FED­ERER, NADAL IN

Top guns ad­vance to cross swords

New Straits Times - - Sport -

IN­DIAN WELLS

Fed­erer is a four-time cham­pion at In­dian Wells who won his last ti­tle in 2012. He de­feated Nadal in the Aus­tralian Open fi­nal in Jan­uary for his record 18th Grand Slam ti­tle. This meet­ing will be the ear­li­est they have played since their first match in 2004 at Mi­ami, where Nadal won.

“Be­cause it’s early in the tour­na­ment, I think we both don’t quite yet know to 100 per cent how ev­ery­thing feels,” Fed­erer said. “There is a bit of the un­known, which is ex­cit­ing maybe for the fans to see how we’re go­ing to try to fig­ure that part out.”

Fed­erer hit 32 win­ners against Johnson, in­clud­ing a forehand vol­ley that earned him a mini­break in the first set tiebreaker. He won five of the next six points and closed out the set on Johnson’s desperate back­hand lob that landed wide.

Johnson held at 6-6 to force the sec­ond tiebreaker and fell be­hind 4-2. He broke Fed­erer for a 4-4 tie be­fore Fed­erer won on his sec­ond match point when Johnson net­ted a back­hand.

“In the sec­ond set, I think he was serv­ing al­most 90 per cent at one point,” Fed­erer said. “That’s why I changed my po­si­tion on the re­turn. I was try­ing to mix it up a bit.”

Nadal closed out his 90minute, third-round match in 35C heat with a forehand win­ner.

Nadal won 80 per cent of his first-serve points and three of

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