British number one Cameron Norrie’s run in Indian Wells ends with an error-strewn defeat by American Frances Tiafoe in the quarter-finals.
British number one Cameron Norrie’s run in Indian Wells ends with an error-strewn defeat by American Frances Tiafoe in the quarter-finals.
Frances Tiafoe soared into his first ATP Masters 1000 semi-final at the BNP Paribas Open Wednesday when he overcame Cameron Norrie 6-4, 6-4 to end the Briton’s eight-match winning run.
After a rain-disrupted start, the clouds cleared and Tiafoe started to fire. The American combined flair with power, timing the ball cleanly and moving forward effectively to earn the 13th – and biggest – win of his season after one hour and 25 minutes.
Yet to drop a set & through to 1/2 final!@FTiafoe using all of the court 📐, especially on his forehand cross-court winning play.
— Tennis Insights (@tennis_insights) March 15, 2023
Tiafoe, who is making his seventh appearance in Indian Wells, will face fifth seed Daniil Medvedev or Spaniard Alejandro Davidovich Fokina for a place in Sunday’s championship match.
“I am really happy. I feel like when I am there mentally, I am one of the best players in the world,” Tiafoe said. “Today it is not just about getting to the semis, I am happy to beat a guy like that, who has been playing so well. To be able to come out here and beat him in straight sets, is relatively comfortable. At the end, it got a little tricky, but it was pretty one-way traffic and I am really happy with where my game is at.”
Norrie lifted the title in Rio de Janeiro last month and entered the quarter-final clash off the back of a victory against sixth seed Andrey Rublev. However, he was unable to replicate that level against Tiafoe, frequently dropping the ball short to allow the 14th seed to dictate.
“I am able to take the racquet out of players hands,” Tiafoe said. “I am crafty, I can move. I stay in the points and don’t give away too many free points. I have grown as a player tremendously and it is showing. I am really happy with my progress.”
With his win, Tiafoe has levelled his ATP Head2Head series against Norrie at 1-1. Tiafoe has yet to drop a set this fortnight in California, having downed Marcos Giron, Jason Kubler and Alejandro Tabilo. The 25-year-old, currently No. 14 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings, reached the semi-finals at the US Open last year and will aim to use the experience he gained in New York this week as he chases his second tour-level title.
Norrie was seeking his second crown in Indian Wells, having captured the biggest trophy of his career at the hard-court event in 2021. The 10th-seed is 21-4 on the season.
Thanasi Kokkinakis upset fifth seed Jiri Lehecka in straight sets Tuesday at the Arizona Tennis Classic. A few hours after the Aussie’s victory, he attended the Phoenix Suns vs. Milwaukee Bucks NBA game.
The 26-year-old has been a longtime fan of the NBA and most notably the Suns’ point guard Chris Paul.
“I pretty much follow Chris Paul wherever he goes. He’s my favourite player. Until he retires, I’ll stick with him,” Kokkinakis told ATPTour.com. “I saw him play when I was younger for Team USA and New Orleans and I just liked the way he played. He wasn’t someone that was a lot of people’s favourite player, I wanted to go a little different from the mainstream. He’s real smooth, real smart.
“We had the same agency a while back, so I’ve met him a few times. We keep in touch on social media sometimes. It’s pretty cool, he’s a nice guy. Him and Tracy McGrady were my favourites.”
Kokkinakis attended the game alongside his coach Todd Langman and countryman Alexei Popyrin, who also earned a first-round victory at the Phoenix Challenger on Tuesday. The Bucks, who are leading the NBA’s Eastern Conference, defeated the Suns 116-104. Milwaukee’s forward Giannis Antetokounmpo finished as the leading scorer with 36 points.
“Giannis actually followed me on Instagram in January, I think it was after the [Andy] Murray match [at the Australian Open],” Kokkinakis said. “One of my mates, Joe Ingles, is actually playing for Milwaukee as well. Pretty bummed that Kevin Durant is injured but still a lot of good players.”
