Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal remain on course to meet in the Indian Wells Masters quarter-finals after both reached the last 16 in California.
Swiss star Federer, ranked second in the world, beat Croatia’s Ivan Dodig 6-3 6-1 in the third round.
“For the first few seconds, I wasn’t sure what was happening. I ran outside. I was at the house and didn’t know how long it was going to last. Thank God my family wasn’t in the house.””
Spaniard Nadal progressed on a walkover as Argentine opponent Leonardo Mayer withdrew because of a back injury. Women’s champion Victoria Azarenka overcame a first-set blip to beat Belgium’s Kirsten Flipkens 3-6 6-3 6-0. Former world number one Caroline Wozniacki eased to a 6-2 6-1 win over Elena Vesnina, while Angelique Kerber and Sam Stosur also advanced to the fourth round.
Federer, a four-time champion at Indian Wells, had to overcome a back problem to defeat Dodig in 61 minutes. But he is not worried that it could affect his fourth-round match against Swiss Davis Cup team-mate Stanislas Wawrinka today. “I felt a little something in my back at the end,” the 17-time Grand Slam champion said. “I’ll just have to check it out. Hopefully I’ll be fine.”
Dodig, ranked 60th in the world, brought up three break points in the first game of the match, but Federer won five points in a row to hold. The former world number one was given a break in game eight as Dodig served two double faults, and went on to claim the opening set.
He then twice broke in the second set for a 3-0 lead, and even though Dodig won his next service game, Federer powered through. Nadal will face Latvia’s Ernests Gulbis for a place in the quarter-finals after his walkover victory. The former world number one was due to face Mayer in the third round on Monday, but the Argentine withdrew minutes before warming up.