The first two quarter-finals of the 2018 BNP Paribas Open were played on a windyyy day in Indian Wells. This Set Points features a detailed recap of the first quarter-final and catches up with a few things missed from a manic Tuesday including highlights of Wozniacki-Kasatkina. There’s a pair of snap previews for tomorrow’s quarter-finals at the end. Read on for 8 stories on day 9 of WTA main draw action.
Halep 18-1 for the year
Simona Halep uttered the words “refuse to lose” in her post-match interview. This sums up her 2018 season pretty well as she advanced to her fourth semi-final (out of four) in Indian Wells. She has done it the hard way in Indian Wells. In this quarter-final match, Halep battled back from 1-3 down in the third set to defeat Petra Martic, 6-4 6-7(5) 6-3 in a compelling clash.
Halep made the brighter start to the match and handled the wind better to win the opener. Martic alternated between spells of aggressive and passive play. In a second set tiebreak she went with the former game plan to force the decider. At the same time, Halep became increasingly frustrated and made a few tactical errors in the wind-swept conditions. She had a pair of tense changeover chats with Darren Cahill.
Into a third set and Halep was rushing. Cahill pleaded with her to trust the backhand. From 1-3 down, Halep began to calm down. It was yet another impressive mental turnaround because I think Halep would have lost this third set a few years ago. To be honest, I thought she was gone at 1-3. Halep began to hit with more purpose, got the break back, and then to lead, and played arguably her best game of the match to win it with a trio of forceful winners.
Props to Martic for a great week. She pushed the world number one hard and had her on the ropes. Martic had most success dictating with her forehand. She had her chances here but didn’t quite bring the aggressive gameplan consistently when she was in the winning position in the third set
Halep and Cahill
Halep called for Cahill on court twice, at the end of the second set and after three games of the third set. I questioned why she did this because she gave him absolutely nothing and then jumped up before time was called! I did wonder at the time if it may affect their coaching relationship after what happened in Miami last year. Halep explained in her press conference that she was frustrated at the wind and called Darren to calm her down. It took a few games but Simona did calm down eventually to score a sixth three set win of 2018.
While I was sleeping…
Naomi Osaka broke new ground by becoming the first Japanese player to reach the semi-finals of Indian Wells after a 6-2 6-3 win over Karolina Pliskova. I’m so thrilled to see Naomi putting everything together for her best run at a big tournament.
Kasatkina’s 4th round win over Wozniacki
I watched back Wozniacki-Kasatkina on Wednesday after missing it last night when I was sleeping. I hadn’t quite realised what a great start Wozniacki made to the match. Wozniacki had two break points for a 4-0 lead. That’s where Kasatkina kicked into gear with a crafty drop shot setting up a winner, followed by a forehand winner. Kasatkina reeled off five straight games, eventually serving out the set to 15. The second set was similar in that Kasatkina also came back from a deficit, winning the last four games of the match. I’ve seen Dasha struggle at closing out so many sets so this was very encouraging to see.
I was impressed how Kasatkina didn’t look panicked when Wozniacki was playing well and ahead on the scoreboard. I loved how she moved the ball around the court, using her top spin forehand and backhand slice. And of course the jumping backhands which were all glorious 😍. It’s good to see Dasha playing with so much confidence.
Osaka’s press conferences
Naomi Osaka is always entertaining in press. If you’ve got 14 minutes spare then go for it! She talks about her match against Maria Sakkari and video games.
Monica Niculescu is a delight
I couldn’t recommend enough to listen to the latest edition of the WTA Insider podcast with Monica Niculescu. She talks about her game, how to hit a slice (good tips that i’ll take for my own tennis game 😂) and what she looks for in a doubles partner.
QF Previews for Thursday
Venus Williams vs. Carla Suárez Navarro: This will be the ninth time that Venus and Carla have played on the tour. Their last match at the US Open went the distance with Venus winning, 6-3 3-6 6-1. My one memory from that match was one of the best points of the year in the decider (linked below). I’ve not had the opportunity to watch any of their matches so i’m not in the best position to make a pick! I’m going with Venus.
Angelique Kerber vs. Daria Kasatkina: Bring it on. The pair are tied at 2-2 in their head-to-head and all of their matches have been on hard courts. I’m especially excited about this one because I think they both come into the match in superb form. It’s a tricky one to call with the head-to-head favouring the in-form player – they are both in form this time! My first instinct was Kerber. The more I think I about it, the more I like Kasatkina’s chances in these almost clay like conditions with the ball getting up high. Her top spin forehand was potent against Wozniacki.
QF Polls and SF Poll
A selection of polls to share your opinion on the next set of matches from Indian Wells.