John Isner fought past Fernando Verdasco 7-6 (3), 3-6, 6-3 Wednesday to reach the quarterfinals at Indian Wells, taking advantage of a draw that has opened up favorably for him.
Starting in a section of the draw that featured Tomas Berdych, Richard Gasquet and red-hot Grigor Dimitrov, Isner watched them all bow out early as he continued to take care of business. A meeting with Ernests Gulbis tomorrow is all that stands between him and his second Indian Wells semifinal – a likely matchup with Novak Djokovic. Isner was the runner-up at the tournament in 2012.
“When you put matches together in a row, you just inevitably from that feel better. You feel better about your game and each match you win and each set you win and each point you win. You gain confidence from that,” Isner told the Desert Sun after his win.
“I think that’s what I’m showing right now. When I first started practicing out here, I knew my body felt really good and I was feeling really good. I knew there was a chance I could do well here. I have so far. There is a lot of work left to do, but in a good spot so far.”
In the other half of the draw, Alexandr Dolgopolov continued to make waves, cruising by 13th-seeded Fabio Fognini 6-2, 6-4 to reach only the third ATP Masters 1000 quarterfinal of his career.
The three-time Winston-Salem Open quarterfinalist and 2013 semifinalist shocked world No. 1 Rafael Nadal in the third round. He faces Milos Raonic, who beat Andy Murray Wednesday, for a spot in the semifinals.