Federer, Nadal and Murray all make it look rather easy, but Wawrinka leaves early.
Roger Federer made it look easy in his match at Indian Wells, but his fellow countryman Stanislas Wawrinka was the first big name to be eliminated. The world No2 is well on his way to achieving a record fifth title after ridding himself of Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman 6-4, 6-2 in a match that lasted a little over an hour. Seventh seeded Wawrinka, however, was knocked out of the ATP Masters 1000 event, losing 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 to Dutchman Robin Haase. Rafael Nadal, a three-times champion at Indian Wells, also advanced in comfortable fashion as he demolished the Dutchman Igor Sijsling 6-4, 6-2 in just 72 minutes.
Federer treated the spectators to an array of his familiar blistering forehands, clean-hit backhands, power serving and delicate drop shots as he broke Schwartzman once in the opening set and twice in the second. “I think I did very well,” Federer said courtside after ending the match with a crunching forehand winner down the line. “It was a bit breezy and you had to be careful at times but it’s good to get a first win. It was important to get off to a good start. I just tried to stay focused and stay aggressive on returns, although that’s not always easy.”
Federer, will next face Italy’s Andreas Seppi, who stunned him with a four-set defeat in the third round of the Australian Open in January. “I’m happy to play him again,” Federer said of the 30th-ranked Seppi, I was very disappointed with the performance I had in Australia. I hope this time around it’s going to go better for me. I will be prepared, there is no doubt about that.” A top tennis prediction would have Federer comfortably through regardless of what happened in Australia.
Wawrinka, who clinched his first grand slam singles title at last year’s Australian Open was broken twice by Haase in the opening set and also in the third to be ousted after one hour and 48 minutes. Haase, who had been beaten by Wawrinka in all six of their previous meetings, will next play the Czech Lukas Rosol, who battled past Slovakia’s
Andy Murray also made it through against Phillip Kohlschreiber, racing through the first set in 25 minutes but his opponent fought back in the second and it took almost two hours for Murray to finally win 6-1, 3-6, 6-1. Murray admitted he was not at his best in the hot conditions but felt like he was in control. “In the first set I was dictating the rallies, the ball was bouncing high and I was pushing him away,” he said. “In the second set there was a break point at 3-3, it gave him confidence, but in the third set I started dictating points again and getting good height on the ball.” Murray conceded only one of the seven break points he faced but committed five double faults to help Kohlschreiber extend the match.
“I feel I can serve better, serve smarter than I did today,” he said. “Philipp’s not one of the taller players so when I can get it to bounce high it makes it tough for him on the return.” Murray will next face the Frenchman Adrian Mannarino, who reached a career high No36 in the world rankings earlier this season and who beat Latvia’s Ernests Gulbis 6-4, 6-4 in the third round, and the best tennis tipster would suggest another win for the Scotsman.