Saturday, 17 March 2012

Indian Wells Semi-Finals (ATP) 2012 - Previews

Semi-finals of the BNP Paribas Open will be contested today featuring the world's top 3 players and one American no.2 fighting for a place to fight for championship. The first match pits World no.1 Novak Djokovic against home favourite and American no.2 John Isner, while the other semi-final pits Roger Federer against Rafael Nadal.
Let us have a quick look at the matches.

1- Djokovic (1) vs Isner (11)

Description Djokovic Isner
Match Record this year   14-1 12-4
Overall H2H      2    0
Hard Courts H2H      1    0
The pair has met only twice, in the semi-finals of beijing 2010, where Djokovic came out on top in straights sets and in the the first round of Davis cup in 2010 when Djokovic won in 5 sets. Let us have a look at how did each player made it to the semi-finals.

Road to Semi-finals:
Novak Djokovic

Rd. Opponent RankingFinal Score
1r Bye   -             -
2r Golubev 145 63 62
3r Anderson 30 62 63
4r Andujar 45 60 67(5) 62
QF Almagro 12 63 64

Djokovic has been in stellar form so far this week, his form dropped a bit in his 4th round win over Andujar but he was in fine form in his quarter-final clash against Almagro dismantling him in straight sets.

John Isner

Rd. Opponent Ranking Final Score
1r Bye -       -  
2r Gil 86 75 63
3r Monaco 22 75 75
4r Ebden 91 64 75
QF Simon 13 63 16 75
Isner has played some inspired tennis throughout this tournament, and much like his semi-final opponent has lost only one set en-route.

Stats corner for Indian Wells 2012:

Description Djokovic Isner
1st Serve %age 62% 62%
%age Points won on 1st Serve 72% 79%
%age points won on 2nd serve 63% 67%
Break points saved 86% 75%
1st return points won 36% 31%
2nd return points won 58% 48%
Break Points won 58% 39%

Djokovic has only been broken  twice in the entire tournament so far, once in his opening match against Golubev and once by Almagro in his QF match, while isner has been broken only thrice during the tournament,all three times by Simon in the pair's quarter-final calsh. Djokovic is one of the best returners in the ATP tour at the tournament and if Isner is to have any chance against Djokovic, he must not let go of his serve. Isner is no match to Djokovic when it comes down to return of serve and break point conversion, but with his confidence running high at the moment, he may create trouble for World no.1 who is gunning for his 4th final appearance here in Indian Wells.

This is Isner's second straight Masters series semi-final appearance. He is playing at a career best ranking of 11 and is on the cusp of making it to the top 10. Will he be able to defeat Djokovic and make his breakthrough or will he go down, only time will tell us. Let us hope for a great match.

2 - Nadal (2) vs Federer (3)
Federer and Nadal are arguably two of the greatest players to ever play tennis. This is the pairs 28th meeting overall, but first in Indian Wells. Let us have a quick look at what the match holds for us.

Description Nadal Federer
Match Record this year 12-2   20-2
Overall H2H   19     8
Hard Courts H2H    5     5
In the pair's most recent encounter, Nadal came after loosing the first set to win their clash in the semi-final of the Australian Open this year. Will Federer be able to extract some revenge? Let us have a look at the path of each player to semi-finals.

Road to semi-finals:
Roger Federer

Rd. Opponent Rank Final Score
1r Bye  -   -  
2r Kudla 185 64 61
3r Raonic  27 67(4) 62 64
4r Bellucci  50 36 63 64
QF Del Potro   9 63 62
Federer had arguably the toughest quarter of all, but he made it out of it, with excellent play, 'never let go of it' attitude, and some luck as well. For two consecutive matches (3rd and 4th round) Federer lost the first set, but won the next two to take the match. he had a much easier win against Del Potro and must be well rested for his clash against Nadal.

Rafael Nadal

Rd. Opponent Rank Final Score
1r Bye    -    -  
2r Mayer   78 61 63
3r Granollers   26 61 64
4r Dolgopolov   21 63 62
QF Nalbandian   74 46 75 64

Nadal had a much smooth journey till his quarter-final clash against Nalbandian. Nadal had neither lost a set, nor his serve when he took the court against Nalbandian for a spot in the semi-final, but it all changed, he lost the first set and he lost his serve twice, but he emreged as the winner to set up a block buster semi-final against Federer.

Stats Corner for Indian Wells 2012

Description Nadal Federer
1st Serve %age 67% 61%
%age Points won on 1st Serve 80% 83%
%age points won on 2nd serve 64% 58%
Break points saved 85% 73%
1st return points won 35% 29%
2nd return points won 53% 51%
Break Points won 54% 61%
Federer has been broken only thrice so far in this tournament, once in his opening match against Kudla and twice in his 4th round encounter against Bellucci, Nadal on the other hand has only been broken twice, and that happened in his quarter-final match against Nalbandian. Nadal has lost only one set, in his quarter-final match, while Federer has lost 2 sets, in his 3rd and 4th round matches. Federer will need to up his first serve percentage if he wants to have any chance agaisnt Nadal, and he will have to improve upon his return of serve. Federe has won the least 1st serve return points of all the 4 semi-finalists. Federer's record of break point conversion against nadal has laways been poor and has been one of the main reasons of his losses against Nadal, he will have to improve on it to have any shot at Nadal. For Nadal's part, he is superior in all his stats so far at the tournament, with the only exception of break point conversion. He will have to raise his level against Federer to record his 20th win agianst the Swiss. Both players have been in tremendous form so far. It will all come down to nerves and serves, who ever handles both things better will emrege as winner. No matter what the outcome, we are all in for a treat. Let us hope for a great match.

Who are you rooting for and who do you think will make it to the final? Will it be another Nadal - Djokovic or will Federer and Isner have their say? Keep us posted. Enjoy :)

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