Friday 28 April 2017

Federer hits heights to blow Nadal off the court

Switzerland's Roger Federer. Photo: Mark J. Terrill/AP Photo
Switzerland's Roger Federer. Photo: Mark J. Terrill/AP Photo

Nigel Whittaker

Roger Federer registered a third successive win over Rafael Nadal for the first time - and he was left purring after dismantling his great rival with a scintillating display to reach the quarter-finals of the Paribas Open in Indian Wells, hitting 26 winners in a 6-2, 6-4 success.

Question marks were hanging over Federer's glittering career when he missed the second half of last season due to injury problems, but the 35-year-old answered those with a stunning comeback win in the Australian Open, where he beat Nadal in an epic final.

That went to five sets in Melbourne, but the Swiss needed just over an hour to get the better of the Spaniard this time in arguably his best performance of any of the 36 instalments of this lasting rivalry.

Wicked

In a match where conditions were supposed to favour Nadal's wicked topspin forehand, Federer hit his opponent off the court.

The tone was set in the opening game where Federer sent down two scorching backhand winners to take Nadal's serve, and a second break soon after wrapped up the set in just 36 minutes.

Two more breaks followed in the second set, the second of which sealed the win, with match point being converted with another sizzling backhand winner.

Federer's reward for the victory is a last-eight meeting with Australian Nick Krygios, who stunned Novak Djokovic with a superb 6-4, 7-6 win.

The world No 2 was unbeaten in 20 games in the desert, which included winning the last three titles, going back to 2013, but the Australian was too good for him in sweltering conditions. It was the second successive win for Krygios over the Serb.

Irish Independent

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