Tuesday, March 12, 2019 - Denis Shapovalov and Marin Cilic meet at net following their 3rd round match at the BNP Paribas Open in Stadium 3 at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, California. (Michael Cummo/BNP Paribas Open)
There must be something about the desert air. Or the scenic, mountain-laden vistas. Or the fact that the underdogs here just don’t want to leave Tennis Paradise. Either way, top seeds have been dropping like flies on a sunny Monday in the souther California desert.
Denis Shapovalov kept Canada’s strong run in Indian Wells going with a dominant yet impressively mature 6-4, 6-2 victory over No. 10 seed Marin Cilic. The 2014 US Open champion had his hands full with Shapovalov’s seemingly endless stream of hot-shot winners.
The 19-year-old’s searing forehands and leaping backhands shot past the Croat time and time again, as the latter became increasingly frustrated with his inability to forage any momentum off Shapovalov’s all-or-nothing style of play. After one hour, 18 minutes, five aces and a whopping 91 percent of first-serve points won, the Canadian secured his place in the round of 16.
Standing in the way of him and the quarter-finals is another upset story in the form of Hubert Hurkacz, who prevailed in a three-set stunner over No. 7 seed Kei Nishikori on Stadium 2 court to kick off the day. The 22-year-old Pole, who just last month recorded his first Top 10 victory, also over Nishikori, en route to the quarterfinals in Dubai, played with little fear against his esteemed Japanese opponent, registering a 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 win in just over two hours.
“[Wang] does like pace, so I tried not to give her a lot of that today,” said the Canadian. “She really didn’t like the high ball to her backhand, which I used a lot, and it helped. Also the slices, the angles, everything that I like to do worked well today.”
The shock results didn’t end there in Stadium 2. Talented Czech lefty (yes, another one) Marketa Vondrousova caused former BNP Paribas Open champion Simona Halep a world of trouble in Tennis Paradise. Using unreadable angles and mixing in her signature drop shot and the opportune moments, she outdid the No. 2 seed 6-2, 3-6, 6-2 to reach the first Premier Mandatory quarterfinal of her career.
When you give 100 per cent of what you have inside, losing hurts. But it's how you learn, how you rise again and how you play the next one that counts.
— Simona Halep (@Simona_Halep) March 13, 2019