Sat, Mar 21, 2015 - Page 20 News List

Djokovic to face Murray in semis

AP, INDIAN WELLS, California

Germany’s Sabine Lisicki celebrates winning a point late in the third set against Flavia Pennetta of Italy in their BNP Paribas Open women’s singles quarter-final at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, California, on Thursday.

Photo: AFP

Novak Djokovic did not have to hit a ball to get into the semi-finals of the BNP Paribas Open on Thursday when opponent Bernard Tomic withdrew because of a back injury.

Tomic’s withdrawal was announced about five hours before he was to play No. 1 seed Djokovic, a three-time champion at Indian Wells, who won his first three matches in straight sets. He had beaten Tomic each of the three times they have played.

Fans on Stadium Court jeered the news.

Djokovic’s semi-final opponent today is fourth seed Andy Murray, who defeated No. 12 Feliciano Lopez 6-3, 6-4 for his 497th career victory. His wins are the most by any Briton in the Open era, overtaking Tim Henman, who had 496 career wins.

Murray dropped serve just once against the left-handed Lopez while serving for the match at 5-2 in the second set. He improved to 10-0 against Lopez.

“Every time he came to [the] net I made it very difficult for him,” Murray said. “I passed very well and that was important, because it meant that he spent more time at the back of the court. When we were in the baseline rallies, I felt like I was able to dictate a lot of those points.”

Djokovic owns a 16-8 edge over Murray.

“He will be totally fresh as well and ready for the semis, so it will be a tough one for me, but I feel like I played well this week, and if I can keep that level up and for a sustained period on Saturday, I’ll have a chance,” Murray said.

On the women’s side, Jelena Jankovic reached the semi-finals when qualifier Lesia Tsurenko retired in the second set with a foot injury.

Jankovic, the 2010 champion, was only on court for 46 minutes when Tsurenko called it quits trailing the Serb 6-1, 4-1.

“In the second set she started limping and I saw that she had some problem,” Jankovic said. “That’s the time as well I lost a little bit of my focus. I was kind of looking at what she was doing.”

Jankovic meets 24th seed Sabine Lisicki, who beat defending champion Flavia Pennetta 6-4, 6-7 (3/7), 7-6 (7/4).

Not expecting to go so deep in the tournament, Jankovic said she had to double-check on when her semi-final was scheduled.

“I had to ask because I was going to do some shopping,” she said.

Pennetta saved a match point in the 10th game of the second set and then Lisicki staved off two match points in the 10th game of the third set, eventually reaching her first semi-final of the year.

She dropped to her hands and knees after match point.

“I really want to show everyone how well I can play,” the German said. “It’s such a great feeling.”

Tsurenko hurt her ankle two days ago when she upset Eugenie Bouchard, one of three seeded players she beat in the desert.

After losing the first set against Jankovic, a trainer wrapped her right ankle.

Top seed Serena Williams is due to play third seed Simona Halep in a semi-final today.

Williams is back in the desert after ending her 14-year boycott of the tournament she last won as a teenager in 2001.

Tomic had gotten off to a strong start this year, reaching the quarter-finals at six of the seven tournaments he has played.

The exception was the Australian Open in January, where he lost in the fourth round.

The Australian defeated sixth seed David Ferrer in straight sets in the third round, Tomic’s first win over a top 10 player since July 2013.

Tomic beat Aussie teenager Thanasi Kokkinakis in three sets in the fourth round on Wednesday and then complained of an aching wisdom tooth. His back has been bothering him since a tournament in Memphis early last month.

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