INDIAN WELLS, March 16: Roger Federer defeated Rafael Nadal 6-2, 6-3 at the BNP Paribas Open in a fourth-round match that saw the longtime rivals meeting much earlier in a tournament than usual.
Federer broke Nadal four times in advancing to the quarterfinals in just over an hour.
Although Nadal owns a 23-13 lead in their series, Federer has won the past three in a row, including an epic comeback in the Australian Open final two months ago.
Federer broke Nadal 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.
Nadal 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 Nadal�s second serve, surprising the Spaniard, whose forehand sailed long.
Federer�s drop shots were well-timed and even when a scrambling Nadal 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.
Another one of tennis� Big Four went down, too. Novak Djokovic�s 19-match winning streak at the desert tournament ended in a 6-4, 7-6 (3) loss to Nick Kyrgios.
Djokovic joined Nadal and top-ranked Andy Murray, who was upset in the second round.
Djokovic, Federer and Nadal were all in the same quarter of the draw, ensuring the tournament would lose some of its biggest names before the second weekend.
Kyrgios beat Djokovic for the second time in two weeks, having earned a straight-set victory over the world�s No. 2 player at Acapulco on March 2. � AP