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March 15, 2011

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BNP Paribas Open 2011, Indian Wells, California, USA
March 15, 2011
Editorial by Vince Barr. Photography by Harvey Rubin.


 

Vince Barr Photo
Vince Barr

BNP Paribas 4th Round
 
Andy Roddick's match with John Isner was not as close as I was expecting, all things considered. The line score at the one hour of elapsed time in his match was 7-5, 4-2 Roddick up a set and a break. It absolutely amazes me how critical to success or failure the statistic of unforced errors is. If you had told me before this match began that one of the players would commit more than 20 unforced errors, my first reaction would have been "no way" and my second reaction, if forced to name the culprit, would be to cite Mr. Roddick. Why? Because of Isner's booming serve and the pressure it places on his opponent. This match was nearly over with after just one hour. Isner had 24 unforced errors to Roddick's five at this point in the match (the one-hour point) and Roddick just broke Isner's serve again for the insurance break in the second set when John dumped a volley into the net. Another factor in this relatively easy win for Andy (he closed out the second set and the match at 6-2) was the fact that Isner was not able to break Roddick at all; in fact, Andy lost only 5 points in all his service games combined throughout the entire match.
 
The last women's 4th round match took place after the Roddick match and featured Maria Sharapova against Dinara Safina. Sharapova and Safina have only played a total of six previous times with each player recording three wins to tie the series. However, it had been awhile since the two squared off against each other across the net, the last time being the 2008 French Open in the Round of 16, which Safina won in three sets, 6-7 (6), 7-6 (5), 6-2. Injuries have taken their toll on both players but Safina seems to have had the rougher road to recovery; it is a bit of a surprise to see Dinara's ranking down to 108th in the world as compared with Sharapova's 18th-best in the world.
 
Safina started out very erratic on her serve as she quickly found herself down love-40 in the first game of the match. However, she pulled things together and managed to hold on to her serve. Sharapova got the first break of the match in Safina's next service game after Dinara was down 15-40. Sharapova then got an insurance break to go up 4-1 in the first set. Safina has been frustrated in her professional life with all the injuries she's had to deal with, according to Lindsey Davenport. She recalled that after her embarrassing loss to Kim Clijsters (a double bagel) at the Australian Open (in the first round, no less), Safina was seriously thinking about retiring from professional tennis. Brett Haber then asked Lindsey how long she thought that Safina would hang in there because she (Safina) clearly was not enjoying life ranked that low (and struggling to defeat players she would have easily beaten in years past). Davenport wasn't sure but agreed with Haber's assessment that Dinara's patience was not unlimited.
 
To her credit, Safina did not give up in her match with Maria even after the second break of the first set. Sharapova was up 30-love on her serve, then inexplicably double faulted and hit a volley long to even things up in that game. From there, she lost her serve for the first time in this match. In the first six games of the match, both players had been broken a total of three times and the trend was not going well, especially for Safina who was broken again, for the third time, to give Sharapova a 5-2 lead in the first. After Maria held to take the first set, Safina was broken in her first service game of the next set and was quickly reverting to the negative body language she is known to exhibit whenever she is frustrated and losing on the court. This has all the makings of a match that is going to be over with very, very quickly. Safina got broken again and she is clearly irritated with herself. And yet, despite the score line (at this point, 2-6, 0-4 against Safina), she really wasn't playing that poorly. As if on cue, Davenport noted that Dinara had only 12 unforced errors to this point in the match, which means that Sharapova is playing really, really well. Brett Haber then asked Davenport what she would tell Safina at this point in the match and she replied, "Sometimes, you just have to step back and tell yourself, too good," Lindsey explained. This match was also over in just 61 minutes with Maria winning quickly, 6-2, 6-0. She next plays Peng Shuai.
 
Despite the two quick matches in the evening session, there were a number of very good matches that happened today. Caroline Wozniacki survived a bit of a scare and advanced to the Round of 16 over Alisa Kleybanova, 2-6, 6-3, 6-1. She will play Victoria Azarenka who narrowly beat Agnieszka Radwanska, 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (3) in the Round of 16. Shuai Peng defeated Nadia Petrova, 6-4, 5-7, 6-3 and she will next play Maria Sharapova. Kim Clijsters had to retire in her match yesterday due to a shoulder injury that had apparently been bothering her for several months. It is not certain yet whether or not she will be healthy enough to play in Key Biscayne next week. Listening to her brief post-match press conference, she said that the injury wasn't too bad, but she didn't want to take any chances with it this early in the season.
 
Ryan Harrison, who received a wild card into the main draw here, made good use of it by upsetting Milos Raonic, 7-6 (1), 4-6, 6-4. Those two players had played several times in the juniors, so Ryan was very familiar with Raonic and had beaten him the majority of the time in their juniors encounters. However, this was the first match that they played against each other on the ATP Tour. Harrison next gets to play Roger Federer. The rest of the other men's singles matches went in straight sets.
 
