Nadal, Djokovic reach Indian Wells 4th round

Novak Djokovic maintained his title defense by handling Tommy Haas of Germany 6-2, 7-6 (1) to ease into the fourth round of the BNP Paribas Open on Tuesday.

sports Updated: Mar 18, 2009 08:18 IST

Novak Djokovic maintained his title defense by handling Tommy Haas of Germany 6-2, 7-6 (1) to ease into the fourth round of the BNP Paribas Open on Tuesday.

Haas had reached the quarterfinals for the last two years but third-seeded Djokovic did enough in the second set to stay on top and swept the last seven points of the tiebreaker.

"I'm still finding the rhythm and everything," Djokovic said. "I don't want to put any extra pressure on myself. "I'm playing a very solid game for now and saving lots of energy and being focused, not underestimating my opponents and going step by step. The game, for now, it's quite fine."

He was on course for a repeat semifinal with top-seeded Rafael Nadal, who advanced with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Dmitry Tursunov. Nadal's powerful groundstrokes kept the Russian off-balance and on the run, and Tursunov had troubles of his own, making 37 unforced errors.

Nadal next plays Argentine star David Nalbandian, who has a 2-0 record against the Spaniard. Nalbandian withstood 11 aces from Viktor Troicki of Serbia to win 6-4, 6-2.

Another Argentine advanced, sixth-seeded Juan Martin del Potro, who had to sweat through a tight third set featuring four breaks of serves against Jurgen Melzer of Austria before cruising through the tiebreaker to win 6-2, 2-6, 7-6 (2).

Del Potro, who won four consecutive tournaments last year, will meet John Isner after the American wild card accounted for the struggling Marat Safin 6-4, 6-4.

In the women's field, Vera Zvonareva's yearlong surge took her past Li Na 6-4, 6-4 and back into quarterfinals.

Zvonareva, the second-highest seed left at No. 4, had lost to Li in the quarterfinals here two years ago. But since then, she'd beaten Li twice, including for the singles bronze medal at the Beijing Olympics. On Tuesday, Zvonareva converted all three of her break chances against the unseeded Chinese while Li, who'd removed Amelie Mauresmo and Patty Schnyder, missed three break points in the second set.

The Russian has reached the quarterfinals at Indian Wells for the fourth time in five visits, but has never advanced further. In her path will be a first-time match with ninth-seeded Caroline Wozniacki, who beat Polish wild card Urszula Radwanska 7-5, 6-3. Radwanska's older sister, seventh-seeded Agnieszka, won against Agnes Szavay of Hungary 6-0, 5-7, 6-3.

Zvonareva played in the most finals last year eight and held down a top-10 ranking. Then she reached her first Grand Slam semifinals at the Australian Open, cracked the top five, and followed that with the title at Pattaya City, Thailand last month.

The 18-year-old Wozniacki, the first Danish woman to win a singles title, was through to her fifth quarterfinals of the year. Top-seeded Dinara Safina put away American veteran Jill Craybas 7-5, 6-4 for the sixth time in six meetings, and faced eighth-seeded Victoria Azarenka of Belarus next. Azarenka, who won the singles and doubles titles at Memphis last month, beat Shahar Peer of Israel 7-5, 6-4.

Russian teen Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova achieved her best career result by reaching the quarterfinals, leading Nuria Llagostera Vives 6-3, 3-0 when the Spaniard retired with a left hip strain. The 17-year-old Pavlyuchenkova beat second-seeded Jelena Jankovic in the previous round.

First Published: Mar 18, 2009 08:14 IST