Road to final opens up for Wawrinka as Berdych falls

Stan Wawrinka serving to German Philipp Kohlschreiber at Indian Wells. The Swiss had seven aces and did not face a single break point en route to his 7-5, 6-3 victory.
Stan Wawrinka serving to German Philipp Kohlschreiber at Indian Wells. The Swiss had seven aces and did not face a single break point en route to his 7-5, 6-3 victory.PHOTO: REUTERS

INDIAN WELLS • Stan Wawrinka breezed into the fourth round of the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells on Monday and saw another seed removed from his path to the final when Yoshihito Nishioka of Japan turned his match against Tomas Berdych upside down.

The Swiss third seed romped past Philipp Kohlschreiber 7-5, 6-3 and will next face Nishioka rather than Berdych after the Japanese overcame a 1-6, 2-5 deficit for a stunning 1-6, 7-6 (7-5), 6-4 win over the 13th-seeded Czech.

The top half of the draw has already lost world No. 1 Andy Murray and offers rather smoother sailing than a bottom half that features multiple Grand Slam winners Novak Djokovic (12), Rafael Nadal (14) and Roger Federer (18).

Wawrinka recorded his fifth victory over Kohlschreiber in as many meetings in a performance that left him cautiously encouraged about his prospects of making it past the quarter-finals in the California desert for the first time.

"It was a really good match," said the 31-year-old, who owns three Grand Slam titles.

"The first set was not easy, for sure, but in general I'm happy with my game. I was serving well. I think I'm moving better and better, and it's all positive so far. I'm feeling good in my body, so that's the most important."

Nishioka, who gave Nadal a run for his money in Acapulco at the start of the month before losing to the Spaniard, surprised even himself with his victory over Berdych.

"I tried to do my best, but today I couldn't figure out how could I beat Berdych," said the 21-year-old. "I tried to find a way, and then I think he give me a little bit of a chance.

"My body was feeling like I cannot move that much, but I just stayed focused and tried to fight. And then I found a way."

When asked about how he feels about the clash with Wawrinka, Nishioka said: "It's going to be interesting. I've never practised with him, so it's going to be the first time we going to be against each other."

Eighth-seeded Dominic Thiem also powered into the fourth round with a 6-1, 6-4 victory over Germany's Mischa Zverev.

The Austrian next faces 10th-seeded Gael Monfils, who dispatched American John Isner 6-2, 6-4 in just 68 minutes.

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

INDIAN WELLS

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 15, 2017, with the headline 'Road to final opens up for Wawrinka as Berdych falls'. Print Edition | Subscribe