Roger Races Into Fourth Round
After handing back an early break to allow Krajinovic to draw level at 2-all, the defending champion moved into cruise control. At one point he won 17 straight points en route to taking a 6-2, 3-0 lead, winning 10 of the final 11 games in the match. The World No. 1 is seeking his third tour-level title of the season (Australian Open, Rotterdam), 98th title of his career and 28th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 trophy.
"I was playing aggressive and feeling like he was not loving my slice, and then also mixing in with drop shots eventually," Federer said. " I think really I was able to mix up my game nicely, make it difficult for him there.
The 36-year-old is also attempting to break his own mark as the oldest player to ever win the tournament, after setting the record last year in the desert. He has won 14 of his past 15 sets at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 level, with his only set lost coming in the semi-finals of the Rolex Shanghai Masters last October against Juan Martin del Potro, who is the sixth seed in California. If Federer should continue his run of good form and advance to the final at Indian Wells again, it will be his fourth consecutive appearance in the title match (2014, 2015, 2017).
Krajinovic broke through at the last ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event, advancing to the final at the Rolex Paris Masters in November (l. to Sock). And while he is at a career-best No. 28 in the ATP Rankings, the Serbian had only played 11 matches at this level prior to facing Federer for the first time in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series.
"I still think he can play much better than he did today," Federer said. "Maybe it was because it was the first time he ever played against me."
With 1000 ATP Rankings points to defend this week, Federer must reach the semi-finals to retain his hold on the top spot. Should he fall before the semi-finals, Rafael Nadal will return to World No. 1 because he is only dropping 90 points from his fourth-round result in Indian Wells last year. With that being said, the Swiss is not thinking about his undefeated streak or anything else at the moment — he is simply focusing on what is in front of him.
"You're only really as good as your last match," Federer said. "Now we're in Indian Wells and that's my focus and not what I have achieved in the past."
Chasing a record sixth title in the desert — Novak Djokovic also has five trophies — Federer will next meet Frenchman Jeremy Chardy, the World No. 100. Chardy ousted compatriot and No. 20 seed Adrian Mannarino 7-5, 4-6, 6-1 in just short of two hours. The 31-year-old entered the tournament with two victories on the season, and has now doubled that total. His 10th appearance at Indian Wells has been his best — Chardy is into the Round of 16 at the event for the first time. His best result in the Coachella Valley prior to this year was in his debut nine years ago, when he reached the third round (l. to Ferrer).
Federer, who played two matches across three days thanks to rain suspending his opener from Saturday evening until Sunday, holds a 3-1 FedEx ATP Head2Head series edge against Chardy, with three of their four meetings having come at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 level. The Frenchman's lone victory came on red clay at 2014 Rome in a match that went to a third-set tie-break. Do not expect Federer to look past Chardy, though.
"I wasn't playing that good in my first [opening] round. So when you play that way and you feel that way, you can't right away think, 'Oh, who would I be playing in the semis or in the finals'?" Federer said. "I think that would be a major mistake by myself. There is still plenty of good enough players around me to cause an upset. So I'm on a good run right now, and I try to maintain that, and you only maintain that if you respect every opponent."
Did You Know?
Federer has now won 33 of the 36 sets he has played this year en route to claiming his first 14 matches of the 2018 season.