Indian Wells: Rafa Nadal and Roger Federer stayed on track for a mouth-watering quarter final showdown at the BNP Paribas Open after they both advanced to the last 16 on Monday.
Nadal, twice champion at Indian Wells, was gifted his spot when Argentina's Leonardo Mayer withdrew with a back injury before the start of their third-round match.
Federer, a four-times winner of the ATP Masters 1000 event, had minor back problems of his own but progressed with a commanding 6-3, 6-1 victory over Croatia’s Ivan Dodig in a contest lasting just 61 minutes.
Nadal, however, was a “scared” man on the day. The Spaniard experienced his first earthquake Monday. The 9:55am quake had an estimated magnitude of 4.7, according to the California Institute of Technology's seismological laboratory.
“I was very scared,” he said. “I think the massage table moves even worse.”
Nadal said his legs were wobbling and even though it was his first earthquake it took him “probably a half-second” to realise what was happening.
Meanwhile, Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka struggled to find her rhythm against Kirsten Flipkens in the third round but finished strong to beat the Belgian 3-6, 6-3, 6-0.
After the wayward start, the top seed and defending champion stormed through the final set, breaking her opponent’s serve in the first, third and fifth games before serving out for victory when a Flipkens backhand flew long.
Fourth seed Angelique Kerber also advanced, heeding the advice of her coach to come from 1-4 down in the final set to beat Belgian Yanina Wickmayer 6-1, 7-6.
Kerber, a semi-finalist here last year when she lost to eventual champion Azarenka, will next meet Spaniard Garbine Muguruza Blanco, who swept past Slovakia’s Magdalena Rybarikova 6-4, 6-0.