Milos Raonic eliminated by Jo-Wilfried Tsonga at Indian Wells
Nadal, Federer will meet for 1st time in a year
Canada's Milos Raonic lost his bid for a place in the quarter-finals of the BNP Paribas Open as he was defeated by French eighth-seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 4-6, 7-5, 6-4 on Wednesday in Indian Wells, Calif.
Raonic, from Thornhill, Ont., was trying to move into the last eight of a Masters 1000 event for only the third time since doing it twice last summer in Toronto and Cincinnati.
But Tsonga, who had his troublesome left knee taped after dropping the opening set of the fourth-round matchup in 37 minutes, was able to maintain his game and eventually take the victory against 17th-seeded Raonic.
It was Tsonga's second win against Raonic after beating him on grass at the London Olympics last summer.
Raonic, who won a third straight San Jose title last month, now stands at 10-4 on the season as he heads to Miami for the Masters tournament there starting in a week.
"I felt I came out playing better than him, but I let that get away from me," said Raonic. "He's a former No. 5 and a Grand Slam finalist. He knows how to play, he knows how to get out of those situations.
"I had my foot on the pedal and I just let off, it's not a great feeling right now. I had four games in the first set with break chances and I sort of stopped after that and let him get into it.
"He played well and I started making sloppier and sloppier mistakes, a lot of short forehands missed. It hurts because you'll pay for that against these guys."
The 22-year-old Raonic double-faulted on a Tsonga match point after one hour 52 minutes in a match in which he fired a dozen aces but converted on only one of five break chances.
Tsonga held his nerve in the second and third sets, breaking Raonic in the final game of the second after Raonic had saved two set points from Tsonga errors.
The third set stayed tight until Raonic blinked first to take the loss. The match was played on a court at the Tennis Garden without the Hawk-Eye electronic linecalling system, meaning that no challenge could be made from a disappointed Raonic.
"I think it was quite out, the serve. I think we were just confused with what the score was because the screen was off," said Raonic.
Nadal, Djokovic, Federer move on
Top-ranked Novak Djokovic defeated Sam Querrey 6-0, 7-6 (6) in a match that began four hours late after a marathon day.
Djokovic was brutally efficient in the first set after walking unsmiling onto the court as the remaining fans made their way from the stadium's upper reaches to the lower bowl. Querrey, who will take over as the top-ranked American in the next ATP Tour rankings, fought back in the second set.
Djokovic held at 6-all to force the tiebreaker, in which he took a 5-1 lead. Querrey rallied again to tie it at 6-all on a forehand crosscourt winner as some fans yawned.
But then Querrey committed two straight errors to end the 1-hour, 25-minute match.
"It's been a very long day for all of us and I'm very grateful for all of you staying," Djokovic told the few hundred fans who stuck around. "Obviously, it was very frustrating waiting the whole day and then going out after midnight."
Djokovic stayed loose by kicking around a soccer ball on the grounds as he waited for the backlogged day session, which included four straight three-set matches, to finish and for Maria Sharapova to complete the first night match.
"I was really frustrated and trying to hold my emotions," Djokovic said.
Gulbis was on a 13-match winning streak, having made his way through the qualifying rounds at Delray Beach, Fla., where he won the title, and at Indian Wells, where he won three main-draw matches, including two over seeded players.
He was playing his 14th match in 19 days, and has yet to beat Nadal in five tries.
Gulbis held serve to lead 5-4 in the third. He led 30-15 on Nadal's serve, but lost the next five points to let Nadal tie the set.
Nadal earned the only break of the third to go up 6-5, then closed out the win on his third match point. He leapt in the air, tore off his headband and pumped his left arm, yelling, "Yeah!"
The fifth-seeded Spaniard opened his bid for a third Indian Wells title with a two-set victory over American Ryan Harrison, Nadal's first hard-court match in nearly a year.
He returned to the ATP Tour a month ago, winning two of three tournaments on clay after missing seven months because of a left knee injury. Nadal, shaken by an earthquake that rattled Indian Wells on Monday, had a walkover in his third-round match when Leonardo Mayer withdrew with a bad back.
Wawrinka's consecutive forehand errors in the gathering dusk of an unusually hot day in the California desert closed out his 10th consecutive loss to Federer on hard courts. The temperature reached 96 degrees — nearly 20 degrees above normal — during the day.
Federer, a four-time champion at Indian Wells, is going for his first ATP Tour title since last August. The world's second-ranked player improved to 13-1 against the 18th-seeded Wawrinka, who was broken twice in the final set played in front of tennis great Rod Laver.
"I don't know what gets me through. Maybe it's the experience or maybe a bit more calm in those moments," Federer said. "Today I think I was a little lucky to come through it."
Federer was broken once in the third set after telling the chair umpire he didn't have enough time to challenge the call on his first serve. He lost that argument and the game, but broke Wawrinka right back to tie it 3-all. From there, both players held until Federer broke Wawrinka at love in the last game.
Federer tweaked his back in his fourth-round match and was glad to have Tuesday off to recover.
"I played three sets over two hours, so I'm happy at what level I can compete," he said. "I'm hopeful that it's going to feel a bit better again tomorrow, another step forward."
Federer has won 29 of 34 sets in their 15 career matches, with Wawrinka's lone win coming four years ago on clay in Monte Carlo.
"I'm not the only guy who beat him only once. A lot of people never beat him. He's Roger. He's amazing player. He always find a way to win the match," Wawrinka said. "I was close, but not enough, and that's why I need to still go to practice and practice again."
Rafael Nadal ended the run of Latvian qualifier Ernests Gulbis with a 4-6, 6-4, 7-5 victory.
Nadal advanced to the quarter-finals against defending champion Roger Federer, who survived a three-set marathon of his own, beating 18th-seeded Stanislas Wawrinka 6-3, 6-7 (4), 7-5.
Sharapova defeated sixth-seeded Sara Errani 7-6 (6), 6-2 to reach the women's semifinals without dropping a set. She next plays No. 13 seed Maria Kirilenko, who beat No. 5 Petra Kvitova 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 to make the semis for the first time here. Kirilenko improved to 6-0 in three-set matches this year.
Maria Kirilenko got by No. 5 seed Petra Kvitova 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 in the searing heat to reach the women's semifinals for the first time.
Kirilenko improved to 6-0 in three-set matches this year. Seeded 13th, the Russian is playing her first tournament since mid-February when she retired with a right shoulder injury in the first round at Doha.
Of the eight women's quarter-finalists, none has spent more time on court than Kirilenko, whose total match time approached nearly eight hours before her latest match. All four of her matches at Indian Wells have gone three sets.
On the men's side, No. 3 Andy Murray beat Carlos Berlocq 7-6 (4), 6-4 to advance to a quarter-final against No. 7 Juan Martin del Potro, who routed No. 19 Tommy Haas 6-1, 6-2.
Berlocq complained to the chair umpire that Murray was taking too long between points, prompting Murray to protest the volume of Berlocq's grunting.
"It was extremely, extremely loud, more than what I have experienced from any other player on the tour," Murray said. "If it's going to be suggested that I am using gamesmanship by taking too long, then you can't be making noises like that on the court. It's annoying."
Berlocq said he didn't realize the sound would bother Murray.
"Well, yeah, but that's what all of the real grunters say," the Scotsman retorted. No. 6 Tomas Berdych beat No. 10 Richard Gasquet 6-1, 7-5; and Kevin Anderson defeated No. 13 Giles Simon 6-3, 1-6, 6-4.