And then there were eight… On Wednesday at the BNP Paribas Open, tennis’ version of March Madness continues with bottom-half quarterfinal action. With singles draws whittled down to 8 on both the men’s and the women’s side, coveted semifinal slots are on the line.
Read on for a bite-sized preview of each mouthwatering Wednesday matchup…
Two players that have been through their share of drama at this year’s BNP Paribas will meet up for a heavily anticipated quarterfinal battle in Wednesday’s night session on Stadium 1. Revenge will certainly be on Petra Kvitova’s mind when she squares off with No.7-seeded Sakkari. She was blown out of the water by the Greek in the third round at Indian Wells last year, 6-3, 6-0.
In total, Sakkari has won four of the pair’s seven matches, including their last two matches.
The Greek has rallied from a set down in two of her three wins this year, and captured her most recent clash with Karolina Pliskova in three sets. Pliskova, meanwhile, inched past Jessica Pegula in one of the best matches of the tournament on Tuesday, saving four match points to win in a third-set tiebreak.
Expect more drama on Wednesday night.
This heavily anticipated clash between Top 10 stalwarts will be a study in contrast, with sixth-seeded Gauff playing the patient protagonist, biding her time and looking to extend points against her hard-hitting opponent. Meanwhile, high-flying Sabalenka, who improved to 15-1 on the season with her win over Barbora Krejcikova on Tuesday, will look to impose herself and get the young American moving on a string.
It may come down to who serves – and executes – best.
A lot will depend on how No.5-seeded Medvedev turns up on Wednesday. Playing the day after a three hour and 17-minute battle is one thing. Doing it after turning an ankle and likely feeling the after effects is another. Add to the equation a fully fit and firing Davidovich Fokina, who is riding on emotion after reaching his first hard court Masters 1000 quarterfinal, and it gets more complicated for Medvedev and his 17-match wining streak.
Cameron Norrie keeps on keepin’ on at the BNP Paribas Open. The 2021 champion has quietly progressed through the draw, reaching his third consecutive quarterfinal in the California desert with a 6-2, 6-4 victory over Andrey Rublev on Tuesday. The British No.1, a consummate pro if there ever was one, has made himself at home at Indian wells over the last three seasons, compiling a 12-1 record since he started his 2021 title run.
Unfortunately for Norrie, he’ll likely feel like an outsider on Stadium 1 on Wednesday when he faces 14th-seeded Frances Tiafoe with a spot in the semifinals on the line.
Tiafoe locked down a 6-4 6-4 victory over Alejandro Tabilo on Wednesday, and “Big Foe” always brings his best tennis on the big stage.