Federer strolls at Indian Wells, Davydenko exits
Russia’s Nikolay Davydenko became the highest seed to exit the Pacific Life Open but three-times champion Roger Federer barely broke sweat in reaching the fourth round on Tuesday.
Davydenko, the fourth seed and world number four, was swept aside by American Mardy Fish 6-3 6-2 in an evening match lasting 75 minutes on the showpiece Stadium Court.
Fish, who lost to the Russian in their only previous career meeting, will next meet twice winner Lleyton Hewitt of Australia who recovered from a slow start to beat Russia’s Mikhail Youzhny 7-5 6-4.
“I felt like I played well,” Fish, ranked 98th in the world, told reporters after winning four of his five break point opportunities. “I stayed aggressive and my game is kind of tailored to playing aggressive.
“I’m always pushing and I’m always kind of nagging at him, not really giving him much opportunity to take control of points and stuff.
“He’s pretty comfortable with dictating play and doesn’t come in much. I really feel like I took that away from him today and turned it right around on him.”
Crowd favourite and top seed Federer, back in action at Indian Wells after recovering from illness, outclassed Mahut in only 53 minutes.
“I enjoy matches like this,” the Swiss world number one said after setting up a fourth-round clash with big-serving Croat Ivan Ljubicic who upset 15th-seeded Tommy Robredo 6-3 6-4.
“Having the sensation like I had today toward the end of the second set when you feel everything’s going your way, you’ve got his game perfectly figured out and everything you’re trying to do sort of works as well, it’s just a good feeling.
“I was really happy to break that often and I had no problems whatsoever on my own serve,” added the 26-year-old after unleashing nine aces and winning 23 out of 24 points on his first serve.
“It was a perfect match really for me.”
Federer, who had competed in only two tournaments this season after succumbing to glandular fever, broke Mahut twice to sweep through the opening set.
The Swiss again broke the Frenchman in the third, fifth and seventh games of the second to ease into the fourth round.
A protracted rally in the fifth game underlined the near-impossible task facing Mahut when Federer, at full stretch on his forehand, delivered a pinpoint topspin lob to win the point.
Champion at Indian Wells for three years in a row from 2004, Federer has cruised through his first two matches this week for the loss of just seven games.
“I am excited being back, happy to be playing well,” he said. “I feel like I did at the Australian Open after my first couple of matches but this time I’m more sure I’m over the sickness whereas in Australia it was really quite extreme.”
In other matches on Tuesday, 11th-seeded Briton Andy Murray beat Croat Ivo Karlovic 7-6 6-7 6-3 and will next face Germany’s Tommy Haas, who defeated Spaniard Fernando Verdasco 7-6 4-6 6-1.
Seventh-seeded David Nalbandian of Argentina scraped past Czech Radek Stepanek 7-6 0-6 7-6 while Juan Carlos Ferrero of Spain edged out Croat Mario Ancic 7-5 4-6 7-6. - Reuters