Federer Beats Down Nadal, Djokovic Falls To Kyrgios; Wawrinka vs. Thiem Thursday at Indian Wells
by Staff | March 16th, 2017, 1:21 am

No. 9 seed Roger Federer dominated No. 5 seed Rafael Nadal 6-2, 6-3 on a Wednesday that saw the quarterfinals set at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, Calif.
It was the first time the Swiss beat Nadal three times in a row in their 36-match head-to-head. Nadal now hasn’t beaten Federer since the 2014 Aussie Open semis.

“It’s a nice feeling to win the last three, I can tell you that,” said Federer, who left fans wondering if his backhand was better than his forehand in a stunning display.

And, he reminded everyone, he won the lone Grand Slam title of 2017.

“But most importantly, I won Australia. That was big for me. On the comeback, I look back at that and think that was one of the coolest things I ever experienced in my career.”

Nadal agreed that it just wasn’t his day.

“In Australia it was a very close match,” said Nadal. “I had good chances to win. Today, not. Today he played better than me. I didn’t play my best match, and he played well. These kind of matches, when you’re not playing your match, are impossible to win.

“When Roger has the advantage, his serve is so good, he has a lot of confidence with his serve, he’s able to play much more relaxed. The worst thing in that match for me was from the beginning I was at a disadvantage [with him] breaking the first game of the match, and then breaking the second game of the second set. That’s so difficult to play against Roger this way.”

Federer in the quarters will meet No. 15 seed Nick Kyrgios, who increased his bragging rights when he beat No. 2 seed Novak Djokovic 6-4, 7-6(3) for the second time in three week, increasing his career head-to-head over the Serb to 2-0.

“Just wasn’t managing to get a lot of balls back on his serve, first and second, as well,” said Djokovic, who saw a 19-win run in Indian Wells come to an end. “That’s what made a difference. He obviously comes out playing his style, very aggressive, and just going for every serve, whether it’s first or second. It’s obviously very hard to play like that.”

Elsewhere No. 4 seed Kei Nishikori and No. 17 Jack Sock set a meeting, with the Japanese downing American Donald Young 6-2, 6-4, and the American outlasting Tunisia’s Malek Jaziri 4-6, 7-6(1), 7-5.

No. 3 Stan Wawrinka and No. 8 Dominic Thiem booked a backhand extraordinaire encounter after the Austrian beat No. 10 seed Gael Monfils 6-3, 6-2, and the Swiss tamed Japanese riser Yoshihito Nishioka 3-6, 6-3, 7-6(4).

Another quarterfinal will be a clay-on-hardcourts all-Pablo meeting as No. 27 Pablo Cuevas will face No. 21 Pablo Carreno. The 31-year-old Cuevas is through to his first Masters-level quarterfinals in his 14-year career.

Cuevas upset No. 11 David Goffin 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, while Carreno topped Serbia’s Dusan Lajovic 6-4, 7-6(5).

Thursday in Indian Wells will see the quarterfinals (27) Cuevas vs. (21) Carreno, and (3) Wawrinka vs. (8) Thiem.

STADIUM 1 start 11:00 am
WTA – [13] C. Wozniacki (DEN) vs [28] K. Mladenovic (FRA)

Not Before 1:00 pm
ATP – [21] P. Carreno Busta (ESP) vs [27] P. Cuevas (URU)

Not Before 5:00 pm
WTA – [12] V. Williams (USA) vs [14] E. Vesnina (RUS)

Not Before 7:00 pm
ATP – [3] S. Wawrinka (SUI) vs [8] D. Thiem (AUT)
ATP – [6] R. Klaasen (RSA) / R. Ram (USA) vs G. Muller (LUX) / S. Querrey (USA)

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Defending Champ Djokovic With Federer, Nadal, Del Potro And Kyrgios In Same Indian Wells Quarter

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50 Comments for Federer Beats Down Nadal, Djokovic Falls To Kyrgios; Wawrinka vs. Thiem Thursday at Indian Wells

DC Says:

Fed played some brilliant tennis against Nadal today. It seemed he just continued the game from the 5th set of the Fedal AO final.
Nadal had absolutely no answers. With Feds new dangerously offensive , Nadal was out of options as to where to return balls to.
If fed continues his form , he could break a few more records this year.

