Monday, 27 March, 2017

Federer, Nadal enter pre-quarters in Indian Wells

Rafael Nadal admitted the best player won during his latest duel with Roger Federer Rafael Nadal admitted the best player won during his latest duel with Roger Federer
Spencer Simpson | 16 March, 2017, 00:29

Less than two months after Federer claimed an 18th Grand Slam title by beating Nadal in a classic Australian Open final, the two great tennis rivals could meet again, this time in the fourth round at Indian Wells.

Federer tried to get himself going throughout the third-round clash, but his American opponent and 24th seed stuck with him in two tight sets.

Swiss tennis ace Roger Federer was in for a surprise when he sauntered into a press room filled with young kids during the ongoing BNP Paribas Open.

Fifth seed Nadal pounced on Guido Pella's serve, breaking the Argentine five times en route to a 6-3 6-2 victory in a sizzling afternoon heat on the hardcourt at Indian Wells.

Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova defeated fifth seed Dominika Cibulkova 6-4, 3-6, 6-2; double grand slam victor Svetlana Kuznetsova, seeded eighth beat Caroline Garcia of France 6-1, 6-4.

But sixth-seeded Marin Cilic, who beat Nishikori in the 2014 US Open final, was an early casualty, beaten 4-6, 7-5, 6-4 by 19-year-old American Taylor Fritz.

"Yeah, I played very well in the first set".

"It was just a weird match, because the ankle or foot injury or issue he had in the beginning - sometimes he'd move really well, sometimes he wouldn't".

In another men's blockbuster in Indian Wells Wednesday, 12-time grand slam victor Novak Djokovic plays Nick Kyrgios for the second straight event.

Their fourth meeting will be their 17 meeting at a Masters 1000 tournament with Nadal leading the head to head by a convincing margin of 12-4.

After winning their first match, the pair went down in the Round of 16 losing 3-6, 7-6, 11-9 to Raven Klaasen and Rajeev Ram with Nadal revealing that the partnership was meant to happen earlier in the year as a way for Tomic to welcome the Spaniard to Australia.

He and Nadal have faced each other 35 times in a celebrated rivalry, but they haven't met before the quarter-finals of a tournament since their first meeting in the round of 32 at Miami in 2004. "I think that's one thing that gets overlooked", Kyrgios said. He won five of the next six points and closed out the set on Johnson's desperate backhand lob that landed wide.

Striking with renewed confidence, Verdasco stamped his second love hold of the set for 4-3.

Bacsinszky had her first chance to close it out with two match points in the second set. "That's why I changed my position on the return". For moments I played a little bit less well.

Nadal closed out his 90-minute, third-round match in 35 degrees Celsius heat with a forehand victor.

After four-time champion Federer took the opener in a tie-break, he squandered four break points in the second game of the second set. "Obviously Nadal and Federer are starting to build their rankings".

"I've never seen anything like that, probably it would be one of the toughest sections of a draw of all time".

The jam-packed half of the draw is a contrast to the wide-open top half, which lost a lot of its lustre on Saturday when world number one Andy Murray was stunned by 129th-ranked Canadian qualifier Vasek Pospisil. Surely I wanted things to go differently. Everybody likes Roger. It's history over there.

"I'm not very hands-on at all, to be honest", he said. While Nadal breezed past Argentina's Guido Pella in straight sets, Federer put away France's Stephane Robert in just 51 minutes. I'm going to be excited now, I'd better be excited now otherwise I came for the wrong reasons.

Federer did not feature in second half of the season past year due to knee problems, but the Swiss ace has been in great form since his return.

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