Stefanos Tsitsipas and Feliciano Lopez have been a difficult duo to stop on the doubles court of late. The newly formed tandem soared to the Acapulco title last month, saving five match points and forming some excellent chemistry along the way.
But they couldn’t match the high intensity play of 2018 champions John Isner and Jack Sock on Wednesday night in Stadium 2.
In front of an electric crowd the American duo edged Tsitsipas and Lopez, 7-5, 6-4, to book a semifinal match with Alexander Zverev and Andrey Golubev.
Making the most of their WC 👊🇺🇸👊@JohnIsner and @JackSock92 defeat Tsitsipas/Lopez 7-5 6-4 to reach the semi-finals!#IndianWells pic.twitter.com/ubiKWViLBo
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) March 17, 2022
What thrilled 36-year-old Isner most about the victory?
“I was most thrilled with how Jack played,” Isner said.
Both sets were extremely close but Isner and Sock were able to take advantage of a few late dips on the other side of the net to take charge. Tsitsipas had two game points on his serve at 5-5, 40-15 in the first set but double-faulted for 30-40. Isner and Sock pounced on the opportunity, taking the next two points to break for 6-5.
Sock served out the set to give the Americans the one set lead.
Tsitsipas and Lopez were down a break in the second set, and seemingly headed to defeat, but they refused to quit. They broke Isner, Lopez making a great reflex volley on deciding point to seal the sixth game, tying the score at three-all.
At 4-4 the Americans cracked open another window, racing out to 0-40 with Lopez serving, and converted their third break point to earn a chance to serve out the victory.
Isner served out the contest to love, Sock smashing a winner into the open court to put the exclamation point on another strong statement from the distinguished duo.
Zverev and Golubev Reach Semis
Alexander Zverev may have been knocked out of the singles draw by Tommy Paul, but the German took his revenge on the American on the doubles draw, pairing with Kazakhstan’s Andrey Golubev to knock out Paul and Taylor Fritz, 6-4, 7-6(3).
Zoning Muhammad and Shibahara Reach Semis with Win over McCoco
Asia Muhammad has forgotten how to lose.
The 30-year-old American, paired with Japan’s Ena Shibahara in the women’s doubles draw at Indian Wells, stretched her personal winning streak to 26 matches across all levels on Wednesday.
Muhammad and Shibahara battled past Coco Gauff and Caty McNally, the No.3 seeds, 6-2, 1-6, 10-7, to reach the semifinals in their first event together. The American started her post-match interview by praising the American youngsters.
Semis secured 😁
Muhammad/Shibahara knock out Gauff/McNally 6-2, 1-6, 10-7 to reach the final four#IndianWells pic.twitter.com/SrdSEr8Gxa
— BNP Paribas Open (@BNPPARIBASOPEN) March 16, 2022
“Katy and Coco are such a tough team – I mean how exciting is it that they are the future of American tennis? I don’t know about you guys but I’m excited about that,” Muhammad said on court after the victory.
It has been a remarkable run for Muhammad, who has won three ITF singles titles and two ITF doubles titles since the beginning of February.
After a quick start, Muhammad and Shibahara, seeded seventh this week, saw their momentum dissipate in the second set (6-1) and found themselves down 3-1 and 4-2 in the match tiebreak. They rallied to win seven of the next nine points to get to their first match point. Two points later Shibahara followed up a booming Muhammad serve by converting a crisp volley winner into the open court to clinch the victory.
“At the beginning of the second, scoreboard-wise we were down like 4-1 or 5-1, but there were so many deuce points,” Muhammad said. “We just had to try and stay really confident and just keep focusing on our end, because they definitely picked up their level – we just tried to stay positive.”
Muhammad and Shibahara will move on to face the fifth-seeded tandem of Gabriela Dabrowski of Canada and Giuliana Olmos of Mexico for a spot in the final. Shibahara, the current world No. 5, is extremely jazzed to be flanking Muhammad this week in California.
“I was really happy that she asked me to play,” said Shibahara. “I was looking [for a partner]. We’ve played against each other so many times and I know she’s such an amazing player, and she’s also one of the nicest players to play with, so I’m just having such a fun time.”
“If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em,” said Muhammad, with a laugh.