|2008 ATP-WTA Tour
Pacific Life Open - At The
Indian Wells Tennis Garden
Tournament Coverage - Day
4 | 5 | 6
Story by Matt Osias
NADAL GETS THE BETTER OF BLAKE
Rafael Nadal - ESP
Having lost each of their past
three matches, No. 2 seed Rafael Nadal maintained his composure
to outlast the American James Blake in a 7-5, 3-6, 6-3 thriller.
The momentum started out in Blake's court, however, as the No. 9
seed managed to grab the first break of the match. At 2-1 and up
00-30, Blake tattooed the Nadal serve down the line for a
winner. Then, just 2 points later, Blake claimed the break to go
But trying to suppress the world No. 2 is as tough a feat as
any; with the score at 4-2 in Blake's favor, Nadal reversed the
roles, quickly going up 00-40 and eventually securing the break
The key to the first set, however, came in the form of a
controversial challenge play. With the set score deadlocked at
5-5 and Nadal leading 30-40, Blake stopped play in mid-point to
challenge a call that the Spaniard's shot was long, though the
review was unfavorable, handing the No. 2 the break and a chance
to serve out the first set – which he did.
"I had some break point opportunities at 6-5 in the first set; I
didn't get those," Blake said. "That was the difference in the
match, just a couple of points here and there."
In the second set, Blake regained his confidence and breaks
Nadal on his first serve attempt, never looking back, taking the
second set convincingly 6-3. Though, regardless of the swing of
momentum, Nadal's resiliency carried him through the final set.
Last year's Pacific Life Open champ will next face his
rival-in-the-making, Serbian No. 3 Novak Djokovic in the
SERBS MAKING STATEMENT
World No. 3 Djokovic beat the pesky Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka
7-6(5), 6-2 on Stadium Court Thursday afternoon.
The 2008 Australian Open winner broke Wawrinka twice in the
second set and dropped just one point on serve en route to a
dominate second set victory. Djokovic's next task will be a
rematch of last year's final against the defensive-minded Nadal.
"I've been successful against him on the hard courts outdoors,
so I can say that I feel pretty confident playing him," Djokovic
said. "We know each other's game, and we've had a lot of
meetings in the last year."
Jelena Jankovic - SRB
On the women's side, No. 1 seed
Ana Ivanovic and No. 3 seed countrywoman Jelena Jankovic both
won their quarterfinal matches to join Russian No. 2 seed
Svetlana Kuznetsova and No. 4 seed Maria Sharapova, fittingly
paring the top-four women's seeds in the last remaining spots.
Top-seeded Ana Ivanovic had it flowing in the first set against
Russian Vera Zvonareva, winning the first four games in less
than 10 minutes en route to a 6-1, 6-4 victory in just 66
"I know I have the game to beat anyone if I play well and do
what I'm supposed to do out there," Ivanovic said. "All these
players that are in the draw, I've beaten them before, so it
gives me lots of confidence."
Fellow Serbian Jankovic was the recipient of a sort of gift
Thursday, as the surging American Lindsay Davenport retired from
the match after losing the first set 6-2; citing a back injury.
"After two games, it was pretty sore out there," Davenport said.
Check back soon for more coverage
of the 2008 Pacific Life Open.
Matt Osias can be reached at
Life Open Photos by Adam Davis