(Reuters) – World number one Roger Federer needed less than an hour to dispatch Filip Krajinovic at the BNP Paribas Open in California on Monday, mixing overpowering serves and pinpoint groundstrokes to advance to the fourth round of the tournament.
Playing for a third consecutive day due to weather delays in Indian Wells, the 36-year-old Swiss showed no sign of wear en route to a 6-2 6-1 thrashing of the Serbian in the pair’s first ever meeting.
Federer, who had looked slightly off his game in his rain-disrupted third round match against Federico Delbonis, was his dominant self on Monday, winning 89 percent of his first service points while cracking six aces to just one double fault.
Krajinovic had no answer for Federer’s serve or relentless return game and ended up winning just 31 of the match’s 93 points.
With rivals Rafa Nadal, Stan Wawrinka and Andy Murray electing not to enter the tournament, and Novak Djokovic and Kei Nishikori both out of the running, the path appears clear for the Swiss to win a record sixth Indian Wells title.
Despite the promising outlook, Federer insisted he was taking it one match at a time.
“You can’t really look ahead to semi-finals, finals and speculate about who you could play,” he told reporters.
“I think that would be a mistake. I am on a good run right now and I want to maintain that. I have to stay sharp.”
Next up for Federer is a meeting on Wednesday with France’s Jeremy Chardy, who upset his countryman Adrian Mannarino earlier on Monday.
In other matches, fifth-seeded Dominic Thiem had to retire with an ankle injury while trailing Pablo Cuevas 6-3 4-6 2-4.
Seventh seed Kevin Anderson took down Nicolas Kicker 7-6(1) 7-6(3) and South Korea’s Chung Hyeon beat Tomas Berdych 6-4 6-4.
Borna Coric of Croatia upset 13th seed Roberto Bautista Agut 6-1 6-3 and Spain’s Pablo Carreno Busta defeated Daniil Medvedev 6-1 7-5.
American Taylor Fritz enjoyed a comeback victory over Fernando Verdasco 4-6 6-2 7-6(1). The 20-year-old has now won 11 of 12 final-set tiebreaks.
“I think it speaks to my strengths on court, which is just being clutch and playing my best tennis in the big moments,” Fritz said, adding, “… it’s probably the stat that I’m most proud about in my tennis career”.
(Reporting by Rory Carroll in Los Angeles, additional reporting by Jahmal Corner; Editing by Ian Ransom/Peter Rutherford)