INDIAN WELLS (California): Roger Federer made quick work of Ivan Dodig on Monday, keeping his Indian Wells title defence on track with a 6-3, 6-1 third-round victory over the 60th-ranked Croatian.

Federer needed just 61 minutes to seal the victory -- abetted somewhat by Dodig's six double-faults, the last of which came on match point.

Rafael Nadal's progress into the round of 16 was even swifter. Spain's 11-time Grand Slam champion advanced without raising his racquet when scheduled third-round opponent Leonardo Mayer of Argentina withdrew with a back injury.

The walkover allowed fifth-seeded Nadal to rest his troublesome left knee, but cost him more of the match experience he says he needs as he continues his comeback from a seven-month injury layoff.

The former world No. 1, currently ranked fifth, returned in February, reaching one final and winning two titles in three clay-court tournaments in Latin America.

This is his first hard-court tournament since injury forced him out of the Miami Masters last March. Nadal remained on course for a potential quarter-final showdown with Federer. But first he faces a potentially tough fourth-round clash with red-hot Latvian Ernests Gulbis, who defeated 20th-seeded Italian Andreas Seppi 5-7, 6-3, 6-4.

Gulbis became the first qualifier to win a title this season in Delray Beach and he came through qualifying here as well. Including those qualifiers, he has won 13 competitive matches in 17 days.


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