It’s quarterfinal time at the 2023 BNP Paribas Open! The bottom half of the men’s draw will settle on its semifinalists on Wednesday in Stadium 1 as Frances Tiafoe battles Cameron Norrie and Daniil Medvedev takes on Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.
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A smattering of rain swept in to halt Frances Tiafoe‘s quarterfinal with Cameron Norrie in the second game of Wednesday’s quarterfinal clash. Not to worry. Soon the sun would be shining brightly and so would the 25-year-old’s electric game.
Once the shower passed, the 14th-seeded American was off to the races, cruising to a relatively comfortable 6-4, 6-4 victory over 2021 BNP Paribas Open champion Cameron Norrie.
“Super happy about today,” Tiafoe told the crowd after snapping Norrie’s eight-match winning streak. “I’ve been playing really well all week – let’s keep it going.”
Norrie had taken his previous meeting with Tiafoe at Delray Beach in 2021, but he was befuddled by Tiafoe on Wednesday, as the American hugged the baseline and used his crosscourt backhand to draw errors from Norrie’s forehand with regularity over the course of the contest.
“I played really quick, really close to the baseline and I was pressuring him a lot,” Tiafoe said of his approach to facing the No.10-seeded Brit. “I didn’t allow him to extend points and I was being super active with my feet, being really aggressive – it worked out today.”
Normally rock-solid off the ground, Norrie was kept off balance by Tiafoe’s patient, probing attack. The American didn’t miss the mark often – he hit 22 winners against just nine unforced errors – and he closed his victory with a love hold, sealing a spot in his first Masters 1000 semifinal.
Tiafoe, who entered the main draw with a 4-6 lifetime record at Indian Wells, has won all eight sets he has played through four matches. He will face either Daniil Medvedev or Alejandro Davidovich Fokina for a spot in the Indian Wells final.
Daniil Medvedev entered Wednesday’s quarterfinal with first-time BNP Paribas Open quarterfinalist Alejandro Davidovich Fokina under an injury cloud. He left it victorious, just has he has done in every single match he has played since the month of February began.
The No.5 seed battled past Davidovich Fokina, 6-3, 7-5, in a swirly Stadium 1, to book a semifinal clash with 14th-seeded Tiafoe.
Make it 18 straight, and 23-2 on the season for Medvedev.
Less than 24 hours ago, after injuring his ankle in the backcourt of his round of 16 match on Tuesday afternoon, Medvedev had limped into the press room after his three-set victory over Alexander Zverev and told reporters that he would try his best to take the court on Wednesday. When he struggled out of his chair and limped out of the press room, it was hard to imagine him taking the court against Davidovich Fokina.
Never underestimate the heart of a champion. Medvedev was his usual self once the match began, compartmentalizing the pain as he zipped around the court and slid over the suspect right ankle several times, as if nothing had ever been wrong.
“When I warmed up it was hurting pretty bad,” Medvedev confessed after the match. “But I knew I was gonna play.”
Medvedev would soon have other problems. During a particularly stressful sixth game in the second set he tumbled on the court and opened a cut on his thumb that would require medical assistance. Play resumed after a three-minute medical timeout with Medvedev sporting a bandaged thumb. Davidovich Fokina closed out the game in two points to level at three-all.
The Spaniard, who hit 24 winners against 24 unforced errors in the contest, stayed level until he served at 5-5 in the second set, at which point he was broken at love to allow Medvedev to serve for the win.
In total Davidovich Fokina lost 12 of the final 14 points – a disappointing end to a great run in the California desert.
The artful Spaniard played well at times, serving to spots, cracking fast-paced groundstrokes, and finishing points off exquisitely at the net with touch volleys, but he wasn’t able to execute consistently enough against rock-solid Medvedev, who locked things down from his baseline, hitting 24 winners against 12 unforced errors, and also got to the net when the situation called for it.
In the end it was another shining victory for Medvedev. Mind over matter, personified. He had never been beyond the round of 16 at Indian Wells prior to this week, and he has made his way through to the last four this year despite very difficult circumstances.