CALIFORNIA (Dispatches) – World number one Roger Federer needed less than an hour to dispatch Filip Krajinovic at the BNP Paribas Open in California, mixing overpowering serves and pinpoint groundstrokes to advance to the fourth round of the tournament.
Playing for a third consecutive day due to weather delays in Indian Wells, the 36-year-old Swiss showed no sign of wear en route to a 6-2 6-1 thrashing of the Serbian in the pair’s first ever meeting.
Federer, who had looked slightly off his game in his rain-disrupted third round match against Federico Delbonis, was his dominant self, winning 89 percent of his first service points while cracking six aces to just one double fault.
Krajinovic had no answer for Federer’s serve or relentless return game and ended up winning just 31 of the match’s 93 points.
With rivals Rafa Nadal, Stan Wawrinka and Andy Murray electing not to enter the tournament, and Novak Djokovic and Kei Nishikori both out of the running, the path appears clear for the Swiss to win a record sixth Indian Wells title.
Despite the promising outlook, Federer insisted he was taking it one match at a time.
"You can’t really look ahead to semi-finals, finals and speculate about who you could play,” he told reporters.
"I think that would be a mistake. I am on a good run right now and I want to maintain that. I have to stay sharp.”
Next up for Federer is a meeting on Wednesday with France’s Jeremy Chardy, who upset his countryman Adrian Mannarino earlier on Monday.
Meanwhile, Venus Williams cut her sister Serena’s comeback to tennis short with a 6-3 6-4 win in the third round of the games.
Returning after more than a year away from the game to have a baby, Serena put up a good fight, saving match point while trailing 5-2 in the second set, but her rustiness told in the end.
Venus told reporters that she never counted the 23-times grand slam champion out of the match.
"I always know that it’s never over until it’s over,” she said."She kept roaring back, I’m just lucky that I’ve played more matches than her right now.” Venus, who has climbed to No. 8 in the world after enjoying a strong 2017, had six aces and broke Serena’s service four times, prevailing in a long final game when her younger sister’s groundstroke fell long.
In earlier matches, Australian Open champion Caroline Wozniacki kept alive her hopes of regaining the world number one ranking with a scrappy 6-4 2-6 6-3 third round win over Aliaksandra Sasnovich.
In another game, Australian Open champion Caroline Wozniacki kept alive hopes of regaining the world number one ranking with a scrappy 6-4 2-6 6-3 third round win over Aliaksandra Sasnovich.
The world number two survived a stern test from the 23-year-old Belarussian in a sloppy contest that included 14 breaks of serve on a warm, sunny day.
Sasnovich surrendered the two hour 16 minute tussle with her 56th unforced error of the match.
Wozniacki seemed irritated by the tension of the strings on her racket and discarded it midway through the second game of the match. That failed to improve her focus as she continued to tug the strings between points throughout the contest.