Indian Wells: Roger Federer delivers a masterclass performance to beat Rafael Nadal
Federer beat Rafael Nadal 6-2, 6-3; to face Nick Kyrgios in the next round.
An imperious Roger Federer delivered a masterclass as he beat Rafael Nadal 6-2, 6-3 in the fourth round of the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells, California on Wednesday. The 9th seed will now face the 15th seeded Nick Kyrgios, who had earlier caused a major upset by inflicting a 6-4, 7-6(3) defeat over the defending champion Novak Djokovic.
This was the second time that Federer and Nadal met in two months after their blockbuster five-setter final at the Australian Open in January where the Swiss captured his 18th Slam title. This is also the first time in his career that he prevailed over Nadal in three consecutive matches.
Federer breaks Nadal in very first game
Federer picked up from where he had left in Australia. The backhand that became the talking point during his final win over his greatest nemesis, was what was the biggest difference-maker even in this match.
By striking his crosscourt backhands early and with relentless abandon, he nullified Nadal’s attempts to hurt him with his heavy topspin forehands. That put the Spaniard in a spot and injected fear into the southpaw while the 18-time Grand Slam soared higher and higher.
In the 34 matches that they played prior to this year, Nadal would on most occasions dictate the match with his forehands, forcing Federer to go on the back foot and develop a mental block. With Federer finding the confidence on his backhands, the picture is completely different now.
The Swiss maestro set the tone of the match right from the first game. Making his intentions clear, the four-time Indian Wells champion came fast out of the blocks and drew first blood to go 1-0 up. The Spaniard did have his chance in the very next game but Federer was determined enough to not squander his advantage.
That early 2-0 lead told the story of the match.
Nadal never found his rhythm and could not settle into the match, while Federer looked calm and poised.
A dialled-in Federer kept ripping his backhands, suffocating the 14-time Grand Slam champion on the opposite side of the net. Federer dominated the rest of the set, carving out yet another break of serve to grab the first set 6-2.
If Nadal fans were hoping for a reprieve from the Federer onslaught in the second set, they were in for a major disappointment. The Spanish ace could do nothing to change the situation. Bolstered by his first set show, Federer struck early again for a 3-1 advantage from which Nadal failed to recover.
Nadal was not even given a single break point opportunity in the whole set and it was evident that he had pretty much run out of options. With Nadal serving to stay in the match, Federer broke again to wrap up the stunning win in just 1 hour 8 minutes.