Nadal defeats Gulbis to set up Federer quarter-final in Indian Wells

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Rafael Nadal finally put an end to the winning streak of Ernests Gulbis, but not without an almighty challenge from the Latvian as Nadal finally edged it 4-6 6-4 7-5. Gulbis got off to a fast start holding to love and displaying some fine shotmaking but struggled to find any openings on return while Nadal didn’t fare much better. Serving to stay in the set at 4-5, Nadal buckled under the pressure tamely netting to bring up a break point which he would gift Gulbis as he hit long to end the opening set.
Nadal immediately hit back to begin the second set, breaking in the first game thanks to a wild overhead error from Gulbis but wouldn’t be able to hold on to it for long as Gulbis broke back for 2-2. The Latvian began to struggling with maintaining the high level he was at in the first set and saw himself down three break points at 3-3, from which Nadal would eventually break for the second time in the set. This time there was no let up as the Spaniard held serve twice to force a decider.
Much like the first two sets, the third set was very tight with few chances on return for either player aside from an early break point for Gulbis who began to show the level he was displaying in the first set as the match wore on, with this shot a late highlight on Gulbis’ way to holding for 5-4 to force Nadal to serve to stay in the match. 30-15 up on the Nadal serve, Gulbis had match points staring him in the face only to net a forehand and Nadal would eventually hold. Clearly unsettled by his failure to break through and take the match, Gulbis threw in a shocking service game to find himself broken. Nadal rushed into a 40-0 lead serving for the match before a wild forehand error and double fault threatened to make things interesting but he would take the match at the third time of asking to earn a match with Roger Federer.

Tomas Berdych had an easier time of things has he defeated Richard Gasquet in straight sets 6-1 7-5. The Czech got off to a quick start, breaking in Gasquet’s first service game and never looking in danger during the set. He added an insurance break for 5-1 before serving out the set after saving a break point.

A break to love to begin the second for Berdych looked to have made things a lot easier, but he displayed surprising vulnerability on serve for much of the early part of the set despite serving eight aces in the second. After saving five break points to hold for 2-0 he would falter the next time round, being broken after another four break opportunities. He had a chance to immediately break back but failed to take it while Gasquet missed three opportunities to take a break lead himself before things settled down. Berdych finally put the match to bed late in the second, breaking for a 6-5 lead and the opportunity to serve for the match doing so after coming back from 0-15 and 15-30  to move into the next round.

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