Mary Carillo: "We're gonna show some highlights of the match."
Flavia Pennetta: "Do we have to?"
You couldn't blame Flavia Pennetta for not wanting to see any part of the mess that was her quarterfinal match against Sloane Stephens at the BNP Paribas Open. To be fair to both players, there was so much wind during the third set that playing was very difficult, and it was obvious that neither woman believed she could go much for her shot. Of course, there are "wind experts"--I give you Vera Zvonareva and Jelena Jankovic--who don't let all those gusts bother them too much, but most players haven't mastered that specialty.
Pennetta won the first set 6-4, served for the match in the second set, and then lost six games in a row. She really did look done, and then, of course, the wind came up in the third set, which confounded both opponents. But Stephens turned out to be the more confounded of the two, and toward the end, was going for shots that absolutely could not be controlled under windy conditions.
The players get somewhat of a pass on that tough third set, but the match--as a whole--was still nothing to get excited about. It ended for Pennetta with a 6-4, 5-7, 6-4 victory, and she'll play top seed Li Na in the semifinals.
I saw the beginning of the Li Na vs. Dominika Cibulkova match and then had to go somewhere. When my meeting ended, I stopped by a Barnes & Noble to catch what I could of the match, but the electricity had gone out--wouldn't you know it?--and there was no wireless connection. So I drove to a Starbucks and was able to watch the last half of the third set.
Li committed 59 unforced errors and hit 32 winners. Cibulkova committed 51 unforced errors and hit 16 winners. Maybe that's enough said.
So we're down to Li, Pennetta, Aga Radwanska, and Simona Halep. No matter what, we'll get a brand new Indian Wells champion. Radwanska is 3-2 against Halep; Halep won the last two times they played. Li is 3-2 against Pennetta.