Novak Djokovic wasn't going to suffer the same fate as Rafael Nadal and Maria Sharapova.
The defending 2013 BNP Paribas Open champions were both ousted from the third round on Monday night, but Djokovic, who was victorious at Indian Wells in both 2008 and 2011, managed to avoid the recent run of upsets against unseeded Alejandro Gonzalez on Tuesday.
Of course, Djoker's victory wasn't always a sure thing—in fact, it turned into a decidedly rare contest, as ATPWorldTour.com's Josh Meiseles noted:
How rare was Gonzalez's accomplishment of taking a set from Djokovic? Only 4 players ranked 70+ had won a hard court set v. Novak since 2010— Josh Meiseles (@jmeistennis) March 12, 2014
The opening set went exactly as would be imagined for a match between a six-time major winner and a 25-year-old who never won a tour-level match before arriving in California. Djokovic broke the Colombian twice, faced zero break points of his own and raced to a 6-1 victory. Everyone paying attention proceeded to turn off their televisions.
But Djoker let his foot off the gas pedal, allowing Gonzalez a 6-3 second-set victory before breaking two more times in the third—which included a seven-deuce game that the Serb closed with a gorgeous drop-shot winner—to roll to the victory.
After the match, he talked about his affection for the Masters in the desert, via the tournament's Twitter feed:
Djokovic gets the always-tough Marin Cilic in the fourth round.
Let's take a look at how everyone else fared on Tuesday, as well as a look forward to the Day 7 matches.
Day 6 Scores
|Men's 3rd Round|
|Fernando Verdasco (30)||Richard Gasquet (8)||7-6(5), 6-1|
|Ernests Gulbis (20)||Grigor Dimitrov (15)||2-6, 6-1, 7-5|
|Roberto Bautistaagut||Jarkko Nieminen||6-2, 4-6, 7-6(6)|
|Feliciano Lopez||Mikhail Kukushkin||1-6, 6-3, 6-4|
|Marin Cilic (24)||Tommy Robredo (16)||6-4, 6-3|
|Novak Djokovic (2)||Alejandro Gonzalez||6-1, 3-6, 6-1|
|John Isner (12)||Yen-Hsun Lu||6-4, 6-3|
|Julien Benneteau||Dominic Thiem||7-6(4), 6-3|
|Women's 4th Round|
|Dominika Cibulkova (12)||Petra Kvitova (8)||6-3, 6-2|
|Flavia Pennetta (20)||Camila Giorgi||6-2, 6-1|
|Simona Halep (6)||Eugenie Bouchard (18)||6-2, 1-6, 6-4|
|Casey Dellacqua||Lauren Davis||Retirement|
|Jelena Jankovic (7)||Caroline Wozniacki (10)||6-3, 6-1|
|Agnieszka Radwanska (2)||Alize Cornet (22)||7-5, 6-3|
|Sloane Stephens (17)||Alisa Kleybanova||6-3, 7-5|
|Li Na (1)||Aleksandra Wozniak||6-1, 6-4|
Defending champions haven't been safe at tennis' desert palace. Nadal, Sharapova and Victoria Azarenka lost, Roger Federer needed a pair of tiebreaks to get past Dmitry Tursunov on Monday and then Djokovic surprisingly dropped a set.
There were two more champs in action on Tuesday, and one was guaranteed to join the loser's ranks—because they were playing each other.
In a rematch of the 2010 Indian Wells final, Jelena Jankovic routed Caroline Wozniacki with ease, 6-3, 6-1.
"I kind of found my way, found my rhythm, and I was striking the ball very well out there and took control of the points," Jankovic told reporters after the match, via the Associated Press. "I just did not let her play what she plays. That was very important."
Jankovic will face No. 2 seed Agnieszka Radwanska, who beat Alize Cornet in straight sets, in the quarterfinals.
Elsewhere in the women's bracket, No. 1 seed Li Na avoided the upset bug that has been going around Indian Wells and knocked off Aleksandra Wozniak in straight sets, 6-1, 6-4.
However, it wasn't as easy as a straight-set victory would seem on paper.
It took Na 11 match points to finally put the Canadian away. Na commented on the proceedings, via Ben Rothenberg of The New York Times:
"Welcome to crazy women's tennis tour." -Li Na on blowing 10 match points. She isn't wrong. #BNPPO14— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) March 12, 2014
Na's victory sets up an Australian Open final rematch with Dominika Cibulkova. Na looked dominant in victory in that matchup, winning the second set 6-0 after taking the first set in a tiebreaker. If she can set the tone early, expect another win for the No. 1 ranked player.
Over on the men's side, while Djokovic was able to hang on, there were a number of other upsets.
We've got ourselves a thrilling, unpredictable tournament on our hands.
Day 7 Schedule
|2 p.m. ET Start|
|Milos Raonic (10)||vs.||Andy Murray (5)||ATP Round 4|
|Simona Halep (6)||vs.||Casey Dellacqua||WTA Quarters|
|Stanislas Wawrinka (3)||vs.||Kevin Anderson (17)||ATP Round 4|
|Tommy Haas (11)||vs.||Roger Federer (7)||ATP Round 4|
|Not Before 10 p.m. ET|
|Jelena Jankovic||vs.||Agnieszka Radwanska||WTA Quarters|
|Not Before 11:30 p.m. ET|
|Marin Cilic (24)||vs.||Novak Djokovic||ATP Round 4|
Note: You can find the complete schedule of play for Wednesday here, courtesy of BNPParibasOpen.com.