Roger Federer, of Switzerland, returns a shot to Steve Johnson at the BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament, Tuesday, March 14, 2017, in Indian Wells, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
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Roger Federer edged Steve Johnson 7-6 (3), 7-6 (4) in a hard-serving duel at the BNP Paribas Open Tuesday, setting up a fourth-round match against Rafael Nadal.Five-time Indian Wells winner Novak Djokovic defeated 2013 finalist Juan Martin del Potro 7-5, 4-6, 6-1 and next faces Nick Kyrgios in the same quarter of the draw as Federer and Nadal.Federer is a four-time champion at Indian Wells who won his last title in 2012 . He defeated Nadal in the Australian Open final in January for his record 18th Grand Slam title. Federer hit 32 winners against Johnson, including a forehand volley that earned him a mini-break in the first set tiebreaker.Johnson held at 6-all to force the second tiebreaker and fell behind 4-2 . He broke Federer for a 4-all tie before Federer won on his second match point when Johnson netted a backhand.Nadal closed out his 1-1/2-hour, third-round match in 35-degree heat with a forehand winner.Nadal won 80 percent of his first-serve points and three of five break points. Nadal called it unlucky that he and Federer were to play before the quarterfinals.
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