Below-par Federer beats Wawrinka and advances to last 8 in Indian Wells

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Roger Federer was far from his best today, but eventually came out on top in an exciting three set contest against Stanislas Wawrinka 6-3 6-7 7-5. Boasting a 14-1 record over his fellow Swiss, he got off to a bad start as he was broken in the opening game of the match. Wawrinka immediately went 0-40 down in the very next game, saving all three only to drop serve at the fourth time of asking. He was broke once more in the next service game as Federer reeled off four straight games to take control of the set.

Federer held twice to take the set 6-3 and an early break in the second looked to have ended the match as a contest as he took a *2-1 lead. A chance for a double break at 4-2 (after Federer himself had saved break points) was not taken by Federer as Wawrinka held on and he would eventually get his chance. Federer was broken to love as he attempted to serve out the match, throwing in an awful service game to get pegged back to 5-5. Both players held, Federer from 0-30, to force a tie break. Wawrinka twice took mini breaks only to be pegged back at 3-1 and 5-3 respectively but he would eventually get the key mini break at 5-4. Down 4-6, Federer removed the challenge out of Wawrinka’s hands as he double faulted to drop the set.

With the momentum seemingly in Wawrinka’s favour against an increasingly poor Federer, it almost all went away again as Wawrinka went down 0-40 in his first service game of the final set but eventually held after saving 5 break points in total. Federer paid for it as he was broken immediately but more notable was the anger he displayed during what he felt was a questionable umpiring decision where he was denied a challenge on a ball he felt was out due to it being too late after the point where he had played a second shot. Wawrinka failed to consolidate though, dropping serve from 30-0. There wasn’t much in the way of return for much of the rest of the set aside from at 4-4 where Federer held from 30-40 down.

There was an air of inevitability over the way the match ended with Wawrinka serving to stay in the match for the second time round at *5-6. Finding himself in a 0-30 hole, he would be unable to hold as he extended his awful record to 1-15 against a Federer who really was there for the taking.

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