From left to right: Alexei Popyrin, Thanasi Kokkinakis, Joe Ingles, Todd Langman. Credit: Bianca Giannone
A passionate and fiery player on the court, Kokkinakis likes to stay relaxed away from tennis and enjoy any downtime he gets.
“It’s been a while since I’ve been to an NBA game, I went around the Miami Open last year,” Kokkinakis said. “The tennis tour is pretty full on, so whenever we get a bit of spare time and go out and do something, I try to make the most of it. For me, trying to do as many things off court will make my time on tour better.”
In episode one of the Netflix series Break Point, fans are given an inside look of Kokkinakis and Nick Kyrgios’ doubles title run at the 2022 Australian Open. When the Aussies aren’t playing tennis, you can find the close mates enjoying their fair share of NBA banter.
“He’s a big Celtics fan, they have a legit shot this year. They’ve got a very good team,” Kokkinakis said. “I’m a big Suns fan, so they could match up in the NBA Finals. We talk a lot of [trash], we’ve roomed together for ages so we watch a lot of basketball together.”
Kokkinakis will next be in action Thursday at the Phoenix Challenger against Pavel Kotov or Jan-Lennard Struff.
This story was translated from ATPTour.com/es
Carlos Alcaraz produced yet another demonstration of his precociousness this week at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells. At 19, he has become the second fastest player to reach 100 wins among the 28 World No.1s in the history of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings.
ATPTour.com looks back at some of the defining moments of a career that is progressing at breakneck speed.
Dominant on every surface
In a sport that requires mastering different court types, with a range of different ball speeds, spins and bounces, Alcaraz has shown from the beginning of his career that he has a natural talent for adaptation. The Spaniard has managed to find solutions wherever he has played, at the very least finding the path to victory more often than his opponents on each surface.
Alcaraz’s stats en route to 100 wins do not lie. His records on clay (47-12), grass (4-2) and hard court (49-18) reflect a competitor who is capable of prevailing in any situation. With his attacking brand of tennis, Alcaraz protects the baseline with imperial speed, patrolling the court with an insatiable hunger.
He has also demonstrated his relentless prowess on both indoor (16-6) and outdoor courts (84-26).
Photo Credit: Peter Staples/ATP Tour
Resolute against the best
While this is a sport where constant periods of adaptation come with the territory, Alcaraz has been able to stand up to the best players from the outset. His youth has proven no barrier to earning himself a place amongst the best on Tour, experienced players with whom he shares the same goals.
Alcaraz has a positive record (12-9) against members of the Top 10 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, his closest rivals in the quest for the biggest
trophies on Tour.
One stat in particular sums up Alcaraz’s achievements so far. Of all the active players to have played at least 20 matches against Top 10 opponents, only Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray also hold a positive record.
The ultimate survivor
The strength of character of true champions is at its most evident when they are faced with great adversity. In a sport like tennis, when the scoreboard can flip in an instant, the mental strength required to find a way to win takes on an extra dimension.
Alcaraz has been able to play his best tennis when matches have forced him into extreme situations. His record in deciding sets is one of the best on Tour. Although his career is still young, 31 wins from 45 final sets make the Spaniard a true survivor when the chips are down.
A win rate of almost 70 per cent when it is do-or-die time shows that when it comes to digging deep and finding an extra gear, few players bounce back stronger than Juan Carlos Ferrero’s understudy.
Resistant in defeat
Alcaraz’s 100 wins on Tour prove he is a formidable winner. If we delve into the nature of his defeats, though, we also find a tremendous fighter. An athlete prepared to give his all on court, to either take the spoils or force his opponents to wrestle them from his clutches.
Of the 132 Tour matches throughout his career, Alcaraz has left the court without a set to his name in just 12. The Murcia native has learned to remain focused, regardless of the score, as shown by his 10 tour-level finals (7-3). In all three where he was unable to get his hands on the trophy, he ensured his opponents would have to endure the agony of a deciding set.
This competitive nature has become fiercer as his career has progressed. In the past 15 months, the Spaniard has only left a tennis court empty-handed on two occasions. Those matches came in the two tournaments following his first Grand Slam win in New York, and the huge emotional effort entailed in achieving his historic victory.
