Indian Wells - Rafael Nadal avenged a fresh
loss to a fellow Spaniard and Serena Williams set up a showdown with the
reigning Indian Wells champion at the ATP and WTA hard-court tournament on
Nadal saved five set points to finish off a
two-set victory over Fernando Verdasco 6-0, 7-6 (11-9) in the third round on
the main stadium court.
World number one Williams routing 70th
ranked Kateryna Bondarenko 6-2, 6-2 to reach the quarter-finals of one of the
biggest events on the tennis calendar outside of the four Grand Slams.
Men's top seed Novak Djokovic, who is
aiming for his third straight and a record fifth overall Indian Wells crown,
defeated Philipp Kohlschreiber 7-5, 7-5 in the night match.
Nadal, the nine-time French Open champion
who turns 30 in June, avenged his first-round loss to Verdasco at the
Australian Open in January.
Nadal moved a step closer to a fourth
trophy in the California desert, where he took the title in 2013, 2009 and 2007.
The swashbuckling Spaniard next faces
German Alexander Zverev who defeated Gilles Simon in straight sets 6-2, 6-2.
Nadal, who is seeded fourth, roared through
the first set without dropping a game, but Verdasco came to life in the second,
eventually forcing a tiebreak.
Nadal fought off five set points before
clinching it when Verdasco hit a backhand long to end the one hour, 41 minute
"It was a tough match, but I
resisted," said Nadal, who broke Verdasco five times in the match. "I
lost a few matches this year that I had a chance to win so I need to play more
matches like this."
Verdasco wasn't going down without a fight.
Serving in the tiebreaker -- and down 6-7 on match point -- he challenged an
out call and won, reversing the judge's call and allowing him to level at 7-7.
Nadal improved to 15-3 overall against
Verdasco but they have had some memorable contests since their first encounter
in 2005 in Doha.
They played a brilliant three tiebreaker
match at Cincinnati in 2011, went five sets in the semis of the 2009 Australian
Open, and earlier this year they played another five setter in Melbourne with
Verdasco handing Nadal just his second ever first-round defeat in a Grand Slam.
"I have to go through these
things," said Nadal. "Normally he serves better than me in a
"In these kind of matches I have more
to lose than him, so he's able to play very aggressive.
"He has amazing shots. When he arrives
at a tiebreak, you know you're in trouble."
Williams, who is playing here for just the
second time since ending her 14-year Indian Wells boycott, will face Halep in
Last year at Indian Wells, Halep won their
semi-final without even striking a ball after Williams pulled out of the
tournament with a knee injury.
That withdrawal cut short Williams' first
Indian Wells campaign since 2001, when spectators booed her during the final
and jeered her sister, Venus, and father Richard Williams when the pair arrived
to watch the match.
Williams said she is grateful that the boos
have turned to cheers.
"Every time I step on the court people
cheer for me. It is just a different feeling," Williams said following her
win over Bondarenko.
Halep moved on to the quarter-finals when
her opponent Barbora Strycova retired in the second set with a respiratory
Williams has dominated Halep over the years
beating her six times in seven matches. Halep's best moment against her was a
straight sets win, 6-0, 6-2, in 2014 in Singapore.
"I like her game. She's a fighter. She
killed me at one point so I will have to be ready," Williams said of
facing Halep on Wednesday.
Japan's Kei Nishikori won his third round
match on Tuesday defeating Steve Johnson 7-6 (8/6), 7-6 (7/5).
World number six Nishikori next faces ninth
seeded American John Isner who beat France's Adrian Mannarino 6-4, 7-6 (7/4).Results from the seventh day of the WTA-ATP Indian Wells tournament on Tuesday (x denotes seeded player):
Novak Djokovic (SRB x1) bt Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER x27) 7-5, 7-5
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA x7) bt Sam Querrey (USA x31) 6-3, 6-4
Rafael Nadal (ESP x4) bt Fernando Verdasco (ESP) 6-0 7-6 (11/9)
Alexander Zverev (GER) bt Gilles Simon (FRA x16) 6-2, 6-2
Kei Nishikori (JPN x5) bt Steve Johnson (USA x30) 7-6 (8/6), 7-6 (7/5)
Feliciano Lopez (ESP x18) bt Roberto Bautista (ESP x14) 7-6 (7/5), 6-7 (10/12), 6-4
Dominic Thiem (AUT x11) bt Jack Sock (USA x21) 7-5, 6-7 (5/7), 6-1
John Isner (USA x9) bt Adrian Mannarino (FRA) 6-4, 7-6 (7/4)
Serena Williams (USA x1) bt Kateryna Bondarenko (UKR) 6-2, 6-2
Simona Halep (ROM x5) bt Barbora Zahlavova Strycova (CZE) 6-3, 1-0 retired
Agnieszka Radwanska (POL x3) bt Jelena Jankovic (SRB x19) 6-3, 6-3
Petra Kvitova (CZE x8) bt Nicole Gibbs (USA) 4-6, 6-3, 6-4
Karolna Pliskova (CZE x18) bt Johanna Konta (GBR x25) 7-6 (7/2), 3-6, 6-3