Federer flails Karlovic to advance at Indian Wells

March 17th, 2009 - 3:33 pm ICT by IANS  

Roger Federer Indian Wells (California), March 17 (DPA) Roger Federer avenged his lone career loss against Ivo Karlovic with a 7-6 (7-4), 6-3 win over the towering Croatian to reach the fourth round of the Indian Wells Masters.
Federer won the first six matches in the series before Karlovic sprang an ambush in August in Cincinnati, Ohio, but the Swiss second seed quickly put the immediate past behind him Monday with his 70-minute victory in the desert.

“With Ivo, you try to get the ball back,” Federer said of his 208-centimetre opponent. “If you get the ball back, it’s a success on the serve, but then you have to hope you can win the point somehow or he misses a few shots.

“Ivo is different from the rest just because he plays so different and he’s so much taller than everybody else.”

Federer had early chances in the third game with two break points, but the Croatian rained down a pair of aces to diffuse the threat.

Federer hung tough on his own serve and took the contest into the inevitable tiebreaker - the pair had played 11 deciders over 17 previous sets - which he won on an error from the giant.

Federer got the break he needed in the sixth game of the second set, followed up with a game to love, and consolidated the victory and a 7-1 record in the rivalry. Federer now stands 11-2 on the season, in which he has yet to win a title.

“I don’t think I’ve had an awful lot of rhythm in the last two matches,” the 13-time Grand Slam winner said. “I’m seeing the ball OK. My baseline game, I can’t really judge it. But in practice, I feel OK.”

Fourth seed Andy Murray reached the last 16 with 6-3, 6-2 result against Paul-Henri Mathieu in an hour and a quarter, firing six aces and breaking five times to roll through.

The result improved the Scot to 17-1 on a season that has included titles at Doha and Rotterdam, where he beat number 1 Rafael Nadal for the trophy.

“I’m not putting any pressure on myself to play well this week,” Murray said. “I’m just taking it each match at a time.”

“Miami is my priority,” he said on the tournament that begins next week. “If I can get through my first few matches and feel good, you never know what will happen. I just need to concentrate.”

He evaluated his own play, especially hitting the ball “a lot better” than during his first match last week in Indian Hills.

“I served big when I needed to and moved very well again,” Murray said. “Bar a couple games where I lost my concentration a little bit, it was a very solid match.”

Ivan Ljubicic continued putting a run of three-consecutive first- round defeats last month behind him, upsetting French eighth seed Gilles Simon 6-3, 7-6 (7-3).

Number 10 Fernando Verdasco, Spain’s Australian Open semi-finalist, added more misery for France with a knockout of Richard Gasquet 6-3, 6-2.

Chile’s Fernando Gonzalez beat 13th-seeded James Blake 7-5, 6-1 as the US player’s patchy form continued.

Women’s defending champion Ana Ivanovic showed she’s settled in with new coach Craig Kardon, defeating Argentine Gisela Dulko 6-3, 6-3.

“Just having a coach next to me again makes me more certain about some things about my game,” the 2008 French Open winner said.

“I had lots of doubts about my game in the past six months or whatever,” she said. “Finally, I feel like I have a strategy and also a plan in place again. It gives me a lot of security and confidence.”

Polish seventh seed Agnieszwa Radwanska crushed Canadian Aleksandra Wozniak 6-1, 6-4 while Italian 12th seed Flavia Pennetta came back to oust American Angela Haynes 4-6, 6-4, 6-1.

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