Roger Federer to face Rafa Nadal at Indian Wells

Roger Federer set up a clash with Rafa Nadal at Indian Wells with a straight sets with over Steve Johnson, while world number two Novak Djokovic also advanced to the last 16 after defeating Juan Martin del Potro.

Less than two months on from the previous instalment which saw Federer claim the Australian Open with a thrilling five-set final victory over his Spanish counterpart, the pair will meet again in California.

The 35-year-old Swiss overcame American Johnson, edging a tight contest that had no break of serves 7-6 (7/3) 7-6 (7/4).

Nadal had it much more comfortable as he beat his compatriot Fernando Verdasco 6-3 7-5, to set up a 36th meeting with his great rival, who he has beaten 23 times.

“He has the talent to do very difficult things that look easy,” Nadal said.

“He’s able to take the ball very early. Serve and first shot, he creates a lot of winners with that, the two first shots.”

Federer added: “That’s why I came here, to play against guys like Rafa. Now we have it. I’m going to be excited now, I’d better be excited now otherwise I came for the wrong reasons.

“I try to see it really as another opportunity to build upon something for the rest of the season.

“So regardless of Australia, winning or losing, I’m going to try to go out there and try to play free again. I think it’s really important.”

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Roger Federer to face Rafa Nadal at Indian Wells

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