|Tennis: Nadal makes it look easy|
16 March 2012
Rafael Nadal raced into the Indian Wells quarter-finals with a dominating win, while Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer each needed three sets to beat their unseeded opponents.
The big three progressed in the California desert with world number two Nadal storming into the quarters by beating 21st-seeded Alexandr Dolgopolov 6-3, 6-2 in just 76 minutes.
World number three Federer scrambled for the second-straight day to eliminate an up-and-comer he was facing for the first time, coming from behind to beat Brazil’s Thomaz Bellucci 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.
Defending champ and world number one Djokovic lost a second set tie-breaker en route to a 6-0, 6-7 (5/7), 6-2 win over Pablo Andujar.
“In the end I was lucky to get through some points,” said Djokovic, who has won the last three Grand Slams. “I am happy to go through to the next round.
“Andujar surprised me with his aggressive approach. In the second set I started playing a little bit more defensive and that allowed him to come back. But I regrouped and found my rhythm again.”
Nadal, who will face unseeded David Nalbandian of Argentina, praised Dolgopolov.
“Being in the quarters is fantastic,” said Nadal. “Dolgopolov is very difficult to play against as he produced winners from every part of the court. He’s a funny player, good for tennis.”
Meanwhile, Federer, who is chasing his fourth Indian Wells title, was pleased with his comeback.
“It’s always great to come through in a three-setter,” said Federer, who has been battling a flu bug this week. “I struggled early on to make the transition from night to day matches but I’m relieved to still be alive in the tournament.”
Federer now faces ninth-seed Juan Martin del Potro.
Li ousted, Azarenka rolls on
In the women’s draws, French Open champion Li Na, playing in her first event since pulling out of the Paris Indoor Open, exited the WTA Indian Wells event, losing 6-4, 6-2 to Angelique Kerber.
Kerber next faces world number one Victoria Azarenka, who dismantled Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland 6-0, 6-2.
“I am really impressed with the way I played,” said Azarenka, who clinched the victory over Radwanska on her first match point when Radwanska hammered a forehand into the net. “I didn’t expect to win that way.”
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