Top Seeds Roger Federer and Simona Halep Advance at BNP Paribas Open
(March 14, 2018) Roger Federer is off to 15-0 start in 2018, his best record to begin a season since he went 16-0 in 2006. The 20-time major winner beat France’s Jeremy Chardy 7-5, 6-4 to reach the quarterfinals of the BNP Paribas Open on Wednesday.
“It’s a totally different year, many years after,” the Swiss commenting on his good start. “So I can’t even remember one match that I played in that time except the Canãs match that I ended up losing and then also began in Miami.
‘Yeah, I’m just happy that Hopman Cup went as well as it did. It started off great. Felt like I found my range, my rhythm early in the year. Usually pays off for me, you know, like the offseason coming in. So many years I felt good actually in Australia already. I don’t know if it’s Australia per se or, you know, taking the benefits from the hard work I put in into the new season.
“Yeah, and then also Rotterdam was great. I was very happy that I was able to win the tournament there, not just get to the semis and get world No. 1. So that was nice.
“And here now I’m relieved that I was able to win three matches already. Because in a big, tough draw like here at Indian Wells, you’re never quite sure what to expect. So I’m just happy I’m on a good run.”
The Swiss No. 1 will face off against Hyeong Chung of South Korea next, in a rematch of their Australian Open semifinal. The 23rd seed Chung defeated 30th seed Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay 6-1, 6-3.
“It was a really tough match against Pablo,” said Chung. “I have a lot of chance to finish, like, 6-1, 5-Love up. I have few match points but start windy and he playing good. So I’m just happy to win 6-3.”
Simona Halep had to rally from a break down in the third set, winning the last five straight games to survive Petra Martic of Croatia 6-4, 6-7 (7), 6-3 and reach the Indian Wells semifinals.
The No. 1 woman in the world is now 18-1 on the year.
“It was tough to play (in the wind), because the ball was really moving, and we didn’t really know what’s going on on court.
But I just, you know, tried everything. I tried also to push a little bit the ball and then to hit it, so to change, to mix. Was not easy at all. For both of us was difficult.
And definitely she’s a very good player, and was really tough to play against her.
Halep will play the winner of the match between Naomi Osaka.
On playing Osaka: “It’s not that easy to play against Osaka, because she’s also hitting the ball — every player is different, but in the end, some players are pretty similar. So both of them are similar in the game.
“I will be ready. I have one day off, so I will not think about that now.”
Osaka defeated No. 5 seed Karolina Pliskova 6-2, 6-3, to reach her first Premier Mandatory tournament final four.
“I think I guess everything was a little bit off from my side, for sure, today.,” Pliskova said to media. “She was playing very well. I think hitting her spots, forehands, even the backhands.
“So, yeah, I just battling all the way, even in serving, returning. I was definitely not feeling the best. A little bit tired I felt maybe because of the waiting. I don’t know.
“But these conditions, the evening one, it’s totally different compared to day. So just couldn’t get to the game what I was playing. I think I was playing pretty well the last few matches here. So I just couldn’t get to the rhythm what I had during the day.”
“I knew that I had to really pay a lot of attention when I was serving, because it could have turned into one of those matches where, like, holding serve is very important,” said Osaka.
“But when I got the break in the first game, I sort of shifted a little bit more attention to returning, because it seemed like she was a little bit unconfident on her serve today.
“I tried to focus a lot on returning and just making her play a lot of balls.”
Osaka is the first female Japanese player to reach the semifinals of a Premier Mandatory WTA event. Asked about breaking records she said: “I feel I want to break the records for male and female. I’m coming for Kei.”
No. 31 Phillipp Kohlschreiber continued his run, since beating the second seed Marin Cilic on Tuesday. The German beat Frenchman Pierre-Hughes Herbert of France 6-4, 7-6 (7) to reach the quarterfinals.
“I felt like the level of tennis I played in the past weeks got better and better, and, okay, then luckily here all come together,” Said the German. “I like the conditions. I like the weather. I think I played some good tennis here already in the past, so I know it could be a good tournament for me.”
Kohlschreiber will face Juan Martin del Potro who defeated Argentine countryman and friend Leonardo Mayer 3-6 7-6(2) 6-3.
“I’m surprised with the Mayer levels of today,” noted Del Potro. “I mean, he deserved to play like that. And I think I was very smart during the tiebreak. After then I turned around the match and the control of the points, and then I start to play much better right after the tiebreak.”
“The Argentine, who has lost to the German twice in 2016, knows it will be a tight match.
“Of course I’m better than that moment, but Philippe are beating all guys here, playing great tennis. He has good backhands down the line. And I think all players have chance to win the tournament if they are in quarterfinals.
“So will be a difficult match to me.”
Borna Coric had to fight off the wind and American Taylor Fritz 6-2, 6-7 (8), 6-4 to reach the elite eight.
“It was not easy,” said Coric. “I think in the first set I was playing great. I was playing aggressive. You know, it was quite easy first set.
“Then the wind came. You know, it changed my momentum a lot. I felt like he was coming into the match, and I could not swing so freely anymore. You know, I just felt like he’s much closer now, you know, and I was just trying — I was just trying to hold on.
“You know, on the 4-3 he played a very good game. And then when I broke him back with 30-Love, even on the 5-3, I thought I had the match, and, I mean, pretty much I did have the match.
“But, you know, that’s the tennis, you know. Those kind of things happen. I didn’t do anything wrong, I think, you know, I missed. But, you know, I was going for the right shots. I was aggressive. You know, I just missed that easy forehand on 4-1.
“But at the end of the day, that’s the tennis. And I knew, you know, in the third set it’s a completely new set. Doesn’t mean anything that I lost that second set, you know. I lost the break, also, in the very early — it was not easy to play from that side, because there was wind coming from there.
“It was very tricky, definitely, no? But I’m just very happy with the win.”
Coric will play No. 7 Kevin Anderson of South Africa.
In a rematch of last year’s US Open semifinal, Anderson defeated No. 11 Pablo Carreno Busta of Spain 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (8).
Anderson said that this match was a real big test: “He’s such a great fighter. I knew I was in for a tough match. Of course it was quite gusty today, so that was a bit of an adjustment for both of us.
“I thought in the first set I was pretty happy with the way I started. I felt I was holding pretty easily. Had a couple of break points in separate serve games on his serve.
“It’s always tough when you get broken and then you’re sitting on the changeover and you have lost the first set, but I thought I did a really good job of resetting, realizing that even though I had lost the first set, I was really in the match.
“And if I just stayed patient, I believed I could create another opportunity, which I was able to do. I felt especially as the second set went on, a bit more momentum building, but I thought he did a great job closing it go down, especially on his serve games in the third set. And it ended up being a very close set with neither one of us having too many looks on the other person’s serve.
“And then going to a third set tiebreak, it’s often anybody’s game. I tried my best to impose my game as much as possible, fight for every point. Obviously, again, it was tough that 5-6 match point. Really thought the ball was going out. And again having to reset, and I played a very good point at 6-All to set up match point.
“So overall, very, very tough match. I kind of expected it going in, but very pleased to have gotten through.”
Sam Querrey is the lone American man left in the men’s singles draw, the 18th seed beat Feliciano Lopez the 28th seed 6-3, 6-4. Querrey will play the Milos Raonic the 32nd seed as Marcos Baghdatis withdrew from the tournament with a stomach ailment.
“I’m more happy with how I played today, ” said Querrey who remains the only man eligible for the one million dollar bonus if he wins both singles and doubles events. That’s what gives me confidence rather than making the quarterfinals.”