Nadal rallies to beat Tsonga

Indian Wells, March 20:

Rafael Nadal came back to win the final five games and beat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in an intense, crowd-pleasing rematch of their Australian Open semi-final.

Nadal avenged his lopsided loss in Melbourne with a scrappy 6-7 (4), 7-6 (3) 7-5 victory in the fourth round of the Pacific Life Open. After the Frenchman went up 5-2 in the third set, Nadal held serve the rest of the way and broke Tsonga’s serve in the ninth and 11th games to take a 6-5 lead. The 22-year-old Tsonga upset No 2 Nadal 6-2, 6-3, 6-2 in the Australian Open semi-finals.

No 1 Roger Federer, bidding for his fourth Indian Wells title in five years, cruised to a 6-3, 6-4 win over Ivan Ljubicic to move into the quarter-finals.

Maria Sharapova ran her 2008 record to 18-0 and gained the women’s semi-finals with a 7-6(2), 6-1 victory over defending champion Daniela Hantuchova.

James Blake took a 6-4, 6-2 victory over Richard Gasquet, and Mardy Fish beat two-time Indian Wells champion Lleyton Hewitt 7-5, 3-6, 7-6(4) to advance to the quarter-finals. In other matches, Djokovic advanced with a 6-2, 6-3 victory over Guillermo Canas; Tommy Haas edged Andy Murray 2-6, 7-5, 6-3; and David Nalbandian beat Juan Carlos Ferrero 6-2, 6-2.

In a women’s quarter-final, Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia beat Agnieszka Radwanska 6-2, 6-4.