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Federer battles past Gonzalez to reach quarters

March 19, 2009 06:13 IST

Roger Federer battled into the quarter-finals of the ATP event in Indian Wells on Wednesday with a 6-3, 5-7, 6-2 victory over Fernando Gonzalez of Chile.

The world number two raised his game when he needed to as he came through his first real test of the week, setting up a clash with 10th seed Fernando Verdasco.

Fourth seed Andy Murray cruised into the last eight when his opponent Tommy Robredo retired with a right wrist injury. The Scot, who was leading 6-2, 3-0 when Robredo quit, will meet either Croat Ivan Ljubicic or Russian Igor Andreev.

"I enjoy playing (Gonzalez) because it's so tactical," Federer said.

"But then at the same time it's so brutal, so aggressive. You think you have a slight chance to win the point, and then you realise, no, there's actually none."

Federer cruised through the first set but Gonzalez, unleashing a series of spectacular forehand winners, broke in the 12th game of the second set to force a decider.

Federer then stepped on the accelerator, breaking in the third game of the third set and then again in the seventh before serving out for victory.

The Swiss has won both his previous matches with Verdasco, but the Spaniard looked in good form in beating Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany 6-4, 3-6, 6-1.

"I'm looking forward to playing more baseline rallies against Verdasco," Federer said.

"I'm sure that's going to happen. It's a good thing that I'm still in the tournament and facing an opponent who actually is going to extend the rallies a little bit. It's going to be a nice match, I'm sure."

Later on Wednesday, world number one Rafa Nadal plays Argentine David Nalbandian for a place in the quarter-finals, while defending champion Novak Djokovic plays Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka.

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