Federer battles past Gonzalez in California

Federer (left) and Gonzalez embrace after their three-setter in California.
World number two Roger Federer survived the loss of the second set to see off Chilean Fernando Gonzalez 6-3 5-7 6-2 to reach the quarterfinals of the Masters Series event in Indian Wells.

Federer was winning for the 12th time in 13 matches against Gonzalez to earn a clash with Fernando Verdasco of Spain. Verdasco, playing his first match since reaching the semifinals of the Australian Open, beat German Phillipp Kohlschreiber 6-4 3-6 6-1. He has been struggling with an ankle injury since his Melbourne heroics but is looking forward to playing the Swiss maestro. “So now that I won three matches already, I’m in quarterfinals,” he told the official ATP Tour Web site www.atpworldtour.com. “I did all the good things that I supposed to do. Now with Federer I will try to do a great match. I don’t have anything to lose.” World number four Andy Murray also made it through to the quarterfinals as his Spanish opponent Tommy Robredo retired with a wrist injury when trailing 6-2 3-0 to the British number one. Murray next faces Croatian Ivan Ljubicic, who beat Russian Igor Andreev 4-6, 7-6 7-6 in a marathon fourth round match lasting more than three hours. Federer is playing his first tournament since losing to Rafael Nadal in the final of the Australian Open and had not faced a break point on his service in his first two matches. But Gonzalez proved a tougher proposition as he broke through in the second set to level. Federer quickly recovered to take a 2-1 lead in the third set as he broke Gonzalez with a forehand winner and repeated the trick to lead 5-2 before serving out for victory. The prestigious tournament in California is the first Masters Series tournament of the season and first major showdown since the opening grand slam of the season in Australia.