Roger Federer demolishes Rafael Nadal at Indian Wells to continue remarkable comeback

Federer celebrates his win CREDIT: REX FEATURES
  In the small hours of Thursday morning, Roger Federer demonstrated that his Australian Open triumph was not a one-off – and that Rafael Nadal’s 13-year hoodoo over him is unequivocally at an end.
In a quite breathtaking performance in Indian Wells, Federer dismantled Nadal – formerly his great nemesis – with casual assurance to move into the quarter-finals. He won 6-2, 6-3 in 68 minutes, a scoreline that barely did justice to the level of his dominance.
After previous victories in Melbourne – in that Australian Open final – and Basel two years ago, Federer has now beaten Nadal three times running for the first time. The overall pattern of their rivalry still stands against him by a 13-23 margin, but it is still extraordinary to see Federer turn the tables at this stage of his career.
In this latest meeting, the switch began with the oldest tactic in Nadal’s playbook – the swinging leftie serve into the Federer backhand, which usually draws a defensive sliced return. In Indian Wells, though, Federer stood up tall and swung hard, striking so many backhand return winners that Nadal had to start thinking about targeting the forehand instead.

“I think the backhand has gotten better because I have been able to put in so many hours with the [new] racquet now,” said Federer, who changed to a larger, 97-square-inch model at the end of the 2013 season. “Really, since this year I feel super comfortable with the racquet, and I think I have also gained confidence stepping into it.
“I think all my coaches throughout my career have told me to go more for the backhand, but I used to shank more. So maybe deep down I didn't always believe that I had it in the most important moments. But I think that's changing little by little, which I'm very happy about.”
Federer will face Nick Kyrgios on Friday after the mercurial Aussie defeated Novak Djokovic in straight sets. This, too, was the sort of win that puts a marker down, coming as it did on the heels of Kyrgios’s equally impressive victory over Djokovic in Acapulco a fortnight ago.

Despite being recognised as arguably the greatest returner the game has seen, Djokovic finds Kyrgios’s low ball-toss and whipcrack delivery impossible to read, and he failed to bring up a single break point in the course of his 6-4, 7-6 defeat. As the defending champion at this event, he forfeited just over 900 rankings points – good news for world No. 1 Andy Murray, whose lead thus swells to 3,090, even though he lost to Vasek Pospisil in his own opening match in Indian Wells.
The Telegraph

Roger Federer demolishes Rafael Nadal at Indian Wells to continue remarkable comeback Roger Federer demolishes Rafael Nadal at Indian Wells to continue remarkable comeback Reviewed by Nene Sochi-Okereke on Thursday, 16 March 2017 Rating: 5

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