sort of a good friend. Someone you’re familiar with. So that part was nice to not have to play someone you don’t really know.

“It’s hard. It’s never easy. It still stings a little bit,” Fish said of the loss.

“I would have liked to play a little better, “he noted. “I would have like to have won – it is what it is.”

“Being on the court for so long. It felt great to be out there. Those are situations you work hard to put yourself into.”

“It’s such a great event,” he said. “I’ve got great memories from 2008 here.

“It felt fantastic to be out there.”

Asked about how he’s had to control his ailment he said: “I learn from every situation, every episode, every sort of scenario that I put myself in in the last couple of years, and I learn from this today.

“I didn’t really have many expectations, as far as how long I could play tournament-wise. How many tournaments I could play – Indian Wells and Miami was kind of in the background.

“This is a new different challenge for me.”

Fish said that he has to come on to the court and “be sort of even keel.”

“Something that I have to work on with my sports Psychologist – what sort of frame of mind do you need out there, (be)cause this is unchartered territory for me in the past couple of years.”

“Golf was such a savior for me because I able to jump into something that I really liked to do, that I was good at, and I could see myself getting better and I really enjoy playing in the tournaments, improving, things like that.” Golf was a coping mechanism for him – “to take my mind off the tennis, what other guys were doing.”

To prepare for his comeback, the American said that he played five or six days a week for the past 20 weeks – “it felt pretty close to tennis.”

Doesn’t have interest in going to the “minor leagues and working my way back up.”

Fish said that he has 3 tournaments where he can use a protected ranking. “It will run out at the US Open. Will have some decisions to make.”

The win for Harrison moves him into the second round where he’ll face No. 5 in the world Kei Nishikori.



On the Green Carpet – Photos from the 2013 BNP Paribas Open Players’ Party

Victoria Azarenka and Redfoo

Victoria Azarenka and Redfoo

"Austin Powers" and Caroline Wozniacki

“Austin Powers” and Caroline Wozniacki

(March 7, 2013) INDIAN WELLS, California – The BNP Paribas Open held their players’ party at the IW club on Thursday night. The tennis players drove up to the “Green Carpet” in classic cars included  Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Victoria Azarenka, Redfoo, Sloane Stephens, Petra Kvitova, Andy Murray, Ana Ivanovic, Jo-Wilfred Tsonga, John Isner, Agnieszka Radwanska, Sam Stosur, James Blake, David Ferrer,  and a host of others including Austin Powers.

Photos by Curt Janka and Maria Noble. Follow Tennis Panorama News’ BNP Paribas Open coverage here and on our twitter @TennisNewsTPN.

[nggallery id=78]