Roger Federer continued his excellent start of 2014 by steamrolling past his good friend and fellow veteran Tommy Haas 6-4, 6-4 tonight in the Indian Wells fourth round.
The win improves Federer to 13-3 lifetime against the 35-year-old Haas and lifts his 2014 record to 17-2. The four time Indian Wells champ has now won his last nine matches.
Next for Federer is a meeting with Kevin Anderson who is also in the midst of a find season. The lanky South African put an end to Stanislas Wawrinka’s perfect season sending the Australian Open champion out of the singles draw in three sets 7-6, 4-6, 6-1.
“It wasn’t really on my mind that he had won Australia,” said Anderson of the streak. “Just focused on what I was doing… I knew it was a tough match today, and it feels great to beat somebody who obviously has just won a Grand Slam.”
Struggling with some minor tightness in his back, Wawrinka rallied from a break down in the second but couldn’t hold off Anderson’s might game.
“For sure he’s playing good,” said Wawrinka. “He’s a tough player to play on fast condition. He’s serving big and always put a lot of pressure.
“But I’m more disappointed with myself. I felt I was tired mentally, but that’s not the problem. I should just accept that and be positive. I think I was negative on all the match. I was complaining a lot about my serve, about the way I was playing, and with that, I don’t deserve to win matches. I think I should have been more positive with myself, just trying to find solution, because it was still a close match.”
Wawrinka wasn’t the only Grand Slam winner to fall. Reigning Wimbledon champion Andy Murray’s issues continued in a 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 loss to Milos Raonic.
After patchy play in his first two matches, Murray came out much better initially against the Canadian. But leading with a break 2-1 in the third, Murray crumbled inexplicably losing four straight games and eventually the match.
“To get broken two consecutive times in that situation isn’t good enough,” said Murray. “I played poor tennis at that stage. I didn’t make enough balls [and] missed easy shots… So over the course of the set, if you give up enough unforced errors on basic shots, then with the amount of free points he gets on his serve, that’s going to add up to a negative result.
“Today, I was just really disappointed with how the last 15 minutes of the match went. That was really, really poor. Acapulco was the same. My matches have been a little bit patchy over the past few weeks.”
Raonic, who now has won three of four against Murray, is playing in just his second event of the season due to a left ankle injury. The 23-year-old now moves on to a quarterfinal tomorrow against Alexandr Dolgopolov. The Ukraine backed up his big win over Rafael Nadal by foiling Fabio Fognini 6-2, 6-4.
One quarter on Friday is set with John Isner against Ernests Gulbis. Isner, one of three big men already into the last eight (Marin Cilic to play still), edged Fernando Verdasco in three sets.
Ernests Gulbis remained on the hot side getting past Roberto Bautista Agut also in three sets 7-6, 4-6, 6-2.
Juliean Benneteau, a winner over Feliciano Lopez, will draw the Novak Djokovic-Marin Cilic victor in the other Friday quarter.
In the women’s draw, Simona Halep was the first player to clinch a semifinal berth after a brisk 6-2, 6-2 win over Casey Dellacqua.
“Winning the tournament is too far,” she said. “I have my chance and I’m trying to get it, but the next round will be very tough, so I just have to keep trying my best.”
Halep will await the Agnieszka Radwanska-Jelena Jankovic winner in the semifinals on Friday.
In the quarters tomorrow, Li Na meets Dominika Cibulkova in a rematch of their Australian Open final. And then Flavia Pennetta takes on Sloane Stephens.
For the men, Federer, who will still play doubles later Wednesday, faces Anderson under the lights. In the daytime Raonic duels Dolgoplov.
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