Chalk held up for the most part on Friday at the 2014 BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells, Calif.
Although upsets had stolen the show heading into the weekend, a majority of Friday's matchups unfolded as expected. Novak Djokovic and John Isner both advanced in remaining men's quarterfinal action, while top seed Agnieszka Radwanska prevailed in the first women's semifinal. Friday's stunner came late when 20th-seeded Italian Flavia Pennetta shocked first-seeded Li Na on center court, per Sports Illustrated's Beyond the Baseline on Twitter:
Flavia Pennetta pulls off the the upset, knocks out top seed Li Na 76 63 to make the final of Indian Wells to play Radwanska. #bnppo14— Beyond The Baseline (@SI_BTBaseline) March 15, 2014
The two women traded breaks throughout, but it was Pennetta who capitalized on her opportunities when it mattered most.
The two doubles matches were without drama as well, with the second-seeded men's tandem of Alexander Peya and Bruno Soares knocking off unseeded Swiss duo Roger Federer and Stanislas Wawrinka to reach Saturday's men's doubles final.
On Stadium 2, the top-seeded women's pair of Su-Wei Hsieh and Shuai Peng knocked out wild cards Svetlana Kuznetsova and Samantha Stosur to reach this weekend's women's double final.
With Day 9 in the books, let's get you up to speed on where we stand heading into the final weekend.
|Men's Singles Quarterfinals||(2) Novak Djokovic def. Julien Bennetau||6-1, 6-3|
|(12) John Isner def. (20) Ernests Gulbis||7-6 (4), 7-6 (3)|
|Women's Singles Semifinals||(20) Flavia Pennetta def. (1) Li Na||7-6 (5), 6-3|
|(2) Agnieszka Radwanska def. (6) Simona Halep||6-3, 6-4|
|Men's Doubles Semifinal||(2) Alexander Peya/Bruno Soares def. Roger Federer/Stanislas Wawrinka||6-4, 6-1|
|Women's Doubles Semifinal||(1) Su-Wei Hsieh/Shuai Peng def. Svetlana Kuznetsova/Samantha Stosur||3-6, 7-6 (5), 10-2|
*Click here to view updated draws via BNPParibasOpen.com.
|Men's Singles Semifinals||Start Time (ET)||TV|
|(28) Alexandr Dolgopolov vs. (7) Roger Federer||3 p.m.||ESPNews|
|(12) John Isner vs. (2) Novak Djokovic||5 p.m.||ESPNews|
|Doubles Finals||Start Time (ET)||TV|
|(1) Su-Wei Hsieh/Shuai Peng vs. (5) Cara Black/Sania Mirza||7 p.m.||N/A|
|(1) Bob Bryan/Mike Bryan vs. (2) Alexander Peya/Bruno Soares||8:30 p.m.||Tennis Channel|
Djokovic, Isner Advance
Two players familiar with this stage, Djokovic and Isner each won their quarterfinal clashes on Friday, setting up an intriguing semifinal match on Saturday afternoon.
World No. 2 Djokovic was on top of his game in a routine straight-sets win over Frenchman Julien Benneteau, dropping just three games en route to his first comfortable win of the tournament. Afterward, the two-time champion expressed optimism ahead of the weekend, per the Associated Press via USA Today:
"I'm on the right path and playing semifinals, which is always of course a challenge and a good result. But I want to try to go as far as I can."
Meanwhile, Isner displayed nerves of steel in a much more dramatic straight-sets win over 20th-seeded Latvian Ernests Gulbis. Both sets required a tiebreak, and it was the 6'10" American coming through in both extra sessions to secure the victory.
Isner talked about his key advantage heading into the semifinals, per the Associated Press via USA Today: "I had all my energy going for me. I know I have those serves in my arsenal. It's just a matter of me pulling them out and I went for them."
Isner and Djokovic will meet for the seventh time on Saturday. The 26-year-old Serb leads the all-time head-to-head 4-2 but lost their only meeting at Indian Wells in 2012. That match went the distance, with Isner winning two tiebreaks to advance to the tournament final.
Radwanska, Pennetta Reach Women's Final
Pennetta found a way to spring Friday's only upset, taking away Li's confidence early and breaking the world No. 2 multiple times en route to a stunning straight-sets win.
Li's defeat was highlighted by a few costly errors, including eight double-faults in the opening set. The final double-fault, which came with Li trailing 6-5 in the opening tiebreak, handed Pennetta the first set and appeared to all but destroy the Chinese veteran's confidence, per SI's Beyond the Baseline on Twitter:
Li Na: 52 unforced errors in two sets, nine double-faults. Eek.— Beyond The Baseline (@SI_BTBaseline) March 15, 2014
The second set was up for grabs until Pennetta broke Li for a second time in the frame to pull ahead 5-3. She would serve out the match to lock up a berth in the final.
Earlier in the evening, Radwanska jumped out to an early advantage over Simona Halep, breaking the Romanian twice to take a 4-0 lead in the opening set. Halep would earn a break back but wasn't able to get back in the mix, dropping the opening set.
The two players would each break serve in the second set as well, but it was the Pole who had all the answers, breaking serve twice en route to a 6-4 triumph. Both players took full advantage of their break point opportunities on Friday, combining to convert 6-of-10, but Radwanska was able to maximize on her serve, winning 62 percent of her total service points for the match compared to 52 percent for Halep.
The match, although over quickly, was certainly one of the more appealing of the day, as The New York Times' Ben Rothenberg indicated on Twitter:
No2 Agnieszka Radwanska beats No6 Simona Halep 6-3, 6-4 in a stylistically pleasing semifinal. All craft. Li-Pennetta up next. #BNPPO14— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) March 15, 2014
Looking ahead to Sunday, Radwanska and Pennetta have met six times in the past, with the Pole leading the head-to-head 4-2. But don't count out the Italian just yet. Remember, she cruised to a victory in their most recent match in Dubai earlier this year.
Still, the early advantage has to go to Radwanska, who posted a straight-sets win over Pennetta here two years ago and has appeared to take the next step in 2014 following her deep run in Australia in January.
Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter.