Former world no. 1 tennis star Rafael Nadal has further delayed his comeback after pulling out of the upcoming Qatar Open.
The highly-anticipated Roger Federer-Rafael Nadal showdown at the Indian Wells Masters turned into a bit of anti-climatic meeting as the Swiss maestro beat his arch-nemesis 6-3,6-2 in the fourth round on Wednesday.
It was the stars' earliest meeting at a tournament since their first-ever match in the 2004 Miami Open and Federer started strongly as he bid to beat Nadal three times in a row for the first time in his glittering career.
Federer adopted an aggressive style of play which unsettled his Spanish opponent and once he broke Nadal in the very first game, raced to take a 3-1 lead and wrapped up the opening set in just 34 minutes. He did face a break point in his first service game, but crucially managed to hold and managed to break Nadal at 3-1 to virtually take an unassailable lead in the first set.
Rankled by his rival’s aggression, Nadal tried to up the game in the second set, but despite holding his serve well, Federer’s dominance on the night was too much.
Breaking to take a 2-1 lead in the second set, Federer’s pressure was too much for the normally unflappable Nadal and he wilted, failing to hold his serve when down 2-5 to give the Swiss two match points. Federer took the first one itself, with a sharp backhand winner straight into the corner.
The 35-year-old Federer will now face Nick Kyrgios in the quarterfinals, the spunky Australian who managed to upset defending champion Novak Djokovic in straight sets earlier in the day.