An interesting story line that got some coverage from Tennis Channel involved the fact that both Federer and Nadal are playing in the doubles tournament and this usually does not happen. In fact, if they both win their next match, they will face off against each other in doubles, which would be an exciting development. Nadal is partnering with countryman Marc Lopez while Federer is teaming up with fellow Swiss player Stanislas Wawrinka. Perhaps one reason most top singles players don't often play doubles has to do with match scheduling; specifically, late night matches can occur after their singles matches are over and they won't have appropriate rest. Another reason has to do with the fact that many top singles players want to focus exclusively on their singles play during a big event. Still, it is great to see them (top players) enter the doubles draw so I hope that if both Nadal and Federer advance in doubles, that Tennis Channel will give them some coverage.
 

 

 
[3] Novak Djokovic (SRB) {white and blue shirt} d [31] Ernests Gulbis (LAT) 60 61
 
Novak Djokovic Ernests Gulbis Scoreboard 2011 BNP Paribas Open Tennis
Novak Djokovic 2011 BNP Paribas Open Tennis
Ernests Gulbis 2011 BNP Paribas Open Tennis
Novak Djokovic 2011 BNP Paribas Open Tennis
Ernests Gulbis 2011 BNP Paribas Open Tennis
Novak Djokovic 2011 BNP Paribas Open Tennis
Ernests Gulbis 2011 BNP Paribas Open Tennis
Novak Djokovic 2011 BNP Paribas Open Tennis
Ernests Gulbis 2011 BNP Paribas Open Tennis
Novak Djokovic 2011 BNP Paribas Open Tennis
2011 BNP Paribas Open Tennis
Novak Djokovic 2011 BNP Paribas Open Tennis

 
 
[15] Marion Bartoli (FRA) {orange shirt} d [2] Kim Clijsters (BEL) 36 31 Retired
 
Marion Bartoli Kim Clijsters  Scoreboard 2011 BNP Paribas Open Tennis
Marion Bartoli 2011 BNP Paribas Open Tennis
Kim Clijsters 2011 BNP Paribas Open Tennis
Marion Bartoli 2011 BNP Paribas Open Tennis
Kim Clijsters 2011 BNP Paribas Open Tennis
Marion Bartoli 2011 BNP Paribas Open Tennis
Kim Clijsters 2011 BNP Paribas Open Tennis
Kim Clijsters 2011 BNP Paribas Open Tennis
Marion Bartoli 2011 BNP Paribas Open Tennis
Kim Clijsters 2011 BNP Paribas Open Tennis
Kim Clijsters 2011 BNP Paribas Open Tennis

 
 
[2] Roger Federer (SUI) {yellow shirt} d [29] Juan Ignacio Chela (ARG) 60 62
 
Juan Ignacio Chela 2011 BNP Paribas Open Tennis
Roger Federer 2011 BNP Paribas Open Tennis
Juan Ignacio Chela 2011 BNP Paribas Open Tennis
Roger Federer 2011 BNP Paribas Open Tennis
Juan Ignacio Chela 2011 BNP Paribas Open Tennis
Roger Federer 2011 BNP Paribas Open Tennis
Juan Ignacio Chela 2011 BNP Paribas Open Tennis
Roger Federer 2011 BNP Paribas Open Tennis
Juan Ignacio Chela 2011 BNP Paribas Open Tennis

 
 
[8] Andy Roddick (USA) d [30] John Isner (USA) {blue shirt} 75 62
 
John Isner 2011 BNP Paribas Open Tennis
Andy Roddick 2011 BNP Paribas Open Tennis
John Isner 2011 BNP Paribas Open Tennis
Andy Roddick 2011 BNP Paribas Open Tennis
John Isner 2011 BNP Paribas Open Tennis
Andy Roddick 2011 BNP Paribas Open Tennis
John Isner 2011 BNP Paribas Open Tennis
Andy Roddick 2011 BNP Paribas Open Tennis
John Isner 2011 BNP Paribas Open Tennis

 
Earlier Columns from this Event:
 
March 14, 2011 BNP Paribas Open: 3rd Round - Nadal, Soderling, Sweeting, Kohlschreiber, Querrey, Verdasco
March 13, 2011 BNP Paribas Open: Raonic Rising, Roddick Rolling, Federer Florishing - Roddick, Blake, Djokovic, Golubev, Federer, Andreev
March 12, 2011 BNP Paribas Open: Women's Preview & Second Round Results - Nadal, de Voest, del Potro, Ljubicic, Wozniacki, Stephens
March 11, 2011 BNP Paribas Open: Men's Preview with Photo Coverage of Blake, Guccione, Ivanovic, Date-Krumm
 

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