On-song Nadal sets up Ljubicic encounter

Tennis Indian Wells meet

On-song Nadal sets up Ljubicic encounter

I did it! Croatian Ivan Ljubicic celebrates after his quarterfinal win over Juan Monaco of Argentina. AFP

The Spanish left-hander came from 3-1 down in the second-set tiebreak, winning the last three points of the match at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden to book a place in the last four against big-serving Ivan Ljubicic.

Croat Ljubicic, who turns 31 on Friday, earned himself an early birthday present by powering past Argentina's Juan Monaco 4-6, 6-2, 6-1 earlier in the day to reach the semifinals.

Third seed Nadal, twice champion at Indian Wells, broke Berdych twice to take the opening set in just over an hour on a blustery evening at the showpiece stadium court.
After the players traded service breaks in the seventh and eighth games of the second, the set went into a tiebreak, which Nadal clinched when the 19th-seeded Czech netted a backhand.

Former world number three Ljubicic unleashed 11 aces and 39 winners to wrap up victory in one hour, 47 minutes against Monaco on a hot afternoon in the California desert.
Ljubicic sealed the win by firing down a first serve at 138 mph that Monaco was unable to return, prompting the Croat to leap into the air and thrust his right arm skywards in celebration.

Monaco broke 6ft 4in (1.93m) Ljubicic in the seventh game of the match to take the opening set but the 20th-seeded Croat then took control with a deft mix of power and creativity. He broke the Argentine's serve twice in both the second and third sets to become the first Croat to reach the last four at Indian Wells since Goran Ivanisevic in 1996.

Jankovic advances
Jelena Jankovic came from 2-4 down in the second set to book her place in the women’s section semifinals with a 6-4, 6-4 victory over Russian Alisa Kleybanova on Thursday.
The sixth-seeded Serbian ended an error-strewn match lasting one hour, 42 minutes on serve when her opponent struck a backhand long. Jankovic will next meet eighth-seeded Australian Samantha Stosur, who beat Spanish left-hander Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez 6-3, 7-6 after clinching the second-set tiebreak 9-7.

Second-seeded Dane Caroline Wozniacki and fifth seed Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland advanced on Wednesday and will play their semifinal on Friday. Jankovic, a winner of 11 Tour titles, piled up 21 unforced errors in a match of wildly fluctuating quality while the Russian totalled 40. Jankovic, a semifinalist at Indian Wells in 2008, broke Kleybanova in the third game of the match before taking the opening set in 50 minutes in early afternoon sunshine.

The second went with serve until the sixth game when Jankovic was broken after hitting a backhand long to trail 2-4. However, the former world number one immediately broke back after the 23rd-seeded Russian twice double-faulted and Kleybanova also lost serve in the ninth.

Jankovic, who hit only seven winners in the match compared to 19 from her opponent, made no mistake when serving for a place in the last four, ending the Russian's unbeaten run of eight matches.

Stosur came from 1-4 down in the second set and squandered her first three match points before sealing victory. The match ended in confusing circumstances, however, when Martinez Sanchez, trailing 7-8 in the tiebreak, double-faulted while thinking the score was 8-8 after her first serve had been challenged by Stosur.

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