By Nicholas McCarvel
Photo by Billie Weiss
Photo of the Day: It was an intense match-up between Alexandr Dolgopolov and Milos Raonic, but that didn’t mean the two couldn’t share a smile (and some sarcastic words) during their handshake. Dolgopolov reaches a Masters Series 1000 semifinal for the first time in his career.
Match of the Day: High on drama and oddities, Flavia Pennetta‘s 6-4, 5-7, 6-4 victory over Sloane Stephens was hard-earned, though not always pretty. Pennetta served for the match at 6-4, 5-4, only to lose that game and five more in a row, falling behind 3-0 in the deciding set. It was at the beginning of the third that the wind whipped up, first frustrating the veteran Pennetta before she found her footing. Stephens had the lead deep in the third set, but couldn’t maintain it, coming up tight as Pennetta began to surge.
Honorary Match of the Day: It was a re-match of the Australian Open for top seed Li Na and the never-say-die Dominika Cibulkova, Li coming out on top 6-4, 3-6, 6-4. Li had beaten the diminutive Slovakian in straight sets in Melbourne, but was made to work harder on Thursday, Cibulkova often stepping up and belting the ball for winners off the ground. But Li eventually righted her ship, staying even in the third set and closing it out when she could, advancing to the last four here for the first time since 2007.
Stat of the Day: They came close again, but John Isner and Sam Querrey weren’t able to overcome their compatriots and nemeses, Bob and Mike Bryan. The reigning doubles champs and world No. 1 Bryan brothers dropped the first set only to come back and win their ninth straight match against “Quisner” – in nine tries. The brothers will play their fourth final in Indian Wells on Saturday.
Take 2: With his quarterfinal win over Kevin Anderson, four-time champion Roger Federer is set to return to the Top 5 in next week’s rankings. Can he climb higher? He’ll need a couple more wins to do that.
Tweet of the Day: Players have been having fun on the Twitter Mirror during this tournament, and Dolgopolov was no different after his win over Roanic.
Quote of the Day: She may have lost on the court, but Sloane was in good spirits off of it, looking forward to her birthday next week. How is she celebrating? She’s registered for gifts with Target.
Stephens: “I registered at Target. [Smiling.] I’m in the wedding registry, which is so … I’m marrying my mom. Like when it pops up, it says like, Sloane and Sybill’s big day is like eight days away. I was going to marry myself, but I couldn’t put my same name. I ended up having to put my mom’s.”
Question: Did you get to run around with the gun or you did it online?
Stephens: ”No, I did it all online, so it was super easy.”
Video of the Day: It’s never too early to look forward to the next day’s play, is it? Get amped for the action here: