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Federer, Nadal setup meeting no.36 in Indian Wells

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Two of the best tennis players of their generation, Switzerland's Roger Federer and Spain's Rafael Nadal won in the third round to set-up a pre-quarter-final clash at the BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament in Indian Wells.

Nadal defeated countryman Fernando Verdasco 6-3, 7-5 on Tuesday while Federer got the better of the United States' Steve Johnson 7-6(3), 7-6(4).

It was Nadal's 50th victory at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, the venue for three of his 28 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 triumphs. Nadal, 30, enjoys a 16-3 advantage in matches against Verdasco, who last defeated his compatriot in the 2016 Australian Open.

Federer and Nadal have squared off 35 times, most recently in the final of the Australian Open, where the Swiss legend prevailed in an epic five-set match. Despite that loss, Nadal leads their head to head record 23 to 12. Federer though will be attempting to beat Nadal for the third straight time, a feat he has never accomplished previously.

Interestingly, this will be their earliest ever meeting at a tournament in the last 13 years. This will also be the third occasion that they will be squaring off at Indian Wells, with both men having a victory each under their belt. In what is not a good omen for the rest of the field, the victor on each occasion went on to win the tournament.

Others to advance to the round of 16 on Tuesday included world no.2 Novak Djokovic, who beat Argentine Juan Martin del Potro 7-5, 4-6, 6-1 to setup a rematch with Nick Krygios of Australia, the rookie having beaten Djokovic a couple of weeks back in Acapulco.

Also through to the pre-quarter-finals in no.4 seed Kei Nishikori of Japan and American Jack Sock, the latter saving 4 match points against Bulgarian Grigor Dmitrov in an enthralling contest.

Singles - Third Round

[2] N. Djokovic (SRB) d [31] J. del Potro (ARG) 75 46 61

[4] K. Nishikori (JPN) d [25] G. Muller (LUX) 62 62

[5] R. Nadal (ESP) d [26] F. Verdasco (ESP) 63 75

[9] R. Federer (SUI) d [24] S. Johnson (USA) 76(3) 76(4)

[17] J. Sock (USA) d [12] G. Dimitrov (BUL) 36 63 76(7)

D. Young (USA) d [14] L. Pouille (FRA) 64 16 63

[15] N. Kyrgios (AUS) d [18] A. Zverev (GER) 63 64

M. Jaziri (TUN) d [WC] T. Fritz (USA) 64 36 63