Wednesday, March 13, 2019 - Rafael Nadal plays Filip Krajinovic in the 4th round of the BNP Paribas Open in Stadium 1 at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, California. (Michael Cummo/BNP Paribas Open)
The day after a slew of shocking upsets, during which both the men’s and women’s No. 1 seeds faltered in Tennis Paradise, future hall-of-famers Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal made sure not to suffer a similar fate. The world No. 2 and No. 4 made quick work of their opponents, restoring a semblance of order to the field. In other ATP action, surprising results continued on as underdogs Hubert Hurkacz and Karen Khachanov triumphed over higher-seeded opposition. On a picturesque day in Indian Wells, the 2019 BNP Paribas Open men’s quarterfinals have taken shape.
In the day’s opening match on Stadium 1, Rafael Nadal trounced surprise fourth-rounder Filip Krajinovic, 6-3, 6-4. While the Serbian will surely be pleased with his 5-match win streak in the desert, he was no match for the world No. 2 on Wednesday. After one hour, 26 minutes, seven aces and a barrage of forehand winners, the Spaniard stamped his ticket into the quarterfinals.
Nadal has looked better than ever throughout his three opening matches, dropping no more than four games on his way to dominating victories. While he’s enjoyed what most would consider a relatively easy road so far, his quarters opponent, World No. 13 Khachanov, is a significant step up in competition.
Later in the afternoon, it was Roger Federer’s turn to hold court in a matchup he was expected to win. That being said, with tournament favorites Novak Djokovic and Naomi Osaka downed by lesser competition just one day before, an increased air of doubt shrouded the matchup inside of Stadium 1. The 20-time Grand Slam singles titlist quickly put those fears to rest, as he beat Britain’s Kyle Edmund in a 6-1, 6-4 rout that took barely over an hour to complete. The Swiss channeled his usual brilliance; uncorking six aces while saving all seven of Edmund’s break point opportunities.
Standing in the way of him and a semifinal berth is Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz, who clinched his matchup with Federer with a stunning 7-6(3), 2-6, 6-3 triumph over world No. 25 Denis Shapovalov. Poland’s Hurkacz has strung together one of the most surprising runs of the tournament, claiming upset victories over Lucas Pouille (No. 28), Kei Nishikori (No. 6) and Shapovalov. If he can continue his Cinderella run with a victory over the Swiss Maestro, Hurkacz will ascend up the ATP rankings and solidify himself as a legitimate contender.
Elsewhere, No. 13 Karen Khachanov ousted No. 9 John Isner in a battle between two of the sport’s best. While the perennial ATP top 15’ers are threats to make a deep run in any tournament they enter, it was Khachanov who emerged on Wednesday. Beating Isner for the fourth consecutive time, the Russian won 79% (26/33) of his first serve points to take a 6-4, 7-6(1) victory. He’ll need his A-game once again, as he next meets Rafael Nadal with a spot in the semifinals on the line.