Thursday was a busy day at Indian Wells, with the women finishing up their quarterfinals and two men booking spots in the semis. Here’s the report going into the weekend:
Ivan Ljubicic backed up his big Round of 16 win over Novak Djokovic with a three set victory over Juan Monaco in Thursday’s quarterfinal.
Before we go too far, I have to share this quote from Ivan’s presser on Wednesday. I just love his no B.S. take: “The fact I beat Novak today doesn’t mean that I’m better player than him. In fact, I’m not.”
But he was better than Monaco, beating him 4-6, 6-2, 6-1.
“I felt really creative out there,” Ivan said after the match. He was also feeling really generous – giving himself a spot in the semis for his 31st birthday.
“I got a phone call from my brother just after match. He said that in the Croatian time zone, I finish just a couple seconds before my birthday, so it’s fantastic.” Ljubicic said with a smile. (via Montreal Gazette)
Ivan has the day off on Friday to celebrate as an Indian Wells semifinalist. But the party’s over come Saturday, if Rafael Nadal continues to play as well as he has been all tournament. It was vintage Rafa for much of Thursday evening’s quarterfinal vs. Tomas Berdych, which he won in straights: 6-4, 7-6 (4). The Spaniard was pivoting and sprinting, whipping and digging, scissor kicking and fist pumping like his knees weren’t a year over twenty. Berdych put up a good fight and all it got him was a second set tiebreak.
Nadal’s making the most of his robust form. He and his buddy Marc Lopez are playing No. 6 seeds Aspelin/Hanley in the doubles semifinals on Friday. The press asked him about his dubs accomplishments:
Q. Are you surprised you’re in the quarterfinals of doubles?
RAFAEL NADAL: Semifinals. (laughter.)
Q. I’m sorry, semifinals.
RAFAEL NADAL: Specialist. (laughter.)
Andy Roddick must feel like it’s his birthday. Instead of playing Roger Federer in the quarterfinals (2 wins/19 losses) he’s playing Tommy Robredo (10 wins/0 losses). Bonus! His wife Brooklyn Decker, landed herself on an airplane.
Hilarious Press Conference Question and an even better answer:
Q. Have you had a chance to see the actual airplane that your wife’s picture is on, and do you plan to ride on that plane?
ANDY RODDICK: I have not, and I’m not going to give you that quote. Sorry.
Here it is. For the record, The Association of Flight Attendants in not so hot for it.
Photo via The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Andy Murray will play Robin Soderling in Friday’s other quarterfinal.
Speaking of silly press conference questions, for some reason I suspect that there’s a curmudgeonly middle aged man behind these:
Q. What’s the hot nail polish these days? Is there a color that’s in?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: Really bright. I really like the really pink ones. And actually, I always have my nails polished, but this time I haven’t. I don’t know. Maybe — I probably should have done my nails.
Q. If you reach the final, will you do your nails?
CAROLINE WOZNIACKI: I don’t know. Maybe I’ll do them tomorrow. Maybe not. Depends on my mood.
Caroline plays Agnieszka Radwanska in the semifinals on Friday evening. The two are very close friends, but Wozniacki says that won’t stop her from playing to win:
“You have to keep professional in that way and see that little yellow ball and hit it inside the lines and over the net. That’s really important that you do that. Because once you start thinking, okay, it’s my friend, what happens, then you lose the match. So it’s just important to stay focused and don’t think about who’s on the other side.”
To make the mind games even more intense – both have agreed that the winner’s buying dinner.
Jelena Jankovic will play Sam Stosur in the first women’s semifinal on Friday. JJ had a fantastic straight set quarterfinal win over Alisa Kleybanova on Thursday and seems to be building confidence on the court in tandem with the 20,000 square foot house she’s building in San Diego county.
Sam Stosur is thinking on a smaller scale right now: “To have a smaller number next to your name is a great thing,” she said after beating Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez in her quarterfinal (via PerthNow). The win puts the Australian into the singles top 10 for the first time in her career. Stosur’s staying true to her doubles specialist roots, still alive in the doubles semifinals with partner Nadia Petrova. They’ll take on Mattek-Sands/Yan on Friday afternoon sometime after Sam’s singles match vs. Jelena.
Click here for Thursday’s results.