Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic cruised into the quarter-finals of the PNB Paribas Open at Indian Wells on Wednesday after Wimbledon champion Andy Murray and Australian Open winner Stanislas Wawrinka both fell in the fourth round.
In a tournament full of surprises, Federer and Djokovic struck a blow for the old world order with Federer beating Germany’s Tommy Haas 6-4 6-4 and Djokovic coming back to down Croatia’s Marin Cilic 1-6 6-2 6-3.
Federer and Djokivic are the only players ranked in the world’s top 10 to reach the quarter-finals after Wawrinka and Murray joined the big-name casualties when they both crashed to lower-ranked opponents on another day of upsets in the Californian desert.
Wawrinka suffered his first loss this year when his 13-match winning streak came to a shuddering halt as he was beaten 7-6(1) 4-6 6-1 by South African Kevin Anderson.
“It wasn’t really on my mind that he had won Australia,” said Anderson, whose next opponent is Federer.
“It feels great to beat somebody who obviously has just won a grand slam.”
Murray was blown away by Canada’s Milos Raonic, one of the biggest servers in men’s tennis.
Despite winning the first set, the Scotsman was unable to contain the raw power of Raonic, who triumphed 4-6 7-5 6-3 in a little over two hours.
Raonic blasted 15 aces past his bewildered opponent, who is one of the best returners in the game, and won a staggering 83 percent of points when he landed his first serve.
Murray did break Raonic’s serve in the opening set and again in the deciding third to lead 2-1 but lost the next four games in a row against the 6ft 5in (1.96 metre) tall Canadian.
“To get broken two consecutive times in that situation isn’t good enough. I played poor tennis at that stage. I didn’t make enough balls and I missed some really easy shots,” Murray told reporters.
“It’s tough to win matches like that, because against him, he obviously wins a lot of free points with his serve. So over the course of the set, if you give up enough unforced errors on basic shots, then with the amount of free points he gets on his serve, that’s going to add up to a negative result.”
Raonic’s next opponent in the quarter-finals will be Ukrainian giant killer Alexandr Dolgopolov, who followed up his upset victory over Rafa Nadal on Monday with a comprehensive 6-2 6-4 drubbing of Italy’s Fabio Fognini.
“I think the most important thing is obviously my serve and the beauty of that is nobody can affect me,” Raonic said.
Already a four-time champion at Indian Wells, Federer is now on a nine-match winning streak after taking the title in Dubai before heading to Indian continued…