INDIAN WELLS, California (AP) ― Rafael Nadal ended the run of Latvian qualifier Ernests Gulbis with a 4-6, 6-4, 7-5 victory in the fourth round at the BNP Paribas Open on Wednesday night.
Nadal advanced to the quarterfinals against defending champion Roger Federer, who survived a three-set marathon of his own, beating 18th-seeded Stanislas Wawrinka 6-3, 6-7 (4), 7-5.
No. 2 seed Maria Sharapova defeated sixth-seeded Sara Errani 7-6 (6), 6-2 to reach the women’s semifinals without dropping a set, stopping a streak of four straight matches that went three sets on the main stadium court.
Top-ranked Novak Djokovic didn’t take the court against American Sam Querrey until after midnight PDT.
|Maria Sharapova serves against Sara Errani on Wednesday. (AP-Yonhap News)|
Gulbis was on a 13-match winning streak, having made his way through the qualifying rounds at Delray Beach, Florida, where he won the title, and at Indian Wells, where he won three main-draw matches, including two over seeded players.
He was playing his 14th match in 19 days, and has yet to beat Nadal in five tries.
“I think that I played better tennis. I was more aggressive,” Gulbis said. “I went for my shots much more than he. But he did really incredibly well, as he always does, on important points.”
Gulbis held serve to lead 5-4 in the third. He led 30-15 on Nadal’s serve, but lost the next five points to let Nadal tie the set.
Nadal earned the only break of the third to go up 6-5, then closed out the win on his third match point. He leapt in the air, tore off his headband and pumped his left arm, yelling, “Yeah!”
“With all the problems, I was able to keep being focused and keep winning,” he said. “I really appreciate every moment and every victory.”
The fifth-seeded Spaniard opened his bid for a third Indian Wells title with a two-set victory over American Ryan Harrison, Nadal’s first hard-court match in nearly a year.