Roger Federer put up yet another brilliant display of tennis as he beat archrival Rafael Nadal 6-2, 6-3, on Wednesday, to reach the quarterfinals at Indian Wells. The Swiss legend will now meet Australian Nick Kyrgios, who defeated World No.2 Novak Djokovic to set up the match against Federer.
The Swiss, who found a new lease of life at the Rod Laver Arena in January this year, by defeating Nadal in the summit clash of the Australian Open, had his task cut out yesterday to show the world that the Aussie Open victory was not a one-off and he still has it in him to win big matches. With a quarter-final spot at stake, Federer came out all guns blazing right from the start.
Federer went a break up in the very first game and survived a break point of his own in the next one to take a 2-0 lead early on. Nadal was struggling to get his serve right and was punished for it when the Swiss secured a second break off a return winner to take a 4-1 lead. Two back-to-back forehand winners, from Federer, brought up two set points as the 35-year-old closed out the first set 6-2 in just 34 minutes.
But with a strong determination to make a comeback, something that has defined the Fedal rivalry, Nadal started the second set with a forehand winner and backed it up with an ace to take the lead at 1-0. But Federer wasn't to be denied a victory this time. After leveling the set at 1-1, Federer broke the Spaniard for a third time in the match to take an early 2-1 lead in the second set.
Nadal was struggling to put any sort of pressure on Federer's serve while being hustled and hurried on his own. The Spaniard was finally put of his misery when Federer broke him for the fourth time in the match to book a place in the quarter-final of the event. The victory also marked the first time that Federer has beat Nadal three times in a row in their 36 head-to-head meetings. After winning the game, Federer said that it was a nice feeling to win three consecutive matches against Nadal, who has generally dominated the contests between the two players.
"It's a nice feeling to win the last three. I can tell you that. After the Australian hype, to play here in America right away, all of them are very special.
"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 said after the game.
The Swiss will now take on Nick Kyrgios in the quarter-finals after the Aussie youngster beat the top seed, Novak Djokovic in straight sets in the earlier game. Federer said that he is very impressed with Kyrgios’ ability calling him a big-match player.
"I'm very impressed him taking out Novak, back-to-back weeks, on Novak's best surface," said Federer. "I hope it's going to lead to something great for Nick. That he realizes if he puts his head down and focuses that he can bring it day in and day out, week in and week out.
"That's maybe going to take a bit more time, but just that he can run through tournaments, that's why he can win tournaments because when it matters the most against the best and in finals, he's there. Eventually, he will need that, but that's a great quality to have already now.”