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Federer seeded to meet Murray in semis at Indian Wells

WORLD number two Roger Federer could face his nemesis Andy Murray of Britain in the semi-finals of the Indian Wells ATP tournament after being seeded second in yesterday's draw.

The 27-year-old Swiss is a three-times champion at Indian Wells Tennis Garden but has lost to the Scot five times in seven career meetings, including their last three encounters.

World number four Murray, who beat Federer 6-7 6-2 6-2 in the Qatar Open semi-finals in January when they last met, has been seeded fourth for the opening Masters Series event of the season.

However, they both face tricky routes to reach the last four at Indian Wells after being forced through injury or illness to spend time away from the game.

Federer, sidelined by a back injury since losing last month's Australian Open final to Rafael Nadal, is seeded to meet big-serving Croat Ivo Karlovic in round three.

Although the Swiss master has won six of their seven encounters, he lost to Karlovic 7-6 4-6 7-6 in their most recent match in Cincinnati last year.

Should Federer advance to the last eight, he is likely to face fifth-seeded Russian Nikolay Davydenko who has never beaten the 13-times grand slam champion in 12 attempts.

Murray, 21, has already won two ATP titles this year but he withdrew from last month's Dubai Championships and a Davis Cup tie last week because of a virus.

Although not yet feeling fully fit, the Briton is eager to compete at Indian Wells where his likely opponent in the fourth round is 15th-seeded Spaniard Tommy Robredo.

Spanish left-hander and world number one Nadal is the top seed at Indian Wells while last year's champion, Novak Djokovic of Serbia, is seeded third.

The men's competition starts tomorrow, one day after the opening round of the women's tournament.


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