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Novak Djokovic rolls into Indian Wells quarterfinals

Andy Roddick loses to France's Richard Gasquet in straight sets in the round of 16.

March 16, 2011|By Bill Dwyre
  • Novak Djokovic of Serbia lunges to return a forehand during his victory over Viktor Troicki during the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells on Wednesday.
Novak Djokovic of Serbia lunges to return a forehand during his victory… (Jeff Gross / Getty Images )

Serbia's Novak Djokovic, a tennis star often lost in the bright lights and red carpets that always accompany Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, continued to fly fast under the radar in the BNP Paribas Open on Wednesday at Indian Wells.

Djokovic, No. 3, beat his friend, doubles partner and fellow Serb, Victor Troicki, 6-0, 6-1, in the round of 16 and will enter the quarterfinals having lost only four games in three matches. All three of his victories here have begun with 6-0 sets.

A deeper look into the statistics gives some additional context. Coming into this ATP Masters Series event, Djokovic had played 441 matches in his career and won a total of 11 sets at 6-0. Here, he is three for three. Before this, his last 6-0 victory was in 2009.

If the final score indicated a breeze, the last few minutes of the match were anything but. Troicki, with only dignity left to fight for, saved five match points before Djokovic wrong-footed him with a backhand down the line on match point No. 6.

"It is difficult," Djokovic said. "He is one of my best friends. I have known him since we were 9."

Less than two hours later, they were playing in the doubles quarterfinals and lost in straight sets.

Tommy Robredo, Juan Martin del Potro, Ivo Karlovic, Stan Wawrinka and Richard Gasquet also got through to the quarterfinals in the day session.

Robredo, limping on an injured leg, still was able to breeze past a befuddled Sam Querrey, 6-1, 6-3. Del Potro, the 2009 U.S. Open champion who is making a comeback after a year lost to injury, outlasted a game Philipp Kohlschreiber, 7-6 (3), 7-6 (5). Karlovic, the 6-foot-10 Croatian, bombed away at Albert Montanes and won, 7-6 (7), 6-2.

Wawrinka, the other tennis player from Switzerland, went toe-to-toe with Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic in a three-set marathon that looked like a toss-up with Berdych serving at 4-4 of the third set. Then Wawrinka won the next eight points.

The departure of Querrey, and later in the day the surprising ouster of No. 8 Andy Roddick by resurgent Frenchman Gasquet, left the last remaining U.S. title hope, men or women, to 18-year-old Ryan Harrison, who was to play Federer later in the evening.

Roddick lost, 6-3, 7-6 (5), after putting together a nice rally from a set and a service break down. But Gasquet got to match point in the tiebreaker and won with a booming backhand return off Roddick's 106-mph second serve.

With most higher seeded players gone on the women's side, No. 15 Marion Bartoli of France continued to work her way toward one of her best tour results. The beneficiary of Kim Cljisters' Tuesday default with a sore shoulder, Bartoli, a semifinalist now, took out No. 19 Ana Ivanovic, a former champion here. Bartoli said she played despite flu, but she was apparently healthy enough to beat the former No. 1 Serb, 6-4, 7-6 (4).

Clijsters was the Belgian player expected to have prominence here, but it was Yanina Wickmayer making her way into the semifinals, taking out Shahar Peer, 6-3, 6-3.

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