Federer, Djokovic cruise to convincing victories at BNP

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Federer, Djokovic cruise to convincing victories at BNP

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Roger Federer, of Switzerland, returns a shot to Juan Ignacio Chela, of Argentina, during their match at the BNP Paribas Open, Tuesday, in Indian Wells, Calif. Federer won, 6-0, 6-2. [AP/YONHAP]


INDIAN WELLS, Calif. - World No. 2 Roger Federer and Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic each stormed into the fourth round of the Indian Wells BNP Paribas Open tournament with lopsided victories Tuesday.

Federer, in pursuit of a record fourth title here, swept past Argentine Juan Ignacio Chela 6-0, 6-2, while Serb Djokovic extended his perfect record this season to 14-0 by pulverizing Ernests Gulbis 6-0, 6-1.

Chela’s serve was broken five times by Federer in dazzling sunshine at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden as the Swiss master eased to a commanding victory in 58 minutes.

“Clearly I am very happy,” the 16-time grand slam champion said courtside after ending the match with a rasping backhand winner down the line.

“I’m a bit surprised it went this easy at the end. I was able to stay aggressive for the entire match. He struggled with his serve a little bit and his game fell apart,” Federer said about Chela.

Djokovic, seemingly in a rush to reach his third consecutive final this year, broke an error-prone Gulbis three times in the opening set and twice in the second to steamroll to victory in just under an hour.

The stands surrounding the showpiece stadium court were barely a quarter full when the third-seeded Serb fired down his fourth ace of the day to end a heavily one-sided match.

“I cannot ask for a better start to the year,” world No. 3 Djokovic told reporters after beating the Latvian for the fourth time in five meetings. “The last three months have been unbelievable.

“I’m just building on that confidence and continuing to play well. I have been playing great tennis, the best tennis of my life,” Djokovic added.

Djokovic, who claimed his second grand slam crown at the Australian Open in January and his 20th ATP World Tour title at last month’s Dubai championships, was in imperious form against Gulbis.

Hitting his ground strokes crisply from behind the baseline, Djokovic swept through the first set in only 26 minutes and then broke his opponent, ranked 31st, for a fourth time early in the second to tighten his grip.

When Gulbis held serve for the only time in the match to trail 1-3 after a Djokovic forehand sailed wide, the crowd erupted with cheers and whistles in a bid to give the hapless Latvian a lift.

However Djokovic, champion here as a 20-year-old in 2008, again broke Gulbis in the seventh game before serving out to seal the win.

“He’s very unpredictable,” the Serb said of his 22-year-old opponent, a gifted player who has yet to realize his rich potential. “He has a very strong serve and he has powerful ground strokes.

“You try to take serious every opponent you have, even though you are a favorite in the match. Today he made so many unforced errors he made my life easy.”

Djokovic will next meet 16th-seeded fellow Serb Viktor Troicki, who eased past 24th-seeded Frenchman Michael Llodra 6-3, 6-3.

In other third round matches, seventh-seed, Czech Tomas Berdych, crushed Thomaz Bellucci of Brazil 6-3, 6-2 and Swiss 12th seed Stanislas Wawrinka overcame Croat Marin Cilic 7-5, 6-3.

Eighth-seed Andy Roddick, a finalist in last year’s tournament, beat fellow American John Isner in a match between two big servers. Roddick won 7-5, 6-2.


Reuters
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