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Federer, Murray into Indian Wells quarterfinals

ROGER Federer saw off Fernando Gonzalez 6-3, 5-7, 6-2 in the BNP Paribas Open yesterday to set up a quarterfinal with another Fernando - Verdasco.

Meanwhile, defending champion Novak Djokovic and fourth-seeded Andy Murray also advanced.

Federer's 12th win in 13 matches against Gonzalez kept him on track in his bid to become the first man to win four times at Indian Wells. Second-seeded Federer won the title from 2004 to 2006, joining Americans Jimmy Connors and Michael Chang as the only three-time champs.

Gonzalez fought his way back into the match in the second set, overcoming earlier frustration he had vented by slamming a racket onto the court - three times - and shattering it. He earned the first break against Federer this week, but the Swiss star broke in the last set for a 2-1 lead and again for 5-2.

Federer said he felt he finally was able to establish some rhythm in his game after playing mostly serve-and-return against his first two opponents.

"Today was a bit more baseline, even though I couldn't find his (Gonzalez's) backhand," Federer said. "If you don't find his backhand, the point is over quickly. He has such a massive forehand.

"I'm looking forward to playing against Verdasco. It's a good thing that I'm still in the tournament and facing an opponent who actually is going to extend the rallies a little bit."

The 10th-seeded Verdasco won his fourth-round match against unseeded Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany 6-4, 3-6, 6-1.

Federer has a 2-0 record against Verdasco, although both wins were on clay.

Verdasco helped Spain win the Davis Cup final last year and reached his first Grand Slam semifinals at the Australian Open. Until now, he'd never passed the third round at Indian Wells.

World No. 4 Murray progressed when old nemesis Tommy Robredo retired with an injured right wrist.

Murray was leading 6-2, 3-0 after 50 minutes when Robredo was too hurt to continue.

He said he was aware Robredo had a problem with his wrist, although he still seemed to be hitting the ball OK.

"But mentally, a wrist problem can be tough," Murray said. "I know because I've been through it. It's just the pain that's there and feeling like something might happen."

The Brit had expected a tough match because Robredo had won both previous encounters, and both players had won two titles already this year. Murray improved his career-best start to the season to 18-1.

He will play unseeded Ivan Ljubicic of Croatia, who outlasted Igor Andreev of Russia 4-6, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (4) over three hours. Ljubicic saved five match points on serve at 6-5 in the third.

Djokovic defeated Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland 7-6 (7), 7-6 (8) a round earlier than he did a year ago.

Fourth-seeded Vera Zvonareva was the first woman into the semifinals when she dispatched ninth-seeded Caroline Wozniacki 6-4, 6-2.

Despite hitting 12 double faults, Zvonareva lost her serve only once, while breaking the Danish teen four times.

It's the Russian's third semifinals of the year after her run to the last four at the Australian Open and the title at Pattaya City, Thailand last month. Zvonareva awaited the winner between top-seeded Dinara Safina and eighth-seeded Victoria Azarenka.


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