Nadal, Federer on track for a desert showdown

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Nadal, Federer on track for a desert showdown

INDIAN WELLS, California - Rafa Nadal and Roger Federer stayed on track for a mouth-watering quarter-final showdown at the BNP Paribas Open after they both advanced to the last 16 on Monday.

Spaniard Nadal, twice champion at Indian Wells, was gifted his spot when Argentina’s Leonardo Mayer withdrew with a back injury before the start of their third-round match.

Federer, a four-time winner of the ATP Masters 1000 event, had minor back problems of his own but progressed with a commanding 6-3 6-1 victory over Croatia’s Ivan Dodig in a contest lasting just 61 minutes.

Federer and Nadal last met a year ago, also at Indian Wells, when the Swiss won a semifinal battle 6-3 6-4.

Federer tweaked his back during the latter stages of his match against Dodig, but with a rest day on Tuesday he was not worried that it could affect his last 16 match on Wednesday.

“It’s not the first time it’s happened in my career, so, I know how to deal with it,” said the world No. 2.

Federer will next meet compatriot Stanislas Wawrinka or Australian Lleyton Hewitt, who play later on Monday at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.

“I’m walking fine, I have a day off tomorrow. Everything is all right,” added Federer.

“It’s happened during grand slams, during tournaments, in practice.

“It’s just something you learn to deal with. And as long as I keep on playing, it’s all right. I also know I have a longer break to recover so, from that standpoint, I’m not worried at all.”

In other matches, sixth-seeded Czech Tomas Berdych eased past Germany’s Florian Mayer 6-4 6-1 while 10th-seeded Frenchman Richard Gasquet swept aside Poland’s Jerzy Janowicz 6-1 6-4.

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