It doesn’t get much better in tennis than the BNP Paribas Open in terms of non-Grand Slam events.
Fans have been treated to a number of thrilling matches, many of which ended in upsets in the early stages. With Day 8 officially in the books, we are steamrolling toward the men’s and women’s singles championships.
While there have been a number of highly seeded players who bowed out of the tournament, Thursday's primary favorites were able to avoid the upset bug.
Let’s take a glance at the complete list of Day 8 results:
|No. 7 Roger Federer (Switzerland)||No. 17 Kevin Anderson (South Africa)||7-5, 6-1|
|No. 28 Alexandr Dolgopolov (Ukraine)||No. 10 Milos Raonic (Canada)||6-3, 6-4|
|No. 1 Li Na (China)||No. 12 Dominika Cibulkova (Slovakia)||6-3, 4-6, 6-3|
|No. 20 Flavia Pennetta (Italy)||No. 17 Sloane Stephens (United States)||6-4, 5-7, 6-4|
|Grace Baraniak (United States)||Terry Wood (United States)||7-6, 6-4|
|Larry Leroy (United States)||Nick Chevrefils (United States)||6-2, 6-1|
|Mike Mallet (United States)||Eul Bongcaras (United States)||6-4, 6-3|
|Jaime Rojas (United States)||Clai Perreras (United States)||6-2, 6-3|
Here is a look at the notable matchups for Day 9:
|1||No. 2 Novak Djokovic||Julien Benneteau||Not before 4:30 p.m.|
|1||No. 12 John Isner||No. 20 Ernests Gulbis||Not before 6:30 p.m.|
|1||No. 6 Simona Halep||No. 2 Agnieszka Radwanska||Not before 9:30 p.m.|
|1||No. 1 Li Na||No. 20 Flavia Pennetta||Not before 11:30 p.m.|
With Day 9 right around the corner, it is worth revisiting the marquee matchups from Day 8.
Roger Federer Continues His Indian Wells Dominance
Roger Federer has not dropped a set in his four matches at the BNP Paribas Open, and his brilliance was yet again on full display against Kevin Anderson.
Federer handled the South African challenger in straight sets to the tune of 7-5, 6-1. While the first set tested the former World No. 1, Federer dispatched Anderson with ease in set No. 2 to secure a spot in the semifinals.
Perhaps most impressively, Anderson did not even break Federer’s serve one time throughout the match.
Will Roger Federer win the BNP Paribas Open?
Looking forward, it is difficult to envision Federer dropping his semifinals match against Alexandr Dolgopolov if he continues to serve this well. Federer has controlled every one of his matches because of his efficient serving, which will put even more pressure on Dolgopolov to convert on his own service games.
Even if Dolgopolov loses to Federer, the Ukrainian will find himself in the Top 25 of the ATP rankings next week. He discussed what his ascent up the ratings meant, via Beth Harris of the Associated Press:
Obviously if you're ranked 20, 30, 40 you're a good enough player. To get in the top 10 you just need all those small things to be together and to be solid. It's really small differences from the players that are top 10 and top 50. I don't think I changed a lot and it's working good; I'm staying healthy; I'm doing all the things I did but a little bit better.
It will certainly be an entertaining semifinal showdown.
Li Na Advances
The top seed on the women’s side of the draw will be heading to the semifinals as well.
Li Na outlasted Dominika Cibulkova in three sets to the tune of 6-3, 4-6, 6-3. It was a rematch of the Australian Open championship, in which Na won her second Grand Slam title.
Thursday’s match didn't come easy for Na though. The second set, in which she almost rallied back from a 5-1 deficit, was the first one she has dropped in four matches. She would eventually prevail in the third set, but Cibulkova put a scare into the top seed.
Cibulkova lamented her missed opportunities, via Harris of the Associated Press:
I'm disappointed I didn't win because I had my chances. These are chances you have to take with such a player. My serve was just not there. Maybe I tried to go for too much. Her serve was much better than mine.
Na will play Flavia Pennetta in the semifinal matchup.
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