Prophet in his own land
With a special ability to connect with the spectators, Alcaraz has been able to repay his fans’ loyalty when he has had the opportunity to play at home. The Murcia native is already an icon for the Spanish crowds, who await his return in a few weeks with great anticipation.
Despite his short career, Alcaraz has already managed to claim two prestigious titles in Spain; the ATP 500 in Barcelona and the ATP Masters 1000 in Madrid. The defending champion at both events, Alcaraz has a 14-3 record on home soil, a figure that will surely grow in the coming years.
After an action-packed first seven days at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, the 2023 BNP Paribas Open has reached the quarter-final stage. On Wednesday, four of the remaining players in the draw will step out on Stadium 1 aiming to prolong their stay in ‘Tennis Paradise’.
They include the two players that own the most and second-most match wins on Tour, respectively, in 2023 — Daniil Medvedev (22 wins) and Cameron Norrie (21). They seek to add to their tallies on Wednesday in order to book a semi-final spot at the first ATP Masters 1000 event of the season.
Alejandro Davidovich Fokina stands in the way of fifth seed Medvedev, while one of two Americans left in the draw — Frances Tiafoe — will hope to ride home support to victory against Norrie. ATPTour.com previews the quarter-final matchups from the bottom half of the BNP Paribas Open draw.
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After notching his 150th tour-level victory in the fourth round against Alejandro Tabilo, Tiafoe will hope to hit more milestones as he prepares for his first quarter-final appearance in Indian Wells. The American has not dropped a set in his three matches this fortnight and, should he defeat Norrie for the first time on Wednesday, would equal his career-high of No. 14 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings.
Looking further ahead, the American could potentially crack the Top 10 for the first time by reaching his maiden ATP Masters 1000 championship match in California. However, the 25-year-old Tiafoe will not be looking past his clash with the in-form 2021 Indian Wells champion Norrie, who prevailed in the pair’s only previous ATP Head2Head meeting in 2021 in Delray Beach.
“He’s a former champ here and he’s getting everything out of his career,” said 2022 US Open semi-finalist Tiafoe of Norrie, who is on an eight-match winning streak. “I have nothing but respect for that guy. He’s putting some miles on those legs and getting a lot of wins while doing it.”
Norrie’s fourth-round victory against sixth seed Andrey Rublev was yet another triumph based on the Briton’s ability to absorb an opponent’s power and redirect it to his own advantage. Having also beaten Carlos Alcaraz (in the Rio de Janeiro final) during his current winning streak, the No. 12-ranked Norrie will aim to maintain his form against the free-hitting Tiafoe. Yet the American is confident he can give the home fans something to cheer in the opening act of Wednesday’s Stadium 1 schedule,
“We’re both in totally different places in our careers than last time we played,” said Tiafoe. “He’s playing some of the best tennis of his life and so am I. It should be a great show, and I’m going to be coming for him.”
Not even rolling his ankle in the second set of Tuesday’s fourth-round epic against Alexander Zverev could disrupt Medvedev’s winning habit. After having his ankle taped, the fifth seed returned to court to clinch his 17th consecutive tour-level win.
What is currently the second-longest winning streak of Medvedev’s career began a month ago with a Rotterdam win against Davidovich Fokina, and the Spaniard is now his quarter-final opponent in California. Medvedev’s three-set first-round win in the Netherlands was the catalyst for a red-hot run of form that has so far seen the 27-year-old lift three ATP Tour trophies in as many weeks (Rotterdam, Doha, Dubai) and now surge to his maiden quarter-final in Indian Wells.
Davidovich Fokina knows he will likely have to be at his fiery best if he wants to bookend Medvedev’s winning streak. Despite trailing 0-2 in his ATP Head2Head series against the fifth seed, the Spaniard can draw confidence from the fact he has claimed the opening set in both matches. His crowd-pleasing, all-action style could also play a role in drumming up support from the fans on Stadium 1 as the World No. 28 aims to reach his second Masters 1000 semi-final.
Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in fourth-round action on Tuesday. Photo Credit: Peter Staples/ATP Tour
Matching the World No. 6’s consistency from the baseline will nonetheless be a tough ask for Davidovich Fokina. As Medvedev’s 17 previous opponents have found out, putting balls past the 18-time tour-level titlist in this form is one of the biggest challenges on Tour. A stunning defensive smash past Zverev on Tuesday was the most recent demonstration of the sort of defiant defence the Spaniard can expect to face on Wednesday.
“Only thing I said to myself, just hit it full power, there is no other choice,” said Medvedev, when asked about his remarkable winner against Zverev. “I hit it crosscourt. It was amazing shot. Well, even if you try to practise it, you probably miss eight or nine out of 10… That’s great to have such shots in such important moments. That saves your life.”
The doubles quarter-final action also kicks off on Wednesday, when defending champions John Isner and Jack Sock seek to improve on their 10-1 record as a team in Indian Wells against Simone Bolelli and Fabio Fognini.
The American duo lifted the title in 2018 as well as last year in the California desert, and Sock has defeated Bolelli and Fognini in Tennis Paradise before — alongside Vasek Pospisil in the 2015 championship match.
In the final match of the day on Stadium 2, Doha champions Rohan Bopanna and Matthew Ebden take on Canadian singles stars Felix Auger-Aliassime and Denis Shapovalov. Of the four, only Bopanna has reached the semi-finals in Indian Wells before (in 2011).
Britain’s Emma Raducanu is out of Indian Wells after a straight-sets defeat by world number one Iga Swiatek in the fourth round.
Britain’s Jack Draper retires from his fourth-round match with Carlos Alcaraz at Indian Wells because of a stomach muscle injury.
With all eight fourth-round matches played on Tuesday at the BNP Paribas Open, Felix Auger-Aliassime and Tommy Paul might have saved the best for last. In one of two three-setters on the day — the other a thrilling win for Daniil Medvedev against Alexander Zverev — Auger-Aliassime fought off six match points to edge the American 3-6, 6-3, 7-6(6).
Next up for the eighth seed in his first Indian Wells quarter-final: a Thursday showdown with Carlos Alcaraz, who moved past Jack Draper via a second-set retirement earlier in the night.
With the stunning victory, Auger-Aliassime has now reached the quarters at each of the past six ATP Masters 1000 events, including his current run. He has advanced to that stage at seven of the nine Masters 1000s on the calendar, with Monte Carlo and Shanghai the lone exceptions.
“I always stayed positive, I kept my hopes up, I kept thinking, ‘OK, I’m not that far, I can come back,'” a relieved Auger-Aliassime said of his great escape against Paul. “At the end, when you’re down 0/40 on your serve, you know that… ‘OK if I win this first one, serve well, then again, then again, we’re back on even terms.’
“You just kind of take it one by one. It’s very cliche to say but it still works; that’s the proof. I’m really happy to get through. It’s a crazy feeling.”
In his first ATP Head2Head meeting with the surging American, Auger-Aliassime was battling from behind all evening, dropping the first set and trailing 0-3 in the third. After levelling the decider at 3-3, he stared down three match points at 0/40 while serving at 5-6.
Behind some timely big serves, the 22-year-old won five straight points to force a tie-break. But some inspired play from Paul brought up three more match points at 6/3 after he scored five straight points of his own.
Yet another five-point run ended the match, with the Canadian erasing the last of the six match points on return at 5/6.
The desert crowd played its part in the drama by providing endless support to both men, despite the match finishing near midnight local time. Even though he was facing an American, Auger-Aliassime felt the love from the many Canadians in the stands.
“It’s great. I thought it was 50/50,” he said of the support. “It was good for both of us, sometimes chanting for him, sometimes for me, and at the end they were just pushing both of us. They were thrilled by the suspense, by the show. But it’s so nice to come here every year and to see so many Canadian flags and support from back home.”
Before he takes on Alcaraz in the quarters, Auger-Aliassime will team up with countryman Denis Shapovalov in Wednesday’s doubles quarter-finals.
