Roger Federer, of Switzerland, returns a shot to Ivan Dodig, of Croatia, during their match at the BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament, Monday, March 11, 2013, in Indian Wells, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Monday, March 11, 2013 10:44 pm
Federer easily advances at Indian Wells
By BETH HARRISAP Sports Writer
Federer earned his 890th career ATP Tour victory, joining Jimmy Connors, Ivan Lendl and Guillermo Vilas as the only men to have won at least that many matches in the Open era. The second-ranked Federer is seeking his first tournament title of the year at an event where he has won four championships and has a 41-8 career record.
Federer was the highest-seeded men's player in action Monday. He has Tuesday off to give his back a rest.
"I'm not too worried. I have gone through it so many times where you feel a little tweak," he said. "Happened during Grand Slams, during tournaments, in practice. It's just something you learn to deal with."
In women's play, top-ranked Victoria Azarenka was to face Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium at night.
A 4.7 magnitude earthquake struck at 9:55 a.m. near Indian Wells. It occurred before the day's matches had begun, although the Indian Wells Tennis Garden was busy with fans and workers, many of whom said they felt a strong jolt.
Federer ran out of the house where he's staying during the tournament.
"I didn't know how long it was going to last, if it was going to get worse from there, or if the worst was already past," he said. "It was a very strange feeling to have because you see the windows shaking and you look up and realize you're under a structure. It was quite scary for a second there."
Fifth-seeded Rafael Nadal was on the massage table preparing for his match against Leonardo Mayer of Argentina when the quake hit.
"I was very scared," he said. "I think the massage table moves even worse."
The Spaniard said his legs were wobbling and even though it was his first earthquake it took him "probably a half-second" to realize what was happening.
After the excitement caused by the quake, Nadal didn't even get to play his match. Mayer withdrew because of a back injury.
Nadal opened his bid for a third Indian Wells title with a two-set victory over American Ryan Harrison on Saturday, the Spaniard's first hard-court match in nearly a year. He returned to the ATP Tour a month ago, winning two of three tournaments on clay after missing seven months because of a left knee injury.
Temperatures are forecast to soar into the 90s in the next few days, conditions that should favor Nadal.
"For me, for my knee, for my foot, for everything is better when the conditions are warmer," he said. "I love practicing and playing in days like today: no wind, fantastic weather, good, hot temperature."
Nadal shared a friendly hit on Sunday with tournament owner Larry Ellison, the co-founder and CEO of Oracle Corp. and one of the world's wealthiest men.
"His backhand improve, especially a lot from last year, so that's great," Nadal said. "It's great what he's doing for tennis and especially this tournament. He knows more about tennis I think than me."
On the men's side, No. 6 Tomas Berdych defeated 27th-seeded Florian Mayer 6-4, 6-1; Latvian qualifier Ernests Gulbis outlasted 20th-seeded Andreas Seppi, 5-7, 6-3, 6-4 to win his 13th consecutive match this season; and No. 10 Richard Gasquet beat 24th-seeded Jerzy Janowicz, 6-1, 6-4. No. 13 Gilles Simon was a 3-6, 7-6 (5), 6-4 winner over Benoit Paire.
Gulbis takes on Nadal in the fourth round, a player that Gulbis has yet to beat in four matches.
"I believe that I can win," Gulbis said. "Yeah, I said it already."
Among the women's third-round winners Monday were No. 4 Angelique Kerber, No. 7 Sam Stosur, No. 8 Caroline Wozniacki, and No. 10 Nadia Petrova.
No. 11 Ana Ivanovic was beaten 6-1, 3-6, 6-0 by No. 24 Mona Barthel of Germany, who improved to 8-16 in her career against Top 20 opponents.
Kerber beat 30th-seeded Yanina Wickmayer 6-1, 7-6 (4) after rallying from a 1-4 deficit in the second set. She and her coach were talking before the match when the quake hit.
"In the first moment we both were thinking, it's like a subway here, but actually we are in the desert. No way that there is a subway," Kerber said.
Stosur needed three sets to get by 32nd-seeded Shuai Peng of China, 6-3, 3-6, 6-2; and Wozniacki routed 29th-seeded Elena Vesnina, 6-2, 6-1. Petrova beat No. 21 seed Julia Georges, 6-1, 6-2 and Spanish qualifier Garbine Muguruza defeated Magdalena Rybarikova of Slovakia, 6-4, 6-0.