(AP) — Rafael Nadal fell to Roger Federer 2-6, 3-6 in the fourth round of the BNP Paribas Open, an ATP Masters 1000 event in Indian Wells.
Federer broke Rafa to open the match in front of a packed Stadium 1 crowd. Federer faced just one break point on his serve in the match, but he recovered with a big serve and two winning backhands to go up 2-0 in the first set.
“The main thing he take the break in the first game, and I had break point in the next game and come back and he had a good serve,” Rafa said. “When Roger has the advantage, his serve is so good, he has a lot of confidence with his serve, he’s able to play much more relaxed.”
Rafa wasn’t too shabby either, serving three love games. But Federer’s shotmaking was superb, frequently kissing the lines off both sides.
The four-time Indian Wells winner was crafty, too. Leading 5-1, Federer moved in quickly on Rafa’s second serve, surprising the Spaniard, whose forehand sailed long. Federer’s drop shots were well-timed and even when a scrambling Rafa got to them in time, Federer answered with one of his 26 winners.
The two superstars hadn’t played each other before the quarterfinals of an event since 2004 when they met in the third round at Miami. Wednesday’s match was just the fifth time they weren’t opposing each other in a final.