Ronn Says:

It certainly looks that way. With Djoko and Andy out of sorts and Rafa not really like the old Rafa, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Roger take Wimbledon and maybe even the USO. Who would have thought!As a huge Djoko fan, this is a huge disappointment to see Djoko melt down like this. What is wrong with him? I’d hate to say it but it looks like there’s a strong possibility that Djoko won’t win anything this year. All I can say is wow.

madmax Says:

Federer certainly played a fantastic brand of tennis against Nadal – the way he was swinging freely on his, – usually weaker side – he really is breaking all the rules when it comes to how he is playing.

Well done Roger!

Giles Says:

Wonder what fed is on. Do tell!

Miles Says:

If Roger stays fit, all signs point to him having an exciting year.

I’m not a believer in astrology, but 3 years ago, I recall reading on the (now defunct) Federer site messageboard, astrological predictions for his career. One person forecast that Roger would have a wonderful 2017. I remember laughing at that – He’ll be 36/36 that year, I said to myself, how could he possibly still be competitive? Well, Roger is demonstrating just how good he is!

Of course, he might lose his next match!

Tennis Lover Says:

Tennis needed Djoker exorcism..Now all tennis fans should feel safe

Tennis Vagabond Says:

After Oz, many pointed out the speed of the courts as being a boost for Roger. Indian Wells is classified as a slow court.

Rafa was just 5-4 on his service games yesterday. Spooky!

I still won’t get ahead of ourselves with predictions of great things to come from Rog. Winning Australia, and this win, are more great things than I would have expected for 2017 already. But if Novak’s lull continues, and Rog can go toe-to-toe with Andy and Rafa, anything is possible.

Have to start wondering, after losing all the points here, how far Novak’s stranglehold on the #2 position can hold up. Can Stan, Milos or Rafa realistically take a run at it?

Stats gurus?

Miles Says:

Edit: meant to type 35/36 – sorry!

Tennis Vagabond Says:

Novak is 20th in the rankings race, and 2nd in 52-week. The vast majority of his points are on the line between Indian Wells and FO. If he maintains this level of play, he’ll be out of top ten by Wimbledon.

Its still very early in the season, but its going to get late quickly. Novak needs to get his act together. He doesn’t need to replicate his spring of ’16, but he needs to play better than the guys just below him, and he’s not doing that so far.

Will be very interesting to see how the top ten has shaken up by the French! Murray will certainly stay #1, but everything else is up for grabs.

Daniel Says:


One Masters win for Djoko and Murray and they get 1000 pts, which will place them in top 8 of the race.

Right now, if Fed win IW he enters clay season even if he doesn´t play Miami and Nadal wins there.

By the time clay season arrives, Nadal, Djoko and Murray are expected to dominated like last year, but there is several players who can upset one of them in one tourney and they will ost likeely have to play each other in deeper rounds. I think by the time clay seoasn ends order will be restored, with Andy, Djoko, Adal, Fed all in top 6 race points.

Djoko drops 900 pts and have 1000 pts next week to defend. Wawa can only treaten if he wins IW, which he has a good shot at reaching finals if he gets past Thiem today.

Raonic injured, so Djoko is kind of safe for now.

Clay will be the difference, for him and Nadal who always make a push there.

Tennis Vagabond Says:

Daniel, Novak was also expected to dominate the early hardcourt season. There’s certainly good reason to think he will have a less spectacular clay season this year than he has for the last few.

My point is that the gap between Andy and Novak vs the field has been impossibly large for the last year. We can now see at least Novak coming within grasping distance for the rest.

skeezer Says:

I went on record saying Nadal had the advantage at this years IW due to the court speed and he has more motivation. Was wrong, happily, big time. So much for all that BS about Fed won AO cause it was the “fastest HC in Slam history”. Motivation? If Fed keeps this up this year for him looks incredible.
I am still shaking my head on that incredible BH of his, currently the best in tennis, better than the great Wawa.

Daniel Says:

Yeah TV, i think this year could be a 5 man race for #1 if Wawa plays more consistant througout. He has a good cnahce for finals here, evne title.

Agree that Djoko may not have an stelar clay season, but the slower courts there favours him the most. On HC, anyone with a good serve and a go for broke game (Kyrgios) can upset him when he is on his B game. On clay will be harder for players to get victories over the top 3 clay players (currently: Djoko, Murray, Nadal) + Wawa. Fed is still a question mark on how many tourney he will play on clay, and I bet he will skip a few. But with his cushion he will be on the hunt for #1. Nobody is aculmulating many points as in the past. seems this year the margins will be lower, below 10.000 pts for #1 player. Unless one of the tops dogs enters a tear, which is hard to see at this point.

