INDIAN WELLS, California (AFP) – Novak Djokovic extended his match win streak to 16 and Roger Federer barely broke a sweat as they powered their way into the Indian Wells fourth round with straight-set wins.
Djokovic on Tuesday capped his 6-0, 6-1 demolition of Ernests Gulbis with back-to-back aces and Federer had an equally easy time ousting Juan Ignacio Chela 6-0, 6-2 in the $9 million WTA and ATP Masters Series 1000 tournament.
The aces were an ideal exclamation point to a perfect season so far for Djokovic who has won all 14 of his matches this year.
"I have been playing great tennis, best tennis of my life," he said.
Djokovic, who is looking to secure his second Indian Wells title, has been unstoppable this year and is 16-0 dating back to a pair of Davis Cup matches late last season.
"I cannot ask for a better start of the year," he said. "I mean, I'm just building up on that confidence and continuing to play well, and feeling up from that run that I have from Davis Cup final."
Djokovic fired four aces Tuesday as he broke Gulbis' serve five times in the 54-minute match.
"You try to take serious every opponent you have even though you are a favourite in the match," Djokovic said.
"I was just trying to keep the ball in the court, not doing too much, just returning a lot and making him play an extra shot and changing the pace."
He captured his second major title at the Australian Open in January and followed up with his 20th career ATP Tour title last month in Dubai.
The 22-year-old Djokovic has dropped just five games so far after opening with a 6-0, 6-4 against Andrey Golubev.
Djokovic moves on to face his Serbian countryman and doubles partner Victor Troicki who beat France's Michael Llodra 6-3, 6-3. Troicki and Djokovic will play each other Wednesday in singles then team up for their doubles match.
Federer was on the court just four minutes longer in the hot California desert sun than Djokovic.
|Roger Federer returns the ball during his match against Argentinian Juan Ignacio Chela during the tournament in Indian Wells, California. Federer won 6-0, 6-2.(AFP)|
Chela handed Federer the first set with a pair of double faults on the final two points. He finished with six double faults while Federer won 80 percent of his first serve points.
The three-time champion Federer is looking to regain his match fitness as he has played just three tournaments this year and hasn't made the final of the last four Grand Slams.
The 16-time major winner booked his berth in the fourth round where he will play the winner of a match between Canadian wildcard Milos Raonic and Ryan Harrison of the United States.
In other men's matches Tuesday, Czech Tomas Berdych beat Thomaz Bellucci of Brazil 6-3, 6-2, Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka defeated Marin Cilic 7-5, 6-3 and Richard Gasquet surprised 10th seed Jurgen Melzer of Germany 6-1, 6-3.
Second seed Kim Clijsters and defending woman's champion Jelena Jankovic and reigning French Open champ Francesca Schiavone, seeded fifth, were added to the growing list of seeded casualties on the women's side Tuesday.
Clijsters pulled out of her match with a shoulder injury in the second set against Marion Bartoli and Jankovic lost to Serbian countrywoman Ana Ivanovic 6-4, 6-2. Italy's Schiavone lost in a third set tiebreaker to Shahar Peer 6-4, 3-6, 7-6.
Clijsters won the first set 6-3 but then called for the trainer early in the second set before packing it in with Bartoli leading 3-1.
The sixth seeded Jankovic was attempting to become the first women since Martina Navratilova (1990 and 1991) to defend her title at Indian Wells.
"I just didn't move. I felt really stuck with my feet," Jankovic said. Ivanovic added to the Serbian assault on Indian Wells Tuesday by hitting seven aces and saving six-of-seven break point chances to post her seventh win over Jankovic in 10 meetings.
"I'm really happy," Ivanovic said. "I played some good tennis in the past few weeks. To play consistent on that level, I'm really pleased."