Indian Wells Open: Federer to face Wawrinka, viral illness hit players
CGTN

Roger Federer will fight with his compatriot Stan Wawrinka for a fourth-round berth at the ATP Indian Wells Masters on Tuesday - the 25th meeting in a rivalry that Federer has dominated.

Wawrinka, a three-time Grand Slam champion currently unseeded as he continues his return from injury, said a match with Federer is a relish, despite their lopsided record.

"He's the best player to ever play the sport," Wawrinka said. "I think it's great for me." 

Federer, who has won their last five encounters - including the 2017 Indian Wells final - said an in-form Wawrinka is an opponent to be wary of.

"I know what he can do," Federer said. "He's got all the different options how to win points. He's a fighter and a winner.”

"I hope he's going to be in the top 20, top 10 very soon again," Federer added.

Fourth-seeded Federer, a five-time champion at Indian Wells, is seeking to break out of a tie with top seed Novak Djokovic for most titles in the California desert.

Roger Federer of Switzerland in action during the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells, California, March 10, 2019. /VCG Photo

Roger Federer of Switzerland in action during the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells, California, March 10, 2019. /VCG Photo

Meanwhile, world No.2 Rafael Nadal, playing his third tournament of a year that started with a crushing loss to Djokovic in the Australian Open final and included an early exit in Acapulco, next faces Diego Schwartzman. Nadal is 6-0 against the Argentine.

Sixth-seeded Kei Nishikori of Japan and tenth-seeded Croatian Marin Cilic have also cruised into the next round.

On the women's court, Latvian 11th seed Anastasija Sevastova exited the ATP 1000 event with a viral illness on Monday.

Her departure came less than 24 hours after Serena Williams was unable to continue her match on Sunday, also citing a viral illness.

Men's third seed Alexander Zverev revealed on Monday that he too had a virus, speaking after losing to fellow German Jan-Lennard Struff.

Earlier, Chinese No.1 Wang Qiang beat Elise Mertens of Belgium to enter the last 16.

(With input from Reuters and AFP)