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Federer Opens Title Defence; Gasquet Beats Tomic

Indian Wells, U.S.A.

Federer© Getty ImagesRoger Federer recorded his 40th win at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.

World No. 2 Roger Federer opened his title defence at the BNP Paribas Open on Saturday with a 6-2, 6-3 victory over Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan. The Swiss improved to a 40-8 record at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, lifting the trophy in 2004-‘06 and 2012 (d. Isner).

Federer needed just 58 minutes to beat Istomin for the fourth time in four meetings. He won 32 of 36 of his service points and broke Istomin four times from seven opportunities.

"It felt good from the start and was able to maintain that level of play," said Federer. "I never thought he got into the match at all. That gives you obviously even more confidence."

The 31-year-old Federer is bidding to win his first title of the season after semi-final showings at the Australian Open (l. to Murray) and Dubai (l. to Berdych) and a quarter-final exit in Rotterdam (l. to Benneteau). Federer has won a record 21 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 trophies. 

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In the third round, Federer will face Croatia’s Ivan Dodig, who defeated Julien Benneteau of France 6-4, 6-2 in 82 minutes.

France’s Gilles Simon saved three match points as he recovered from a 1-5 deficit in the third set to defeat Paolo Lorenzi of Italy 6-3, 3-6, 7-5 in two hours and 25 minutes. Lorenzi led 5-2, 40/15 and had a third match point at 30/40 on Simon’s serve in the following game. The No. 13-ranked Simon is coming off back-to-back semi-final showings in Rotterdam (l. to Benneteau) and Marseille (l. to Tsonga) and is defending quarter-final points in Indian Wells.

In-form Latvian Ernests Gulbis stunned World No. 9 Janko Tipsarevic 6-2, 6-0 in just 48 minutes. World No. 67 Gulbis, who qualified into the main draw, converted five of his eight break points and won 75 per cent of his service points. The 24 year old is coming off victory at the Delray Beach International Tennis Championships (d. Roger-Vasselin).

Gulbis earned a third-round clash with 20th-seeded Italian Andreas Seppi, who defeated German qualifier Daniel Brands 7-5, 6-4 in 76 minutes.

Tenth seed Richard Gasquet saw off the challenge of Australian Bernard Tomic, winning 7-6(1), 6-2 in 88 minutes. The Frenchman, a winner of two ATP World Tour titles in Doha (d. Davydenko) and Montpellier (d. Paire) this season, improved to a 16-3 match record.

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