Nadal crushes Federer, plays Berdych next
By Mark Lamport-Stokes ,ReutersINDIAN WELLS, California -- Rafa Nadal produced vintage form against an out-of-sorts Roger Federer to crush the Swiss 6-4, 6-2 in their heavily anticipated quarterfinal at the BNP Paribas Open on Thursday.
March 16, 2013, 12:06 am TWN
The Spanish left-hander, competing in his first hardcourt event since returning from seven months on the sidelines with a knee injury, moved around the court well and outplayed his long-time rival at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.
Nadal broke the defending champion once in the first set and three times in the second to wrap up victory in one hour 24 minutes in front of a packed house at the Stadium Court.
The Spanish world number five improved his record against Federer to 19-10 and will next face sixth-seeded Czech Tomas Berdych, who beat South African Kevin Anderson 6-4, 6-4 earlier in the day.
“After seven months away, I am very happy to be in the semifinals here,” a beaming Nadal said courtside after taking advantage of a slew of backhand errors by Federer, who has been struggling with a back niggle throughout the tournament.
“I played great the first set. I played a fantastic first set, in my opinion. The second set I think Roger didn't fight as usual. Probably he had some problems and he didn't feel comfortable enough to keep fighting.
“But for myself I have to take the first set. The first set was a good match, my opinion. Both of us tried to play our best. I played much better than yesterday.”
Asked what had pleased him most about his game, Nadal replied: “My movement tonight was much better than yesterday. I played longer than yesterday.
“I had a good feeling on my forehand, even if I had a few mistakes with my backhand in the second set.
“Sometimes today I am not able to play all the shots with my forehand that I used to be because I am not that fast yet to do it. That's why the backhand today is very important.”
With a near-capacity crowd eagerly watching, the opening set went with serve until the seventh game when Nadal broke Federer with a stunning crosscourt backhand pass to lead 4-3.
Federer saved two set points on his serve in a protracted ninth game but the Spaniard served out in the 10th, taking the set when a backhand service return by the Swiss sailed wide.
Moving much more fluently than his opponent and finding his range with searing crosscourt forehands, Nadal broke Federer in the first game of the second set when the Swiss lunged to his right but was unable to return a dipping crosscourt shot.