Bartoli Serves Notice, Final Eight Complete
Published March 13, 2012 12:00
INDIAN WELLS, CA, USA - Marion Bartoli and Ana Ivanovic rounded out the winners on an absolutely packed Tuesday schedule at the BNP Paribas Open, all eight fourth round matches taking the courts, some going into the night.
Bartoli, the No.7 seed and returning finalist at the Premier-level event, was the first of the two to win through, never losing serve - and only facing one break point - to beat No.23 seed Lucie Safarova, 61 64. Safarova has been tough on the big names before, with 13 career Top 10 wins, but she hasn't had much success with Bartoli, this being her sixth loss in their seven career meetings.
"It was an extremely long day today but I'm so pleased I was able to get through this match," Bartoli said. "I got injured in Doha a few weeks ago and it has been tough to come back, but I have been hanging on extremely well - especially in my first match here - and I'm playing better and better with each round now."
Two rounds ago, Bartoli was down 5-2 third set to Varvara Lepchenko.
Bartoli is now through to the quarterfinals here for the second straight year, and for the second straight year she will play Ana Ivanovic. In the last match of the night, a No.15-seeded Ivanovic brought out some big serving and even bigger forehands to dismiss No.4 seed Caroline Wozniacki, 63 62, returning big too - she broke serve five times in the match, twice at 15 and three times at 30.
"I didn't do much wrong today besides the first few games on my serve," Ivanovic said. "I'm really pleased the way I was aggressive, and how I just stayed in the match and played point by point. I did everything I should have done today."
Ivanovic had lost 11 of her last 12 matches against Top 5 players, including just two weeks ago in Dubai against Wozniacki, in straight sets. "I knew I had to be aggressive and accept mistakes, because she makes you play extra balls," Ivanovic said. "I did that really well, and I served much, much better than I did in the last match. My backhand was a lot heavier than the last time we played.
"That's something I knew I had to improve on from Dubai, where I was missing a lot on my backhand. And my forehands were coming through faster tonight."
Ivanovic leads Bartoli in their head-to-head series, 4-3, but Bartoli has won three of their last four meetings, including here in the quarterfinals last year.
"It would be nice to get revenge on that," Ivanovic said of their last meeting here, which Bartoli won in straight sets. "Marion is a very tough competitor. She moves well and strikes the ball really well and creates a lot of angles with double-handed on both sides. It's very important for me to stay aggressive again, and my serve is going to be important too - I felt today when I managed to stay calm and hold my serves, I could put so much more pressure on her."
Wozniacki was understandably disappointed with the loss, but still gracious in defeat. "Ana just went on a roll," she said. "She started to hit the ball harder and it was going in, and I stepped back a little bit, and it gave her the time to do what she wanted. She just played better than me today. I need to get back and practice on a few things and hopefully get back stronger for Miami next week.
"Right now I'm just thinking about Miami, then we'll see what's going to happen."
Having won the title last year, Wozniacki will fall from No.4 to at least No.6 on the new rankings (with Agnieszka Radwanska and Sam Stosur moving to No.4 and No.5), and potentially to No.7 (Bartoli will rise to No.6 with the title).
"Sometimes you take it for granted when you're winning," Wozniacki said. "You do really well for a long period of time, and you actually realize how well when you lose a few matches. You're like, 'Ah, it actually felt pretty good.'
"But it's not like it's a disaster. I've been playing pretty consistently, and I just want to take the next step now. My time will definitely come again."
Victoria Azarenka and Radwanska were the first two winners of the day (read more about their wins here), followed by Maria Sharapova, Maria Kirilenko, Angelique Kerber and Li Na (read more about their wins here).