(March 15, 2017) Ninth seed Roger Federer took out fifth seed Rafael Nadal 6-2, 6-3 in a fourth-round match at the BNP Paribas Open on Wednesday. This was the first time since the 2004 third round in Miami that they met so early in a tournament. For the Swiss, it was his thirteenth win over the Spaniard in thirty-six attempts. For the first time in their rivalry, it’s the third straight victory over Nadal for Federer. Federer beat Nadal in the final of the Australian Open at the end of January.
“It’s a nice feeling to win the last three. I can tell you that,” said Federer.
“But most importantly, I won Australia. That was big for me. On the comeback, I look back at that and think that was one of the coolest things I ever experienced in my career.
“Basel was special, too, for many reasons, because I used to be ballboy there. I never played Rafa prior to that finals.
“Then now, here, after the Australian hype, you know, to play here in America right away, all of them are very special.
“I mean, all the matches that we have played are unique in many ways for both of us, winning or losing. So I take it. Obviously can’t celebrate too long this time around. I have to get back to work in a couple of days.”
Federer broke Nadal’s serve a total of four times, twice in each set for the win in 68 minutes.
“The main thing he take the break in the first game, and I had break point in the next game and come back and he had a good serve,” said Nadal.
“When Roger have advantage, his serve is so good, he has a lot of confidence with his serve, he’s able to play much more relaxed, no?
“Worst thing in that match for me was from the beginning I was in disadvantage breaking the first game of the match, and then breaking the second game of the second set. So that’s so difficult to play against Roger this way.”
“It was all about coming out and trying to play the way I did in Australia,” said Federer to media. “I didn’t think it was going to be that possible, to be quite honest, because the court is more jumpy here or more rough, let’s say, so it’s hard to put the ball away.
“I have seen, as well, like against Johnson yesterday, when you serve well and stay on the offensive and you press, you can actually play some really good, aggressive tennis here.
“It’s hard to dig your way out of defense, because the ball doesn’t skid on you as an attacker, and I think I did well again today. You know, I said yesterday it was more a sprint than a marathon. So getting in the lead was crucial, and then staying on the offense and pressing was the goal for me.
“Once I got the break in the second set, obviously you had to be very careful you didn’t get down double break. And I was able to hold my serve, and he couldn’t find a way how to get into my service games more frequently. Next thing you know, it’s all over. It was a really good performance by me, I thought.”
Three-time defending Indian Wells champ Novak Djokovic had his 19-match winning streak at the tournament snapped by 15th seed Nick Kyrgios 6-4, 7-6(3).
“Well, the run was amazing,” said Djokovic. “I am very proud of it, obviously. It had to end at some stage. Unfortunately, it was today.
“Well, Nick, again, as he did in Acapulco earlier, few weeks ago, he served so well. Just wasn’t managing to get a lot of balls back on his serve, first and second, as well.
“So I guess that’s what made a difference.”
The number two seed fell victim to the Australian for the second time in two weeks. Kyrgios beat Djokovic in Acapulco.
“I guess conditions like today where the ball travels through the air very fast and it bounces very high, you know, it’s a gamble,” said the Serb.
“And on his first serves, to try to anticipate and read his serve, where he’s going to go 140 miles per hour down the T and also pretty good angle wide, so it’s hard to position yourself well. Let’s call it that way. It is a gamble.
“His second serve, if you think you’re going to have a look at it, you don’t, because he goes for it, as well. He didn’t make too many double faults.
“As I said, you know, in this kind of conditions, it’s quite suitable for the server. Puts a lot of pressure on your service games. You know, you need to deliver and you can’t fold, which I did in the opening game of the match. Obviously, the dynamic of the match already went his way in the first/second game.
“Yeah, it was hard to come back from that one, although I did have my chances, did have some 30-Alls and deuces. I don’t think I reached a break point, but I did have some close games on his serves, but I just wasn’t able to deliver what was important at that stage.”
Kyrgios hit 14 aces against Djokovic.
“I knew it was going to be a tough battle today,” said Kyrgios. “I knew he wanted to come out there and obviously after Acapulco to come out there and win.
“The conditions are completely different here than they are in Acapulco. I don’t think I served anywhere near as I did in Acapulco. I fought for every point, and obviously we were a bit — I think both of us were a bit nervous at times.
“I thought it was a pretty good match. I played the crucial points pretty well. Obviously I just served well again. Yeah, it was good to get through.”
Kyrgios will take on Federer for a place in the semifinals. Kyrgios is 1-0 against the 18-time major champion.
No. 3 seed Stan Wawrinka had to battle back from two breaks in the third set to defeat lucky loser Yoshihito Nishioka 3-6, 6-3, 7-6(4) to advance.
“Well, was really tough match, of course, ” said Wawrinka. “He served twice for the match. He had breaker in the third.
“I wasn’t playing great. I was not moving well at the beginning. I was a little bit hesitating with my game. I think in general in the third set I played better than the two first sets. I got, I would say, maybe to break a little bit quick especially at 5-5.
“But in general I was finding a little bit better my game. I was playing a little bit more aggressive. I was more calm, making more long rally.
“Again, I’m really happy to get through for sure. You have to be a little bit lucky when he served twice for the match, but I’m happy to fight well enough to give me a chance to play tomorrow night.”
Other men reaching the elite 8 of Indian Wells includes: No. 4 seed Kei Nishikori, who defeated Donald Young 6-2, 6-4, No. 8 seed Dominic Thiem dominated No. 10 seed Gael Monfils 6-3, 6-2, No. 17 seed Jack Sock who won 4-6, 7-6(1), 7-5 over Malek Jaziri, No. 21 Pablo Carreno Busta, beating qualifier Dusan Lajovic, and No. 27 Pablo Cuevas knocking out No, 11 seed David Goffin 6-3, 3-6, 6-3.
In women’s play, Karolina Pliskova and Svetlana Kuznetsova advanced to the semifinals. In a very tight match, the No. 3 seed Pliskova defeated No. 7 Garbine Muguruza 7-6, 7-6.
“Definitely the best match for me in this tournament,” said the Czech. “Also, like, it was good player, so the level ultimately goes a little bit more up, little better player.
“So definitely from the baseline I think was fine. But, yeah, the way how I was finishing those sets, I’m not happy with that, because I was serving into both. In the second one I was serving twice.
“Even 40-15 up, I don’t think it can happen with my serve. Like, anything is possible in tennis, but I just have to serve few times. I had a good rally once on my forehand.
“So, yeah, a little bit unlucky, but, yeah, just not happy with the way how it finished, but happy how I, in the end, still stayed there.
“And the tiebreaks, especially in the second one was not easy, because I had in my head, I had some match points and I had 5-2. So, yeah, so happy that I stayed there and closed it in the second tiebreak, as well.
“And obviously my serve not really good today, as the whole tournament.”
Kuznetsova defeated Russian countrywoman Anastasia Pavyluchenkova 6-3, 6-2.