Djokovic eases past Almagro

World number one Novak Djokovic powered into the semifinals of the Indian Wells ATP tournament with a commanding 6-3, 6-4 victory over Spaniard Nicolas Almagro on Thursday.

The top-seeded Serb, champion here in 2008 and last year, will face big-serving John Isner in the last four on Saturday, the 11th-seeded American having edged past Frenchman Gilles Simon 6-3, 1-6, 7-5 in a little under two hours.

Djokovic broke Almagro twice in the opening set and again in the ninth game of the second when the Spaniard hit a backhand long.

The Serb then held serve to love in the 10th, an ace putting him 40-0 up before he ended the match with a crunching backhand winner down the line after one hour, 22 minutes.

Isner and Simon, both playing in the quarterfinals for the first time at Indian Wells, traded the first two sets in their evening match and the third then went with serve until Simon was broken in the 12th game.

A deep forehand service return by Isner forced a baseline error from Simon and the American converted the first of his two match points when Simon hit a backhand long.

Former champions Ana Ivanovic and Maria Sharapova advanced to the semifinals of the women’s competition in sharply contrasting fashion.

Serb Ivanovic became the first player to reach the last four with a 6-3, 6-4 upset over ailing Marion Bartoli of France while Sharapova battled back from a set and break down to beat fellow Russian Maria Kirilenko 3-6, 7-5, 6-2.

Sania-Vesnina in final
Sania Mirza and her Russian partner Elena Vesnina came from a set down to register a hard-fought 5-7, 7-5, 10-3 victory over the Czech combo of Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka to enter the final.

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