|Novak Djokovic serves to Alejandro Gonzalez at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California, Tuesday. (AP-Yonhap)|
Djokovic, a two-time champion at Indian Wells, earned the only two breaks of the third set, including a seven-deuce game that he closed out with a clever backhand drop volley.
Gonzalez had never won an ATP Tour-level match in six tries before Indian Wells. He won third-set tiebreakers in his first two matches here before keeping the world’s second-ranked man on the court for just over 1 1/2 hours.
“It took me a little bit to get used to it,” Djokovic said. “You’ve got new faces and new players who are able to challenge the top guys, and this is good for the sport. It also makes us work harder and improve trying to get our game to a high level because the guys are coming up.”
Djokovic had 28 winners to 11 for Gonzalez, who also had 23 unforced errors.
“I just had a big loss of concentration and allowed him to win the second set for no reason,” Djokovic said. “Bounced back better in the third, but I obviously cannot allow myself to have these particular concentration lapses in the match at this level.”
Djokovic next plays Marin Cilic of Croatia, who beat Tommy Robredo 6-4, 6-3.
John Isner, the lone American remaining in the men’s draw, defeated Lu Yen-hsun of Taiwan 6-4, 6-3 to reach the fourth round. Isner fired 13 aces, hit 32 winners and gained the only two breaks of the match. Lu managed just nine winners and never had a break point against Isner.
|Li Na smiles after defeating Aleksandra Wozniak on Tuesday. (AP-Yonhap)|
Top-seeded woman Li Na defeated Aleksandra Wozniak of Canada 6-1, 6-4, setting up a quarterfinal against Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia that will be a rematch of the Australian Open final, which Li won in straight sets.
Li rallied from a 0-3 deficit in the second set, winning six of the final seven games. The last game went to deuce 10 times before Li won on her 11th match point when Wozniak’s backhand sailed long.
“I can only say, ‘Welcome to the crazy women’s tennis tour,’” Li said about the last game.
Jelena Jankovic routed Caroline Wozniacki 6-3, 6-1 to reach the quarterfinals, winning a matchup of former tournament champions and No. 1-ranked players.
Jankovic next plays either second-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska or 22nd-seeded Alize Cornet, who met late in a fourth-round match.
“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 said. “I just did not let her play what she plays. That was very important.”
Jankovic was the world’s top-ranked player in 2008. Wozniacki reached the top spot in 2010; she’s now No. 12. Jankovic, ranked eighth, was the first top-10 player Wozniacki has faced so far this year.
Jankovic ended a five-match losing streak against Wozniacki, with the Serb having recovered from a back problem that occurred in her match two nights earlier. Jankovic didn’t hit on Monday and felt too stiff to put her shoes on.
“I went on court today not knowing how I was going to feel, if I was going to be limited with my movement or if I was going to play my game,” she said. “But I did and I was surprised.”
Italian qualifier Camila Giorgi failed to build on her upset of defending champion Maria Sharapova, losing to countrywoman Flavia Pennetta 6-2, 6-1. Pennetta next plays American Sloane Stephens, who beat Alisa Kleybanova 6-3, 7-5.
American Lauren Davis withdrew from her match against qualifier Casey Dellacqua of Australia because of a gastrointestinal illness. Dellacqua advanced to the quarters against No. 6 seed Simona Halep of Romania, who beat Eugenie Bouchard of Canada, 6-2, 1-6, 6-4.
In other men’s matches, Fernando Verdasco of Spain beat No. 8 seed Richard Gasquet, 7-6 (5), 6-1; and Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain beat Jarkko Nieminen of Finland 6-2, 4-6, 7-6 (6).