Wow, what a match by Juan Martin Del Potro to give Novak Djokovic his first defeat of the year and make it to his first BNP Paribas Open final. He played some amazing tennis, coming back from 0-3 in the third set to win it 6-4. Though he had done so well to pull out the second set, when he was immediately broken in the third I thought the world #1 had it wrapped up. However, Delpo had other ideas and really began taking it to Novak with some awe inspiring shots. It reminded me of his form in 2009 when he beat the great Roger Federer in the U.S. Open after being down a set and a break.
Back in 2009 when he won the U.S. Open he had also taking out Nadal before beating Federer. Is he in good enough form now to take out Djokovic and Nadal back to back? He has played two long three set matches in the last two days, while Nadal had fairly easy two set victories in his quarter final and semi. Does JMDP have enough left in him to beat Rafa, who has quickly come back into his own pre-injury form? At this point I would predict Nadal will pull off his first hard court victory since 2010, but I also predicted Djokovic would easily win the third set, so you just never can tell.
I am looking forward to the women's final between Caroline Wozniacki and Maria Sharapova. Caroline fought back from a set and a break down against Angelique Kerber with some very strange strategy of moon balls, yet also really upping her winner total compared to what we have gotten used to. Against Maria Sharapova she better skip the moon balls and go for the winners if she wants a chance to once again lift the trophy at Indian Wells.
On another topic, I haven't done a blog post since Federer's uninspiring loss against Nadal in the quarter finals. It was quite discouraging to see him obviously struggling so much physically to not be able to even come close to playing his game. While it would have been easy for him to withdraw from this match, however, the always classy Federer knew what a great disappointment this would be for both the tournament and the fans after two ladies withdrawals in the same day and chose to put his own comfort aside to play, knowing he had little chance to win. I continue to be impressed by Roger over and over again and can see why he was voted the 2nd most respected person, surpassed only by Nelson Mandela. He now takes a 7 week break before he plays next in Madrid and hopefully he can get treatment for his back, a lot of rest, time with his beautiful family and then some good practice time to come back strong and ready to add some titles, which he so far hasn't been able to do in 2013. Even though he lost earlier than I had hoped in Indian Wells I treasure the memories of seeing him play live.
More pictures to come from my experience in Indian Wells next week.