Djokovic, Nadal, Federer reach Indian Wells quarters
By Bill Scott Mar 15, 2012, 2:23 GMT
Indian Wells, California - Top seed Novak Djokovic and number two Rafael Nadal moved into the quarter-finals of the Indian Wells Masters as third seed Roger Federer joined in with his second consecutive three-set comeback win to complete a victory hat-trick on Wednesday.
Holder Djokovic admittedly ran hot and cold in a 6-0, 6-7 (5-7), 6-2 win over Spain's Pablo Andujar. Nadal tamed the 'funny' game of Alexandr Dolgopolov of the Ukraine 6-3, 6-2.
Federer, suffering with slight illness but improving in recent days, joined his elite-class colleagues with a 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 defeat of Brazilian Thomaz Bellucci.
As he did 24 hours earlier against Milos Raonic, the Swiss lost the first set but began a fightback immediately with a break to start the second.
'It's great to come through another three setter,' said the treble champion at the tournament. 'I thought Thomaz played great, he really gave me a test.
'It was tough to make the transition form night to a day match and I'm certainly relieved and happy to be through to the quarters.'
Djokovic ran off seven straight games as he won the opening set in 27 minutes against the 45th-ranked Andujar and moved out to a lead in the second set.
'I played one of the better sets in the last couple of months in the first set,' said the winner of 10 titles in 2011. 'He surprised me with his aggressive approach. He was taking the ball early and was playing well.'
But Andujar, who missed seven break point chances in the set, managed to level the sets at one apiece with a forehand winner to the corner, Djokovic finally regained control to eventually earn the victory in two and a quarter hours.
'In the second set, I start playing a little bit more defensive, and I think that allowed him to come back to the match. In the third set I regrouped, I managed to stay calm mentally and just to find my rhythm again.'
Djokovic will next face another Spaniard in 12th seed Nicolas Almagro, who upset number seven Czech Tomas Berdych 6-4, 6-0.
Djokovic, who lost the semi-finals of his last event in Dubai to Andy Murray as he tries to duplicate his record-setting 2011 season, improved to 13-1 on the season.
Nadal had a smooth win over Dolgopolov and needs one more win to advance to a seventh semi-final at the event.
'He's very difficult to play against,' said the Spaniard. 'He can hit winners from all parts of the court. He's a funny player, but very good for the game.
'I started a bit slow but he had some backhand errors which helped me a bit.'
Argentine David Nalbandian stunned French sixth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in a 3-6, 7-5, 6-3 comeback to next play Nadal. Tsonga had served for victory in the second set but was broken as he hit the slippery slope to defeat.
American 11th seed John Isner, one step away from a career-first Top 10 ranking, continued quiet progress as he beat Australian Matthew Ebden 6-4, 7-5.
Women's top seed Victoria Azarenka of Belarus crushed number five Agnieszka Radwanska 6-0, 6-2.
The win was the 21st without a defeat this season for Azarenka while the 20-4 mark of Radwanska has only been marred by losses to her rival.
'I played really good today, I was executing my shots brilliantly, and I was going for whatever was coming at me,' said Azarenka. 'I really had a clear mind and clear game plan of what I had to do.'
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