Del Potro, Nadal advance to Indian Wells semifinals
There were 2 marquee quarterfinal matchups at Indian Wells over the last 2 days- a resurgent Rafael Nadal taking on long-time rival Roger Federer and Juan Martin Del Potro facing up against world #3 Andy Murray. Nadal/Federer looked to be the matchup of the tournament, but Nadal pulled off an easy 6-4, 6-2 win as Federer, suffering from a bad back, was unable to withstand Nadal’s ruthless topspin game and speedy court coverage. Having almost skipped this tournament, he really seems to be hitting his stride in his first hardcourt event after winning 2 back to back clay titles, and will be facing off against Tomas Berdych in tomorrow’s semifinal.
The more intriguing match turned out to be Murray/Del Potro as each player turned up in the desert having come from very different places. Murray, who had not seen action since his loss at the Australian in January, spent most of the last 6 weeks away from the tour working on his already impressive fitness in Miami, while Del Potro made a number of appearances this winter, taking a title in Rotterdam and competing well in Marseille and Dubai. All that action has put him in tremendous game shape, which turned out to be the deciding factor in his cool 6-7, 6-3, 6-1 victory over Murray, who showed a little rust in this tournament. The first set was an exciting battle of Del Potro’s relentless forehand versus Murray’s excellent defense, but Del Potro shook off a close tiebreak loss to prevail in the 2nd set and take the match. He will be taking on world #1 Novak Djokovic in a rematch of their Dubai semifinal 2 weeks ago, which Djokovic won on his way to collecting the title.