A third successive win for the GOAT against his great rival Rafael Nadal as he moved into the Indian Wells Quarter Finals with a 6-2, 6-3 win in just over an hour.
It was a scintillating performance from the Swiss who fired 26 winners and set the tone by breaking in the opening game to win through in style and set up a tie with Nick Kyrgios who defeated Novak Djokovic for the second tournament in a row.
Quick Match Recap
Federer won the toss and chose sides. Nadal elected to serve and got off to the worst possible start by dropping serve. The Spaniard created an immediate break point back opportunity, but Roger came up with three good serves to hold from 30-40.
With a 3-1 lead, Roger was moving brilliantly and playing with total freedom as he cracked three backhand winners in game 5 to land a double break including a peach of a backhand down the line on break point. A SABR followed in his next return game which drew gasps from the crowd, and he went on to take the set 6-2.
Nadal usually finds something extra when he's under the cosh, but in set 2 Roger's dominance continued as he broke in game 3 with a sweet forehand before consolidating for 3-1. The combination of the Swiss holding comfortably and pressuring in every return game finally proved too much for Nadal who was broken for the second time when serving to stay in the match at 3-5 as Roger booked his spot in the Quarter Finals.
|Roger Federer||Rafael Nadal|
|First Serve Percent||56% (25/45)||59% (32/54)|
|1st Serve Points Won||76% (19/25)||56% (18/32)|
|2nd Serve Points Won||75% (15/20)||59% (13/22)|
|Break Points Saved||100% (1/1)||20% (1/5)|
|Service Games Played||8||9|
|1st Serve Return Points Won||44% (14/32)||24% (6/25)|
|2nd Serve Return Points Won||41% (9/22)||25% (5/20)|
|Break Points Converted||80% (4/5)||0% (0/1)|
|Return Games Played||9||8|
|Total Service Points Won||76% (34/45)||57% (31/54)|
|Total Return Points Won||43% (23/54)||24% (11/45)|
|Total Points Won||58% (57/99)||42% (42/99)|
Shot of the Match
Thoughts on the Match
For me, it was all about coming out and trying to play the way I did in Australia. I didn't think it was going to be that possible, to be quite honest, because the court is more jumpy here so it's hard to put the ball away. So getting in the lead was crucial, and then staying on the offence and pressing was the goal for me. It was a really good performance by me, I thought.
A brilliant performance here to back up his win in Australia. The final in Melbourne was a hard fought win that required Fed to dig deep and believe in his game plan in the most difficult moments, but this match was just a masterclass where he hit Nadal off the court.
Like the Australian Open final, it once again stemmed from his backhand return. Nadal wasn't able to win any free points on serve and had no safe areas to play into when he needed to neutralise Federer's aggressive gameplan. He was behind in virtually every rally after the first couple of shots and Roger didn't take his foot off the gas. He then backed it up with his serve which was as solid as ever, only facing one break point in the match and with that, there was only ever going to be one winner.
Like I said in my quick preview the court favoured Nadal as it's slow (Hawkeye's Court Pace Index shows Indian Wells at 27.3 compared to Melbourne's 45) but Federer didn't let Nadal's grinding topspin factor. His average hit point was a couple of feet inside the baseline throughout the match, and with the ball travelling quickly through the air he was able to play on his terms.
Just a top notch performance from the first ball to the last. The bad news? A performance like that only puts him into the Quarter Final!
Predictions vs. Kyrgios
Next up is Kyrgios who defeated Djokovic for the second successive tournament and broke the Serb's 19 match winning streak in Indian Wells. Djokovic wasn't able to fashion a single break point in the match with Kyrgios's serve proving the difference as he came through 6-4 7-6(3).
The Aussie leads the H2H against Fed 1-0 after defeating him in Madrid in 2015 which was a bit of a weird match so I don't think it affects what happens here.
Kyrgios has been serving brilliantly lately, and there's no real discernible difference between his first and second serve which makes it tough for the returner. Fed usually handles the big servers, but Kyrgios has quite a few other weapons in his arsenal, so he will need to protect his serve well and make Kyrgios feel like he's the guy having to work harder to hold.
We know the Aussie is streaky enough to win games and even matches in the blink of an eye, but he does blow hot and cold and even just one moment of magic from Federer could take his mind out of kilter and allow Fed to take control, so we'll see what happens. Based on today's performance I'll pick Fed to come through in three tight sets.