2008 ATP-WTA Tour Pacific Life Open - At The Indian Wells Tennis Garden - Day 6
Story By Matt Osias
FISH CATCHES NALBANDIAN OFF GUARD, HAAS WITHDRAWS
Unseeded American Mardy Fish has been on a roll at the right time, reaching his first Pac Life Open semifinal with a 6-3, 6-7(5), 7-6(4) victory over the No. 7 seeded Argentine David Nalbandian.
Fish nearly gave away the contest, failing to convert on his two match points at 5-4 in the third set. Nalbandian went up a break in the next game, but was also unsuccessful, double faulting on Fish’s fifth break point chance of the set, leveling the set at 6-6 and setting up a tiebreak.
The crucial point in the breaker was at 4-4, when Fish pulled away, hitting three consecutive forehands for winners, then sealing the deal with an overhead slam.
“With someone like David’s ability to come back and ability to win tight matches, that one feels just as good as the win over Hewitt,” Fish said. “You have to walk out there and you have to feel like you can beat him. I feel like I can beat anybody right now. I feel like I can win tight matches against really high quality players who are really tough, in tie-breaks and third sets and things like that, and that gives you a lot of confidence.”
Fish is somewhat of the odd man out in the men’s final foursome; he is the No. 98 player in the world entering the tournament, though the top 3 in the world are the other occupants of the semi’s
“I guess the only thing you can go by is what your ranking is. I obviously don’t feel like I’m the 98th-ranked player in the world, or playing like that. I’ve got a lot of self-confidence,” Fish said.
Waiting in the shadows of Stadium Court will be the amazing Roger Federer, who has quietly moved his way into the semis, due to the quarterfinal withdrawal of Tommy Haas (sinus infection). Federer is a perfect 5-0 against Fish.
“I deeply regret that I have to withdraw from the Pacific Life Open,” said Haas. “I was playing my best tennis of the season, and was looking forward to playing Roger Federer this afternoon. I am sure the tennis will be incredible this weekend, and look forward to returning next year.”
WOMEN’S FINAL SET
Serbian No. 1 seed Ana Ivanovic and second seeded Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova will face off in the desert final after each won their semifinal matches against their respective countrywomen.
Kuznetsova fought off the perfect play of No. 4 Maria Sharapova’s 6-3, 5-7, 6-2 and Ivanovic rolled over No. 3 Jelena Jankovic 7-6(3), 6-3.
It will be the first time since
“There were a couple important points that could have changed the match, and she ended up winning them,” Sharapova said, “I think from that she gained confidence and kind of steamrolled after that in the third set.”
The loss was the first for Sharapova in 18 matches.
In the other semifinal, Ivanovic showed why she is the No. 1 seed; after winning the tight opening set in a tie-break the 20-year-old cruised through the second, converting on both her break point opportunities. The win sent Ivanovic to her ninth career WTA final.
“Every final you make, it’s always very special,” Ivanovic said. “This is a big tournament. I’m really proud the way I played this week. I’m definitely very excited to be in final and looking forward to that match.
Stanford ATP Doubles Race leaders Jonathan Erlich and Andy Ram, the No. 4 seeds, defeated No. 3 seeds Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjic 6-4, 6-4 to clinch their 12th title as a duo.
“It feels great to have won our second Masters Series title,” Erlich said. “Obviously the first Masters Series is a little more emotional. But this is a title as important as our first one. For our first Masters Series title we defeated the Bryans which was a great confidence boost for our careers.”
Mardy Fish – USA