Indian Wells Preview Day 9

Ana Ivanovic and Marion Bartoli meet in the BNP Paribas Open quarterfinals for the second successive year.

Published March 14, 2012 11:59

Indian Wells Preview Day 9
Ana Ivanovic

INDIAN WELLS, CA, USA - The final two semifinal spots at the BNP Paribas Open will be decided on Thursday, as Ana Ivanovic takes on Marion Bartoli and Maria Sharapova meets Maria Kirilenko.

Thursday, Quarterfinals

Stadium 1
[7] Marion Bartoli (FRA #7) vs. [16] Ana Ivanovic (SRB #16)
Ivanovic leads 4-3
Regular patrons at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden will get a sense of déjà vu when they take their seats for the first match on Stadium 1. Twelve months ago Marion Bartoli and Ana Ivanovic squared off for a place in the Indian Wells semifinals and on Thursday they will do so once again. On that occasion Bartoli won a tight two-setter, which she followed up by reaching the final where she was defeated by Caroline Wozniacki.

But Bartoli is not the only one with good memories from Indian Wells. For Ivanovic the tournament has been an even happier hunting ground - she has now made it to at least the quarterfinals on five occasions, going on to win the title in 2008. And judging by her dismantling of Wozniacki in the fourth round, the love affair shows no sign of fizzling out. On this form, few can live with the Serb, whose game, and forehand in particular, looked back to its best. Bartoli, though, relishes a challenge and on a surface where she has picked up seven of her eight career titles certainly cannot be discounted.

[20] Maria Kirilenko (RUS #23) vs. [2] Maria Sharapova (RUS #2)
series tied 2-2
In stark contrast to her title rivals, Maria Sharapova has enjoyed a drama-free passage through to the quarterfinals. The No.2 seed is the only player left in the draw yet to drop a set and looked at her imperious best during a 62 61 win over Roberta Vinci in the last round. Maria Kirilenko, her opponent in the last eight, on the other hand, has been taken the distance in her last two matches, including a three-hour marathon against Lourdes Domínguez Lino.

However, if Sharapova is hoping Kirilenko's exertions have left her low on gas, she is in for a shock. Kirilenko is rapidly carving out a reputation as the WTA's iron woman, having won eight of her nine three set matches in 2012 - three of which came during a run to the final in Pattaya City. There is more to the World No.23's game than just superhuman energy reserves, though; as befitting the owner of 10 doubles titles, Kirilenko is as comfortable at the net as the baseline and possesses the court craft to trouble anyone on her day. The players have met four times, with two wins apiece, the most recent coming at the first round of the 2010 Australian Open when Kirilenko triumphed, naturally, in three sets.

For more on today's matches, see our Match Notes in the Press Center.

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