The year is too unpredictable and will be a bumpy ride all along me thinks.

Leo Says:

@skeezer – agreed. Thought the court speed would favor Nadal. But it just seemed like a continuation of set 5 from the AO.

Hope that backhand sticks around!

Daniel Says:

Also no chip retunrs for Federer anymore against Nadal, pressure from the get go every serve he hit.

Nadal even got one second serve ace due to Federer planted inside the court already. And he used body serve as well. But his open Ad court wide left serve is not working anymore.

Fed BP rate also is high last 2 matches agaisnt him. All due to drive return/BH shift combo

Tennis Vagabond Says:

Ljubicic must be given his due. I think people scoffed that he could replace the great Edberg, but these changes seem more dramatic and fruitful than Edberg’s.

DC Says:

We are witnessing the best backhand in the history of tennis – bought to you by none other than ROGER FEDERER, who in the past 15 years has also demonstrate the best overall tennis game to y’all.

Those were some incredible backhands Roger showed us today, a few of them on Nadals serve. Especially the one on match point was perhaps one of the best backhand returns witnessed ever. Down the line winner from the deuce court.Come on Fed- stop making the current champs of tennis feel as if they don’t know how to play tennis.

DC Says:

While watching the fedal match today, all i could say was wow, oh my god with a what the f scattered here and there

RZ Says:

@TV/Daniel – it’s still a long road to the end of the year (case in point: between January and the beginning of April last year, Andy only had a final showing in Australia as a positive result but ended the year #1), though doubtless current play has an affect on current ranking.

Daniel Says:

Yeah RZ, but this years things looks more open, whereas in last several years there was always a 2 player race, apart from 2012, where all majors were split. By the simple fact that Fed already got 1 and Andy and Djoko didn´t even made QF, shaked things up. NAother tourney and they both underpeerform. Points total is getting lower with each passing tourney and that will make the run more interesting.

Add Nadal collecting some points on clay, maybe Wawa, and this year will be a mess. it´s like the field level itself more this year: Djoko dropping from his insane 2015, Fedal rising and Andy still having some lapses.

I just don´t feel weill have a ´single player winning 3 Slams this year nor winning 4 Masters. To me by what we saw already, it will be scattered.

Markus Says:

I always considered that at his age, anytime I still see Roger compete and play decently enough, it is just a bonus for me regardless if he wins or loses. But, oh boy, what a bonus he has been giving me and his other fans this year! The first bonus is so satisfying that it already covers the whole of 2017.

DC Says:

I hope we get to see the improved Fed play against Nole soon.
With Feds backhand firing like an ak47, i wouldn’t be surprised if this year Fed takes back the lead in their 23-22 h2h , which Nole currently leads by a single win.

No one can predict who will win the remaining three slams this year, however if Fed can attain this level of play for two weeks in august and two weeks in September, he’s got a really really good chance to make it to 20, and perhaps spend some more time as no 1 ( based on ATP rankings )

Panela Says:

All I can say is I am thrilled that Roger beat Rafa. I am in the states and until today it was being shown by the tennis channel… James Blake, and the few other announcers all picked Rafa to win, either in 2 or 3 sets. Not one of them picked Roger… not even as a maybe… I LOVE to see these guys eat their words. these same guys (and some of you as well) that wrote Roger off starting around 2012…. I think hurting his knee turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Looks like Roger spent the past several months working on his back hand which was a thing of beauty yesterday…. SO, slow courts, fast courts ….. even those of you that can’t stand Roger and we know there are more than a few of you… Even you guys have to give Roger his due…. He really stepped it up and showed us what he’s made of…. Rafa looked like a deer in the headlights……Hopefully we have a lot more great matches to watch… Does anyone know if Roger will be in Miami?

Panela Says:

Markus, well said and I agree

the_mind_reels Says:

As much as I’d like to see Federer win a couple more slams, and while this year right now seems like a great opportunity given how well he’s playing, realistically, I think he could maybe grab one more this year if things fall his way. I really don’t seem him winning the French Open, even with the improved backhand, unless he doesn’t have to play Nadal. His best chances will come at SW19 and in Flushing, where he’ll still need to display the kind of consistency in form/fitness that has often lacked in the last couple of years.

