Tuesday, March 19 2019

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Federer, Nadal, steam into Indian Wells quarter-finals

Update: March, 14/2019 - 11:00
Spain’s world number two Rafael Nadal is into the ATP Indian Wells Masters quarter-finals after a 6-3, 6-4 win over Serbian qualifier Filip Krajinovic. — AFP Photo
Viet Nam News

INDIAN WELLS, United States — Former champions Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal edged closer to a blockbuster semi-final showdown at the ATP Indian Wells Masters on Wednesday with brisk fourth-round wins.

World number two Nadal overpowered Serbian qualifier Filip Krajinovic 6-3, 6-4 to book his quarter-final berth in one hour and 26 minutes.

Federer, seeking a record sixth title in the California desert, needed just 64 minutes to get past Britain’s Kyle Edmund 6-1, 6-4.

Nadal said his performance on a windy stadium court wasn’t as good as his 6-3, 6-1 third-round win over Argentine Diego Schwartzman.

But he was more than a match for 113th-ranked Krajinovic, breaking him early in each set and saving the only break point he faced.

Nadal, who lifted the Indian Wells trophy in 2007, 2008 and 2013, is in the last eight for the first time in three years after missing last year’s edition, skipping both Indian Wells and the Miami Masters with a hip injury.

He next will take on 13th-ranked Russian Karen Khachanov, who beat world number nine John Isner 6-4, 7-6 (7/1).

Khachanov produced just one ace to the big-serving American’s 12 but stretched his record over Isner to 4-0.

Fourth-seeded Federer, fresh off his 100th career title, looked poised to finish off Edmund in less than an hour.

But the Swiss great had to fight off three break points as he served for the match before getting the job done on his first match point.

"I was nervous, it’s OK to admit," he said. "I was holding serve quite comfortably all day, Kyle came out and played a great last game."

Federer will fight for a semi-final berth against 22-year-old Pole Hubert Hurkacz.

Hurkacz, ranked 67th in the world, sent 25th-ranked Canadian Denis Shapovalov packing 7-6 (7/3), 2-6, 6-3.

Aggressive Andreescu

Bianca Andreescu’s breakout season continued Wednesday as the Canadian teenager swept past two-time Grand Slam champion Garbine Muguruza and into the Indian Wells WTA semi-finals.

Andreescu, 18 and ranked 60th in the world, won the first nine games on the way to a 6-0, 6-1 victory that took just 52 minutes.

She reached her third semi-final of the season after a run to the final in Auckland and the last four in Acapulco.

"I just went out there, went for it," Andreescu said. "I didn’t focus on who was on the other side.

"It really helped me. I used my serve to my advantage. She didn’t serve so well today, so I took advantage that as well."

Andreescu, who began 2019 ranked 152nd in the world, is now headed for the top 40.

The win over Muguruza, now ranked 20th, followed a victory over 18th-ranked Wang Qiang of China in the fourth round and took her win-loss record to a remarkable 26-3 in 2019, including qualifying matches.

"I had a good day," Andreescu said. "She didn’t have such a good day. I felt she was holding back a lot so I just kept putting pressure. She just kept missing."

Muguruza said the overall quality of Andreescu’s game was just too much.

"I struggled to find a way to turn things around, because she was keeping her high level all the time," Muguruza said.

Andreescu could get a shot at a top-10 player in the semi-finals, or she could find herself up against another fast-rising teen.

She’ll take on the winner of Wednesday’s match between seventh-ranked Ukrainian Elina Svitolina and 19-year-old Czech Marketa Vondrousova.

Vondrousova, who reached her second WTA final in Budapest in February, arrived in California ranked 61 in the world and is also projected to crack the top 40 by reaching the semis.

The remaining quarter-finals will be played on Thursday, with Belinda Bencic taking on Karolina Pliskova and Venus Williams facing Angelique Kerber in a battle of former world number ones. — AFP 

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