“It’s a special tournament so far,” said the Canadian, who will bid to improve to 3-0 in his ATP Head2Head with Alcaraz when he returns to the singles court.
Main-draw action at the Phoenix Challenger got off to a roaring start Tuesday as two of the Top-5 seeds were upset in the opening round. Australian Thanasi Kokkinakis ousted Jiri Lehecka before World No. 80 Nuno Borges got past second seed Diego Schwartzman under the lights at the Arizona Tennis Classic.
Fresh off an Indian Wells clash against World No. 2 Carlos Alcaraz, Kokkinakis made the trip to Arizona after falling to the Spaniard. On Tuesday, the 26-year-old won 37 of 45 first serve points to defeat fifth seed Lehecka 7-6(5), 6-4.
“Stoked to get it done,” Kokkinakis said. “He’s going to be a very good player for years to come. He’s explosive, has a lot of firepower, very athletic. He’s playing some great tennis this year, he made the quarter-finals at the Australian Open. I had to kind of weather the storm, the conditions are very slow here. I just tried to stay patient and out grind him.”
Borges stayed consistent from the baseline and punished World No. 38 Schwartzman’s deep court positioning to earn the highest-ranked win of his career and upset the second seed 7-5, 6-3. The Portuguese No. 1, who won last month’s Monterrey Challenger, awaits the winner of Pedro Martinez and Roman Safiullin.
In other main-draw action, fourth seed Alexander Bublik defeated defending Phoenix Challenger champion Denis Kudla 7-6(9), 4-6, 6-2. The Kazakh will next face lucky loser Rinky Hijikata or Chinese star Zhizhen Zhang.
Jannik Sinner broke new ground at the BNP Paribas Open Tuesday night, progressing to the quarter-finals for the first time after fourth-round runs in each of the past two years. The Italian won a big-hitting battle with Stan Wawrinka 6-1, 6-4, though the match was much closer than the score suggests.
“The scoreline is wrong today,” Sinner said of its one-sided nature, alluding to Wawrinka’s nine break points in the match. “I felt like we both were playing very well, long rallies, and he was getting every time very close. I got lucky a little bit there at 4-3 [in the second set] when I was serving, he [barely] missed the return.
“Things can change so quickly. I’m very happy to be in the next round but obviously it was a very, very tough match today.”
Now 15-3 on the young season, Sinner has reached the quarter-finals or better in four of his six 2023 events, including his title run in Montpellier. With perfect six-for-six record in sets this tournament, he is bidding for his eighth ATP Tour trophy and his first at the ATP Masters 1000 level. A Thursday matchup against defending champion Taylor Fritz is up next.
While the powerful and aggressive baseline games of both men took centre stage on Stadium 3, Sinner’s agility and defence made the difference in the one-hour, 40-minute victory. In a match full of deuce games and a combined 23 break chances, Sinner saved eight of nine break points on serve to frustrate Wawrinka — including all five in the first set and two from 15/40 at 4-3 in the second.
From 0-2 in set two, Sinner won four straight games to regain control of the match, converting on his seventh break chance of a marathon 2-2 game to move decisively ahead. He won 10 of 14 break points overall as he improved to 3-2 in his ATP Head2Head series with Wawrinka, with wins in their past three matches (Wimbledon 2022, Rotterdam 2023).
After edging the tricky Adrian Mannarino on Monday, Sinner was able groove on Wawrinka’s heavier groundstrokes as he found his rhythm in the desert.
“Every match is different,” he explained. “The match before I struggled a little bit with the backhand. Today was completely different. I had a little bit of a higher ball so I could go really through the ball, so I’m very happy about that.
“I feel I can improve a couple of things. Today I was not serving so well… Tomorrow I have a day off so I have a couple of practice sessions and hopefully I’m going to be ready for after tomorrow.”
Sinner lost his lone previous ATP Head2Head meeting with Fritz in straight sets in the October 2021 edition of the BNP Paribas Open. They will square off on the Indian Wells stadium court for the first time on Thursday with a place in the semi-finals at stake.