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Djokovic, Federer cruise at Indian Wells

The two Grand Slam winners safely cruised to victories in straight-sets on the way to the fourth round as Federer seeks to regain match fitness

AFP, Wednesday 16 Mar 2011
Djokovic vs Federer
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Novak Djokovic extended his match win streak to 16 and Roger Federer barely broke a sweat Tuesday as they powered their way into the Indian Wells fourth round with straight-set wins. Djokovic capped his 6-0, 6-1 demolition of Ernests Gulbis with back-to-back aces and Federer had an equally easy time ousting Juan Ignacio Chela 6-0, 6-2 in the WTA and ATP Masters Series 1000 tournament.

The aces were a perfect exclamation point to a brilliant season so far for Djokovic who has won all 14 of his matches this year. "I have been playing great tennis, best tennis of my life," he said.

Djokovic, who is looking to secure his second Indian Wells title, has been unstoppable this year and is 16-0 dating back to a pair of Davis Cup matches late last season.

"I cannot ask for a better start of the year," he said. "I mean, I'm just building up on that confidence and continuing to play well, and feeling up from that run that I have from Davis Cup final."

Djokovic fired four aces Tuesday as he broke Gulbis' serve five times in the 54-minute match. "You try to take serious every opponent you have even though you are a favourite in the match," Djokovic said. "I was just trying to keep the ball in the court, not doing too much, just returning a lot and making him play an extra shot and changing the pace."

He captured his second major title at the Australian Open in January and followed up with his 20th career ATP Tour title last month in Dubai.

The 22-year-old Djokovic has dropped just five games so far after opening with a 6-0, 6-4 against Andrey Golubev. Djokovic moves on to face his Serbian countryman and doubles partner Victor Troicki who beat France's Michael Llodra 6-3, 6-3. Troicki and Djokovic will play each other Wednesday in singles then team up for their doubles match later in the day.

Federer was on the court just four minutes longer in the hot California desert sun than Djokovic. Chela handed Federer the first set with a pair of double faults on the final two points on centre court. He finished with six double faults while Federer won 80 per cent of his first serve points.

"At the end, it was a great match. For me, anyway," Federer said. "Especially on a hot day like that, you pick the right days to play well and win quickly. So I'm happy it went so well today."

The three-time champion Federer is looking to regain his match fitness as he has played just three tournaments this year and hasn't made the final of the last four Grand Slams. The 16-time major winner booked his berth in the fourth round where he will play 18-year-old Ryan Harrison of the United States who held on to beat Canadian wildcard Milos Raonic 7-6 (7/1), 4-6, 6-4.

In other men's matches Tuesday, former US Open champion Andy Roddick defeated fellow American John Isner 7-5, 6-2, Czech Tomas Berdych beat Thomaz Bellucci of Brazil 6-3, 6-2, Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka defeated Marin Cilic 7-5, 6-3 and Richard Gasquet surprised 10th seed Jurgen Melzer of Germany 6-1, 6-3.

Harrison, 18, and Raonic are just 19 months apart in age and had met three times as juniors, but this was their first meeting since turning pro. Harrison has the overall edge, winning three out of their four career matches.

The 20-year-old Raonic, who has been on a meteoric rise in the rankings this year, saved three match points in the third set before Harrison clinched it with an ace. Raonic had 17 aces to Harrison's 11 but the American broke Raonic's serve twice in the third set.

"If I do get broke it is something I do wrong not something my opponent does well," Harrison said.

Said Raonic, "He put pressure on me and I didn't handle it well. I just wish I could have used a few more of my opportunities."

Harrison is looking forward to his first crack at a player of Federer's stature."He has got a lot of experience. I don't have a lot," Harrison said. "He is going to show me some of his best stuff and I am going to show him some of my best stuff."

In the night match, Roddick hammered nine aces and won 81 per cent of his first serve and 93 per cent of his second serve points against Isner. Roddick was not overjoyed with his performance but pleased to be moving on.

"I don't think he (Isner) played that well tonight. I think he felt a little uncomfortable," Roddick said. "I was just trying to fight off returns and do what I could and put the ball in the court. It was enough."

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