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Federer Battles Into Third Round; Hewitt Denied 600th Win

Indian Wells, U.S.A.

Federer© Getty ImagesRoger Federer leapt to a straight-sets victory over Paul-Henri Mathieu in Indian Wells.

Roger Federer carried his strong form from one desert to another, ousting Paul-Henri Mathieu 6-2, 7-6(5) in his opening match at the BNP Paribas Open.

A week after registering a record sixth crown at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, Federer embarked on his quest for a fifth title in Indian Wells. The Swiss extended his impressive 2014 record to 15-2, defeating Mathieu for the seventh time since they first met 11 years ago.

The champion in 2004-06 and 2012, Federer claimed his 43rd match win in Indian Wells and 284th at ATP World Tour Masters 1000 level, converting on three break point opportunities and firing nine aces to defeat Mathieu.

Federer’s reward is a third round encounter with Dmitry Tursunov following the 31 year old’s 7-6(4), 6-4 triumph over Juan Monaco. Tursunov saved 10 of 12 break points faced to set up a fourth FedEx ATP Head2Head meeting with Federer. The Russian trails 0-3.

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Stanislas Wawrinka made a triumphant return to the ATP World Tour in his first match since capturing his maiden Grand Slam title at the Australian Open (d. Nadal). The World No. 3 needed just 63 minutes to defeat the big-serving Ivo Karlovic 6-3, 7-5, improving to a perfect 12-0 in 2014.

"I was a little bit scared the way I was going to come back, the way I was going to play, but after five, six days on the practice court with Magnus, I was feeling really good," said Wawrinka. "I'm really happy with my level. I really think I'm playing great tennis."

Wawrinka did not face a break point and countered the Croat’s nine aces with eight of his own. He will vie for a fourth round berth when he faces 29th-seed Andreas Seppi next. The Italian rallied for a 4-6, 7-6(3), 6-3 win over home favourite Sam Querrey, saving two match points.

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In other action in this quarter of the draw, Kevin Anderson foiled Lleyton Hewitt’s bid to collect his 600th tour-level match win Saturday afternoon with a 7-6(5), 6-4 victory. Hewitt (599-241), saved five match points as he fought to hold for 4-5 in the second set, but was unable to stave off a sixth when Anderson slammed his seventh ace of the match.

The 33-year-old Aussie, Indian Wells champion in 2002-03, was looking to join Federer and Rafael Nadal as the only active members of the 600 match wins club.

Anderson advances to face lucky loser Evgeny Donskoy for the second time in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series after the Russian got past Michael Russell 6-4, 6-3 in 83 minutes.

Also slated for a third round battle are 11th-seed Tommy Haas, who defeated Jeremy Chardy 6-3, 6-4, and No. 19 seed Kei Nishikori, after the Japanese routed Santiago Giraldo 6-1, 6-3.

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