What an interesting day at Indian Wells.
- Novak Djokovic needed 3 sets to beat Marin Cilic. Cilic actually won the first set 6-1, but then lost 2 and 3 in the 2nd and 3rd sets. Joker decided to stop joking around apparently (cheesy pun). Cilic is still fairly young at 26 and had a sparkling 18-4 2014 record with 2 titles coming into Indian Wells, but he needs to truly take it to the next level and win a grand slam. He beat Tsonga and Murray in consecutive matches at a tournament in the Netherlands, but lost quite easily to Berdych in the finals. To win a grand slam, you’re often going to need 3 quality victories like that to hoist up the title. On the other hand, Djokovic cannot be counted out until he literally loses the last point of the match. Even if he looks terrible in a set, he has the ability to quickly turn it around and get a victory. All the credit in the world should go to his mental toughness and craftiness, not just his skills and conditioning.
- In an interesting match-up of veterans, Roger Federer beat Tommy Haas 6-4, 6-4. Haas is 3 years older than Roger at 35, and somehow is ranked 12th in the world despite being only 8-7 this year, with 0 victories being against a seeded opponent in a tournament. He has been one of the biggest disappointments in recent tennis history. Granted, he has had a lot of injuries, but there was so much hype in his early career that his strokes were lauded as picture perfect with tennis coaches across the country using him as an example and trying to teach his strokes to young players. Bolletieri took him in for free at age 11 and touted his ability for years. He ended up only been an above average/pretty good tennis professional throughout his career and is near the end of the road. On the other hand, Federer’s demise may have been greatly overstated as he improved to 16-2 in the new year and already has earned about a third of his 2013 prize money. He has had a specially designed racquet added to his repertoire and has been working with slightly different grips at times, and it seems to be paying off.
- Kevin Anderson and Milos Raonic upended Stan “The Man” Wawrinka and Andy Murray, each in tough, 3 set matches. The 17th seeded South African Anderson beat Stan 7-6 (7-1), 4-6, 6-1. Anderson is barely above .500 in win-loss throughout his career, but is 11-4 this year. The ever-talented Raonic, who turned pro in 2008 yet is only 23 years old, came back after losing the first season 4-6 to Murray by winning the 2nd and 3rd sets 7-5 and 6-3. Raonic has a huge game and is ranked 11th in the world. The only other tournament he has played in this year was the Australian, in which he ended up losing to another up and coming potential star Grigor Dimitrov 10-12 in a 4th set tiebreak. Raonic is now 4-1 this year, and could be on the verge of breaking through and winning a few big tournaments if he plays up to his potential (unlike Haas).
- John Isner advanced by beating Verdasco in 3.
- Previously featured Alexandr Dolgopolov didn’t have the let-down match after beating Rafa by taking out 13th seeded Fabio Fognini in 2 fairly smooth sets. He will have to beat Raonic in order to advance, and is the lowest seeded player left in the tournament aside from Julien Benneteau.