It’s also not a given that in 3-6 months he’ll be just as healthy/fresh as he is now, so there has to be some discount given to that as well. Murray and Djokovic, if their current forms continue, will likely be pissed and motivated come the summer too :)

steve-o Says:

Roger Federer at 35 has broken through and found a new dimension to his game. He probably never thought he could play like that with his backhand, looking to step into court early, take the ball on the bounce, and drive through it. It probably seemed too risky, something he couldn’t pull off consistently without making mistakes. After beating Nadal in a Grand Slam final, he knows it’ll work.

It means he can continue to play for longer, since he’s shortening the points even more and cutting down on the running he needs to do.

I don’t think we need knock Edberg; he added important facets to Federer’s game and Federer’s still using what he learned from him.

But Ljubicic has one great advantage that none of Federer’s previous coaches: Peter Carter, Roche, Higueras, Annacone, or Edberg had. He has actually played, and on a few occasions beaten, Nadal with a SHBH. The others haven’t. Their understanding of the problems posed by Nadal’s topspin was only theoretical, Ljubicic knew what those problems really were.

Daniel Says:

Agree the_mind_reels, that´s why I think he will skip Maiami if he plays weekdend in IW and he will reduce his clay schedule. There is no need for him to be dragging himslef in long matches on clay with grass just around the corner. He is a master in scheduling so, I think he will do the right thing. The 6 months off did him nicely and he seems fresh, but with his age at any time he may have one bad sore day where everything hurst and is stiff.

As long as he stays injury free and doesn´t exert himself too much he will give us some more great matches.

SG1 Says:

Federer was simply brilliant last night. As DC mentioned above, I he left Nadal without any tactical approach. The strategy had always been to go after Fed’s backhand with the forehand. Federer has found a way to neutralize this strategy. And Fed is no longer being caught in the long mind numbing rallies. He is hitting the ball so early that Nadal is put on the defensive very early in the points. Hats off to Federer and his team for adapting. Some old dogs are so talented that they can still learn a trick or two.

I think Nadal is going to have to hit a lot more inside out forehands to Roger’s forehand to pull him wide enough out of court that Fed can’t catch the backhand as early. But admittedly, going to Fed’s forehand too much doesn’t seem like a sustainable strategy.

Tennis Vagabond Says:

We’ve seen the BH clicking at this level for all of two matches. I sure wouldn’t bet the ranch that Fed has permanently neutralized that tactic.

skeezer Says:

“I think Nadal is going to have to hit a lot more inside out forehands to Roger’s forehand to pull him wide enough out of court that Fed can’t catch the backhand as early”
Agree SG1. In this matchup anyways. Did you notice another successful tactic; Feds second serve kick out wide? He got at least 3 free points off that, pulling Rafa so far out wide to his FH he didn’t have any room to hit back in. Also, Fed is STEPPING IN big time to hit his shots, allowing bigger rips, Rafa is/was not.
If Fed maintains this kind of form against Rafa, Rafa is going to have to change tactics cause his game style currently has been figured out and decimated.
Fed has done the one thing others have done from time to time, take away time for Rafa to wind up and hit is FH. One thing about Rafa’s FH, it requires more time than others to get ready to hit it….effectively. If he is late to his FH,( he cannot pick it off the ground aka Federer), he is toast. What amazes me is fed is doing this NOT from the FH side, but the BH side.
Rafa cannot now just pound to the BH of Fed and win the match. Thank goodness that is over with and now we may have some exciting tactical matches between the two before their days are over.
Go Fedal.

Tennisfansince1976 Says:

I don’t think those are new tactics exactly. Fed has had that ad court kick serve for quite some time. It was never very effective against Nadal before, I think Nadal is a 1/2 step to a step slower than he was before and cannot get out to the ball as he used to. For example watch the 5th set of 2008 wimpy final. Fed hit a nice kicker to ad side some time mid set. Nadal with his speed and footwork got out to it, took a big top spin cut at a ball probably head height, smoking a huge cross court return winner at an extreme angle that fed could only watch go by. I think that return intimidated fed out of using that serve for the rest of the match.
Secondly, despite what some having been saying on here, fed has always hit his backhand on the rise. That’s a hallmark of his game, taking the ball early off of both sides, sometimes half volleying. But where as before fed’s backhand was very spinny he is now apparently with grip change luby encouraged him to make hitting a much flatter harder backhand that really penetrates the court. In previous fedal matches Nadal’ strategy was to relentlessly pound the backhand until he got either a slice, or a an attackable mid court topspin ball he could really go for a winner or put Fed on a string, maybe open up to the forehand side.
Court positioning for fed is really not different. He has always hugged the baseline. The only place it has changed is on return of serve where he is taking the backhand return especially the ad court swinger much earlier than he used to and really attacking with that flat hard backhand, hardly anymore slice returns which Nadal almost routinely used to use to get ahead in the point, make Fed play more defense than he was accustomed to, wear him down, break down his legs, confidence and shot making.

