The second Tuesday at Indian Wells is always reminiscent of Manic Monday at Wimbledon with all eight of the women’s fourth round matches on the schedule. Thankfully, the matches aren’t all clashing against each other. From a selfish point of view, it’s just as frustrating for me as Wimbledon because of the time difference and many of the matches on late! I got to watch the first four matches of the day and have really enjoyed this tournament so far. Read on for 10 stories for day 7 of main draw action at the 2018 BNP Paribas Open.
Another marvellous run for Petra Martic
Petra Martic has been bringing it for the big tournaments. After reaching the last 16 at three of the last four Slams, Martic has finally broken new ground and reached the quarter-finals of Indian Wells. Martic beat Marketa Vondrousova, 6-3 7-6(4), overcoming a very patchy spell of play when serving for the match at *5-3. Martic admitted in her post-match interview that there were nerves and that it “got in her head” having been at this fourth round stage so many times in the last year.
I watched the second set which had a lot of changes in momentum. Vondrousova had all the flashy winners, while Martic was a touch more consistent. Vondrousova’s nonchalance at hitting big booming winners was enjoyable to watch. She is going to be a treat to watch for years to come. A foot fault called on a second serve midway through the second set tiebreak seemed to throw Vondrousova and yet another double fault came on match point.
Martic’s story has gained some traction but I still feel it is rather underrated and deserves more coverage. It’s simply sensational what she has done since returning to action in April last year following ten months away from the tour due to a back injury.
Another QF for Halep
Four tournaments into the new season and Simona Halep is into her fourth quarter-final. The Romanian player has been the epitome of consistency since about this time last year. Halep won her fourth round match against Wang Qiang, 7-5 6-1.
Halep struggled with her game in the first set. Darren Cahill came on at *4-5 and advised her to cut out the unforced errors on the first or second ball, and not be afraid to tough out some long rallies. Halep appeared annoyed and frustrated, but totally took on board the advice and won nine of the last 10 games. Halep’s mentality and attitude on court, while still a work in progress as she has consistently stated in press, has improved so, SO much in the last year.
Pliskova beats Anisimova
Karolina Pliskova ended the run of 16-year-old, Amanda Anisimova, 6-1 7-6 (2) out on Stadium 2. Anisimova looked nervous at the beginning and Pliskova didn’t give her a chance to settle with some precise serving. Anisimova seemed to relax in the second set which was a great watch. There were moments of absolute brilliance from Anismova, notably breaking Pliskova back to 3-3. Her backhand is such a weapon and I admire how she isn’t afraid to step into the court and go for the lines.
Pliskova was up against it but defended well and was able to rely on her serve. Anisimova had the doctor and trainer on at 5-4 in the second set for a stomach issue. The American did well to get into the tiebreak. Pliskova’s experience ultimately prevailed with a trio of potent returns the difference in the tiebreak. Pliskova has an excellent record in Indian Wells and will be going for her third straight semi-final appearance. I can’t wait to see Anisimova again who I read has a wild card into Miami. Her talent is unreal.
Osaka’s first Premier Mandatory QF
Naomi Osaka is into a first Premier Mandatory quarter-final after a 6-1 5-7 6-1 win over Maria Sakkari in the only three setter of the day. From a break up in the second set, Osaka’s game rather unravelled with Sakkari changing up her tactics with more topspin on the forehand. Random segway – I am really enjoying Sophie Amiach’s commentary on WTA TV. Her insight into the tactical side of the tennis is fascinating. I’m learning so much! 😂
Into a third set and Sakkari seemed to lose heart after double faulting away a long game on her serve at 1-1. Sakkari was unable to maintain her tactics from the second set and Osaka locked in with some crushing winners. Osaka is having a banner week and I always look forward to watching her play. Naomi’s coach, Sascha Bajin posted about Maria after the match 👍.
While I was sleeping…
Venus Williams edged out Anastasija Sevastova in two tight sets, 7-6(6) 6-4. There were some fun points in this one (see below).
Daria Kasatkina scored yet another big win, beating the world number two Caroline Wozniacki, 6-4 7-5. So happy for Dasha!
Carla Suárez Navarro defeated the American wild card, Danielle Collins, 6-2 6-4.
When I woke up…
Angelique Kerber and Caroline Garcia were still playing. I had a feeling this would be the match of the day… nope! Angie’s angles were amazing and she was on it, flying through 6-1 6-1 in just 62 minutes.
Kasatkina’s 3rd round presser
I’m going to watch back Wozniacki-Kasatkina tonight before the first of the quarter-finals so i’ll have a review of that match in tomorrow’s Set Points. Kasatkina’s press conference after her third round match is linked below. She spoke about feeling more confident after Dubai and that has definitely shown on the court and in her results this week.
Stuttgart entry list
The full line-up has been unveiled for Stuttgart – awesome as always!
I find it odd how Indian Wells and Miami bring together all the fourth round matches on one day and then split them up again by half just for the quarter-finals. The top half plays out on Wednesday. Thoughts on both…
Simona Halep vs. Petra Martic: Halep and Martic are tied at 1-1 in their head-to-head with Halep winning their last match in Guangzhou back in 2015, 6-4 6-2. It’s a big match for Martic. Perhaps the pressure will be off for her as she has finally got past the fourth round! Halep has been so consistent, both physically and mentally, and she has more experience in these big matches so i’d have to back the #1. Wavering a tad between two and three sets… i’ll go straights.
Karolina Pliskova vs. Naomi Osaka: In their only previous meeting in the last 16 round of Toronto, Osaka was forced to pull out with an injury. It was such a shame with the match delicately poised at one set all. Pliskova has generally been coming up short in the big matches at the ends of tournaments, while for Osaka this is arguably her biggest match to date.
I love the way that Osaka has been playing with noticeable restraint and waiting for the right ball to unload. While there have been some bouts of inconsistency and doubt, she’s been coming through in style. Head says Pliskova, heart says Osaka. Pliskova is the safer option with experience, consistency and that serve. Osaka had yet to really have that big breakthrough run at a big tournament but she’s on her way. Oh what the hell, i’m going for Osaka!
Polls are up for all four QFs. Most excited for Kerber-Kasatkina (please be day, please be day, please be day, please be day, please be day, please be day 😂)