World No1 Roger Federer’s remarkable run continued as he booked his quarter-final berth in the ATP Indian Wells Masters with a 7-5, 6-4 win over Jeremy Chardy on Wednesday.
The 36-year-old Federer, who won his 20th Grand Slam when he captured the Australian Open in January, is off to one of his strongest career starts and is now 15-0 in 2018.
It is his best beginning to the season since 2006 when he started 16-0 and won 33 of his first 34 matches.
“It has been great. But it is a totally different year, and so many years after,” he said.
“For so many years I have felt good actually in Australia.
“I don’t know if it’s Australia per se or, taking the benefits from the hard work I put into the new season.”
Federer, who also won at Rotterdam in February, is gunning for a record sixth Indian Wells title.
“Yeah, and then also Rotterdam was great. I was very happy that I was able to win the tournament there, not just get to the semis and get world No. 1.
“And here now I’m relieved that I was able to win three matches already. Because in a big, tough draw like here at Indian Wells, you’re never quite sure what to expect.
“So I’m just happy I’m on a good run.”
The defending Indian Wells champion Federer put on a serving clinic against Chardy as he hit two aces and won 100 percent of his first serve points. He dropped just three serve points overall with those coming on his second serve.
Federer advances to the quarter-finals where he will face South Korea’s Chung Hyeon who defeated 30th-seeded Pablo Cuevas 6-1, 6-3 earlier on Wednesday.
Federer will face the 21-year-old Chung for the second time this year.
No1 Halep hits semis
Chung made a Grand Slam breakthrough when he reached the semi-finals of the Australian Open in January but had to retire in his match with Federer because of a foot blister.
Women's world No1 Simona Halep punched her ticket to the Indian Wells semi-finals with a 6-4, 6-7 (5/7), 6-3 win over Croatia’s Petra Martic on Wednesday.
The 26-year-old Halep improved to 18-1 on the season and is looking to win her second WTA Tour title of 2018.
Halep, of Romania, needed two hours and 23 minutes to put Martic away under taxing conditions as strong winds swirled around the main stadium court.
“It was difficult conditions to play in today because of the wind,” she said. “It was tough to play, because the ball was really moving.
“But I just tried everything. I tried also to push a little bit the ball and then to hit it. I tried to mix it up. Was not easy at all. For both of us it was difficult.”
Halep moves on to the semi-finals where she will face Japan’s Naomi Osaka who beat fifth-seeded Karolina Pliskova 6-2, 6-3.
Halep is guaranteed to hold onto her No. 1 ranking at the end of this event after world No2 Caroline Wozniacki was eliminated on Tuesday.
Halep is seeking her second Indian Wells title after beating Jelena Jankovic in 2015.