Tennisfansince1976 Says:

Another interesting aspect of these last couple of matches is that Federer is not slicing his backhand as much against Nadal but when he does it seems much more effective.

skeezer Says:

Always good to see you post here.
Interesting observations, and spot on for the most part imo. He is hitting his BH flatter for sure….
Always hated those slice BHROS, he got away with in 2004-07/08, but the top players adjusted and just learned how to smack it, putting Fed on the defensive asap.
Now Fed smacks it when he can, and the positive results have followed.

DC Says:

over the next 3 years, if Fedal can meet 5 times, with Fed having a 3-2 edge every year ( 9-6 over 3 years), Fed could retire with a 29-22 H2H favoring Nadal. – that doesnt sound bad at all.

FedExpress Says:

Fed could be No1 around Wimbledon. That would be beautiful.

And those who say this would be embarassing for the sport if a 35/36 years old playe holds the NO 1 ranking i ask why?
Tennis is not played by age but the results you produce. When 35 years old Fed wins a GS and not 25 years old Dimi then its not fed fault. You deserve what you get.

Giles Says:

Steve-0 Fyi nadal v Lubijic h2 h 7-2 to Nadal!!

Deidre Says:

Heard the coms say that from a young age Spanish players are taught to play a certain pattern and they don’t deviate. Nadal is such a pattern player and when push comes to shove as it did against Roger he was lost. Trying to get the opponent into a 30+slug fest is now old news and Nadal himself cannot rise to the occasion. Trouble with having a Spanish coach such as Moya is he also is schooled in the Spanish tradition and cannot teach Nadal anything new. I feel sorry for Nadal as his brand of tennis is going to leave him behind although I hope he does well at RG.

Tennis Vagabond Says:

Folks are laying it on a bit thick… Each of these players has dominated each other before. Fed was on fire Wednesday. Appreciate it for what it was.

skeezer Says:

It’s appreciated. Folks have been laying it on thick cause its been layed on thick on Rafa’s H2H and other things like grandpa Fed, he’s lucky, he played in a weak era, minimizing his great achievements, he crys, he’s arrogant, etc etc by the jealous haters. So yeah, seeing some posts of saying and SEEING how great this guy is is fresh. And true. Its no fluke, @35 hes won 3 in a row. Just enjoy the guy on court, he won’t be around much longer.
Don’t know how long Fed can keep up this kind of supernatural play, but it is hecka fun to watch, …..its all gravy baby.

DC Says:

After witnessing federers shot making skills and in light of his achievements , it would only be fair to call him SuperGoat.

Tennis Vagabond Says:


Tennis Vagabond Says:

OK, I’ll tell y’all what I think here then.

ESPN had a piece about Fed’s disadvantage vs Kyrgios, in that Kyrgios’ serve is unhittable.

I tell you what, Novak didn’t lose because of that. Novak was bullied around the court. Novak (and Fed) has won many matches against ‘unhittable’ opponents, because when the opportunity comes- a couple loose serves in a game, they take it.

It wasn’t Nick’s serve that had him threatening break points in every Novak service game. One thing about Nick that I noticed in that match was, he was not nearly as aggressive as I expected. They hit a ton of very hard, high topspin rally shots in the middle of the court. Nick was right there with Novak in the long rallies.

If he gives that kind of ‘patience’ against Fed, AND Fed plays like Wednesday, Fed will lose. If Nick goes for more… we could have an amazing match.

Tennis Vagabond Says:

Haha, I MEANT to say, NICK will lose!

Well, I screwed that post up royally. My point is, Fed played first-strike tennis against Rafa. Nick did not against Novak. I don’t know ifNick will like having to go for winners without getting comfy in the rally.

Giles Says:

Nick withdraws due to illness!! 😡😡😡😡

Berghain Says:

That is bad news, I was looking forward to this match :(

Tennis Vagabond Says:

Shoot! Me too.

skeezer Says:


skeezer Says:

So Fed walks into the semis, will play the Kei/Sock winner. Would have loved to see Fed play Nick with the current form, hopefully they’ll be a next time. All of the sudden, Fed is only one win away from competing for the title through the “draw of death”. Whoa!

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