EARLY SHOW­DOWN

New Straits Times - - Sport -

five break points. Ver­dasco, who won eight straight points for a 32 lead in the sec­ond set, had seven dou­ble faults.

Nadal called it un­lucky that he and Fed­erer were to play be­fore the quar­ter-fi­nals. The Spa­niard leads the ri­valry 23-12, in­clud­ing a 9-8 edge on hard­courts.

“It doesn’t mat­ter if every­body is play­ing well be­cause from our part of the draw, only one of us is go­ing to be in that semi-fi­nals,” Nadal said. “So that’s tough, but that’s not hap­pen­ing ev­ery week. Only thing we can do to avoid that is be in higher po­si­tion of the rank­ing.”

French Open cham­pion Gar­bine Mugu­ruza of Spain planned to watch the lat­est chap­ter in the Fed­erer-Nadal ri­valry.

“I think every­body is go­ing to watch that match,” she said. “Every­body likes Rafa. Every­body likes Roger. It’s his­tory over there.”

Venus Wil­liams ad­vanced to the quar­ter-fi­nals for the first time since 2001 with a 3-6, 6-1, 6-3 vic­tory over Shuai Peng, the last re­main­ing qual­i­fier in the draw. She had 40 win­ners, 40 un­forced er­rors and won the fi­nal four games of the match af­ter trail­ing 3-2.

“It was so frus­trat­ing,” Venus said. “But I feel like I got my fo­cus more in that sec­ond set and to­wards the end of the third be­cause I’m just a com­peti­tor. If things get closer, then I think my bet­ter ten­nis is go­ing to come.”

Venus ended her 15-year boy­cott of the event last year, when she lost in the sec­ond round.

In other women’s matches, No 3 seed Karolina Pliskova ad­vanced when 15th-seeded Timea Bac­sin­szky re­tired trail­ing 5-1 in the first set; Gar­bine de­feated No 10 Elina Svi­tolina 7-6 (5), 1-6, 6-0; No 19 Anas­ta­sia Pav­lyuchenkova out­lasted No 5 Do­minika Cibulkova 6-4, 3-6, 6-3; and No 8 Svet­lana Kuznetsova beat 21stseeded Caro­line Gar­cia.

On the men’s side, No 4 seed Kei Nishikori routed 25th-seeded Gilles Muller 6-2, 6-2; Amer­i­can Don­ald Young de­feated 14thseeded Lu­cas Pouille 6-4, 1-6, 6-3; No 15 Nick Kyr­gios beat No 18 Alexan­der Zverev 6-3, 6-4; and Malek Jaziri got by Amer­i­can wild­card Tay­lor Fritz 6-4, 3-6, 63. AP

AFP PIC

Roger Fed­erer in ac­tion against Steve Johnson in In­dian Wells on Tues­day.

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