Round 2 action has been completed at the BNP Paribas Open, and there were many expected results, but also many seeds falling in their opening matches.
Roger Federer's Indian Wells campaign began on Sunday evening with a routine straight sets win over 19 year-old American Denis Kudla 64 61 in under an hour of play. Right from the start, Federer was very casual, quickly getting out to a 4-1 lead thanks to a stretch of 14 straight points. He was then broken however, but benefited from having the double break and won the set 6-4. It was much of the same in the second set as he got out to a 4-0 lead and took the set 6-1. It was a very simple match for the Swiss Maestro; as I have mentioned many times before, Fed never works up too much of a sweat in early round matches in which he is certain he will win. This is especially the case today as he is older and must save energy for later in the tournaments when he plays his rivals in the top 10. One big stat stood out for me, and that was his conversion rate of 5/6 on break point chances. That will without a doubt serve him well (pun not intended) if he can convert like that as the tournament rolls on. As for Denis Kudla, I liked what I saw out of him. He is only 19 and he has a solid game that could develop very well as he progresses in his career. I think he has a bright future.
Rafael Nadal, Juan Martin del Potro, David Ferrer, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (retirement), and Janko Tipsarevic also advanced easily into the 3rd round. Tsonga played five games before his opponent, Llodra, retired. Verdasco, Dolgopolov, Raonic, Graonllers, Stepanek, and Davydenko also moved on to the 3rd round. Davydenko was given the benefit of playing lucky loser Bjorn Phau after #14 seed Gael Monfils withdrew due to an illness.
Saturday featured a handful of upsets, including a massive shocker, when Andy Murray was defeated by Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 64 62. Coming off a solid week in Dubai where he defeated the World #1 Djokovic, this has to be a truly devastating blow. The only good news that can be taken from this if you are Murray is that he also went out in the 2nd round last year, so he doesn't lose any points. Andy must recover from this shocking turn of events very quickly or else he could suffer a serious slump just like he did last year when he lost four consecutive matches from the Australian Open to Miami. Overall, six seeds were eliminated, including Murray. Richard Gasquet
(16), Kei Nishikori (17), Florian Mayer (18), Viktor Troicki (25), and
Julien Benneteau (32) were also cut. On Sunday, Feliciano Lopez (15) lost to Marcos Baghdatis, Marin Cilic (24) was defeated by David Nalbandian, Jurgen Melzer (20) was taken out by Thomaz Bellucci, and Juan Ignacio Chela (31) was perhaps unsurprisingly dismissed by Denis Istomin.
#1 seed Novak Djokovic eased through qualifier Andrey Golubev 63 62, but it wasn't an entirely convincing performance. It was an error-filled affair and Golubev practically handed the match over with his inconsistent play. To me, Djokovic does not look like the same dominating player that he was in 2011. He is just a little more cautious and not as risky, and his risk-taking ability was a huge part of his success in 2011. Perhaps the massive weight of expectations is starting to catch up to him. We will see.
Andy Roddick picked up a tremendous win over Poland's Lukasz Kubot 46 76(5) 63. Andy was down 4-5 in the 2nd set, facing down defeat, and then everything turned around. He started playing much better and started returning winners nearly every game. It was a great win for the American and the crowd definitely appreciated his effort after crawling back from the brink of defeat.
Berdych, Fish, Isner, Almagro,
Simon, Monaco, and Wawrinka also advanced to the 3rd round.
The 3rd round matches are as follows:
(1) Novak Djokovic vs (29) Kevin Anderson
(2) Rafael Nadal vs (26) Marcel Granollers
(3) Roger Federer vs (27) Milos Raonic (match of the 3rd round)
(5) David Ferrer vs Denis Istomin
(6) Jo-Wilfried Tsonga vs (28) Radek Stepanek
(7) Tomas Berdych vs (30) Andy Roddick
(8) Mardy Fish vs Matthew Ebden
(9) Juan Martin del Potro vs (29) Fernando Verdasco
(10) Janko Tipsarevic vs David Nalbandian
(11) John Isner vs (22) Juan Monaco
(12) Nicolas Almagro vs Santiago Giraldo
(13) Gilles Simon vs (23) Stan Wawrinka
(21) Alexandr Dolgopolov vs Marcos Baghdatis
Nikolay Davydenko vs Thomaz Bellucci
Guillermo Garcia-Lopez vs Ryan Harrison
Pablo Andujar vs Albert Ramos
Federer will have a very tough match against the dangerous Canadian Milos Raonic but I expect he will play well and pull through. Djokovic could have a tough time with Kevin Anderson who is on a roll. I doubt Nadal will be given any trouble by his countryman Granollers. Overall it is a great lineup of 3rd round action with Simon/Wawrinka, Tipsarevic/Nalbandian, Delpo/Verdasco, Dolgopolov/Baghdatis, and Berdych/Roddick all looking to be competitive matches.
Looking forward to all the action,