Monday, 13 March 2017

Federer, Nadal stay on course for desert showdown

Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal are on course for another showdown, after winning their opening matches at the BNP Paribas Open in the California desert on Sunday.
Less than two months after Federer claimed an 18th major title in a classic Australian Open final, the two great rivals could meet again, this time in the fourth round at Indian Wells.
Both won in style on Sunday, with Spanish fifth seed Nadal pouncing on Guido Pella’s serve to break the Argentine five times en route to a 6-3 6-2 victory, in sizzling afternoon heat on the stadium hard court.
Federer enjoyed the relative cool of an evening match.
But was back in the locker room before working up a major sweat, easing to a 6-2 6-1 win over Frenchman Stephane Robert, in front of an appreciative capacity crowd of around 16,000 spectators.
“The beginning was difficult, just because I’ve never played him before so I’m not sure about his patterns,” ninth seed Federer said in a courtside interview.
“I was very happy I was able to loosen up and play good tennis. I started to serve really well, move around the court great.”
While it was Federer’s first match against Robert, he is far more familiar with Nadal. They have met 35 times, with Nadal holding a 23-12 edge.
Needing to win their respective third-round matches for a 36th meeting to happen, Nadal next faces 26th-seeded compatriot Fernando Verdasco, while Federer plays American 24th seed Steve Johnson.
“For sure I saw the draw,” a relaxed Nadal said, adding that he was not really focused on Federer.
“I go day-by-day. That’s my way, to focus on my next match. I played I think a solid match (today).”



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