INDIAN WELLS: Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal both battled through three-set thrillers yesterday to set up a mouth-watering quarter-final at Indian Wells.
Defending champion Federer defeated fellow Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka 6-3, 6-7 (4-7), 7-5, labouring over two hours to subdue his old friend.
Meanwhile, Nadal outlasted the in-form Latvian Ernests Gulbis 4-6, 6-4, 7-5.
“I think I was a little lucky to come through it in the end,” conceded Federer. “Overall I’m very pleased that I was able to play today at a high level.”
In qualifier Gulbis, Nadal came up against a red-hot player who had won the Delray Beach title as a qualifier the week before Indian Wells and toppled two seeds en route to this meeting.
“It’s always a difficult match against Gulbis,” said Nadal. “He’s a very, very aggressive player with a big serve.”
The other two of the “big four” of men’s tennis also reached the quarter-finals of the men’s singles event.
World-number-three Novak Djokovic defeated American Sam Querrey 6-0, 7-6 (8-6), while third-seed Andy Murray beat unseeded Argentinian Carlos Berlocq 7-6 (7-4), 6-4.
Then came Maria Sharapova’s 7-6 (8-6), 6-2 victory over Italy’s Sara Errani to reach the semi-finals of the women’s event.
“I’m giving myself an opportunity to be back in the final, and hopefully I will go farther this time,” said Sharapova, who was runner-up to Victoria Azarenka last year.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 15th, 2013.