A showdown between two former Indian Wells champion is just one match away as both Rafa Nadal and Roger Federer reached the Indian Wells Masters quarter-finals with ease out in the Californian desert.
Conditions are tough with the glare, and the jump of the ball it's sometimes hard to find the rhythm and timing. Roger Federer
Nadal the world No.2, powered his way past Serbian qualifier Filip Krajinovic 6-3 6-4 to make the last eight in just 86-minutes. The Spaniard has yet to lose a set.
That is also the case with Federer, seeded four, who required 64-minutes to dispose of Britain’s No.1 Kyle Edmund 6-1 6-4.
The Swiss Maestro, a five-time champion in California, is now chasing his 101st career title, saved all seven break points that he faced, winning 79% of his first serve points.
Edmund made the worst start possible, delivering two consecutive double faults in his opening service game.
With Federer’s serve well on song, the world No.4 eased into a 5-0 lead before Edmund secured his first game to slow down what looked set to become a whitewash win for Federer.
But Edmund having recovered his poise pushed the 20-time grand slam winner much harder in the second, forcing Federer to fight off three break points when he was serving for the match.
“He didn’t have the best start, so that cost him the first set,” Federer said later. “Second set, it was definitely better. I think he probably struggled throughout a little bit. He never really got going.
“Conditions are tough with the glare, and the jump of the ball it’s sometimes hard to find the rhythm and timing.”
Federer will fight for a semi-final berth against 22-year-old Pole Hubert Hurkacz, who, ranked 67th in the world, sent 25th-ranked Canadian Denis Shapovalov home after defeating the young Canadian 7-6(3) 2-6 6-3.
Although he’ll be an overwhelming favourite against Hurkacz, who had also ousted the eighth seeded Kei Nishikori 4-6 6-4 6-3 in the previous round, Federer said he wouldn’t take a semi-final meeting with Nadal for granted.
“I hope I can get there,” Federer said, “but I’m not going to underestimate Hubert.”
Nada was also happy with his performance on what was a windy day but didn’t believe it was as good as when he defeated Diego Schwartzman 6-3 6-1 in the third round.
Krajinovic, ranked 113 and a qualifier for this, the first of the year’s Masters events, was outplayed from the start as he was broken comfortably early in both sets and failed to convert the only break point he gained.
Nadal will take on next the 13th-ranked Russian Karen Khachanov, who beat world number nine John Isner 6-4 7-6 (1).
In other action 19-year-old Miomir Kecmanovic, ranked 130, kept the Serbian flag flying following the surprise third round departure of Novak Djokovic at the hands of Philip Kohlschreiber.
The youngster is the first ‘Lucky Loser’ to each the last eight at Indian Wells since the Masters 1000 series were launched in 1990, and now faces Milos Raonic, a 6-4 6-3 winner over Jan-Lennard Struff.
Finally Dominic Thiem felled the big-serving Ivo Karlovic 6-4 6-3 in their first meeting.
The Austrian commented later: “I felt pretty confident on my own service games. That’s what I transferred also to the return games. I made two breaks in the right moment I would say.”
Thiem will next face the18th-seeded Frenchman Gael Monfils who halted the unseeded Philipp Kohlschreiber’s run following the German’s stunning 6-4 6-4 victory over the world number one Novak Djokovic last Tuesday.