INDIAN WELLS, Calif. /March 12, 2018 (AP)(STL.News) —Roger Federer rolled past No. 25 seed Filip Krajinovic 6-2, 6-1 in pursuit of a record sixth BNP Paribas Open title on Monday, while Sloane Stephens remained mired in her post-U.S. Open slump.
Federer improved to 65-5 since returning from a left knee injury last year with his third-round victory in a rare day match. The Swiss star’s young son, Lenny, watched from a box wearing a Superman cap.
What he saw was his 36-year-old father overcome a shaky first set in which there were four breaks of serve. Federer hit a running forehand passing shot to break at love and take the set 6-2. Federer cruised to a 3-0 lead in the second and closed out the win in 58 minutes.
“I was playing aggressive and feeling like he was not loving my slice,” said Federer, who owns the No. 1 ranking. “I was able to mix up my game nicely, make it difficult for him.”
Serena and Venus Williams were to resume their rivalry in a third-round night match, the sisters’ earliest meeting since Venus won in the second round of the 1998 Australian Open. Serena owns a 17-11 advantage overall and has won eight of their last nine matches.
Stephens, the 13th seed, lost to No. 20 Daria Kasatkina of Russia 6-4, 6-3, and fell to 2-4 in matches this year.
“I mean, not going to be too down about it,” Stephens said. “There’s always next week and the week after.”
Kasatkina has beaten all four of the current Grand Slam champions in the last year: French Open winner Jelena Ostapenko, Australian Open winner Caroline Wozniacki, Wimbledon winner Garbine Muguruza and now Stephens.
Stephens, who won her first major at Flushing Meadows last fall, lost in the first rounds at the Australian Open and in Sydney before reaching the quarterfinals at Acapulco.
Wozniacki outlasted Aliaksandra Sasnovich of Belarus 6-4, 2-6, 6-3 for her 31st career match win at Indian Wells, where she has played 12 straight years. She won in the desert in 2011 and has been runner-up twice.
The highest-seeded player to lose Monday was No. 4 Elina Svitolina of Ukraine, who was beaten 7-5, 6-3 by 27th-seeded Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain. Also losing was No. 12 Julia Goerges of Germany, 6-3, 6-3 to No. 21 Anastasjia Sevastova of Latvia.
In other third-round matches, No. 7 Caroline Garcia of France beat 26th-seeded Daria Gavrilova of Australia 7-5, 6-4; No. 10 Angelique Kerber of Germany defeated No. 24 Elena Vesnina of Russia 7-5, 6-2; and American Danielle Collins continued her run with a 6-4, 6-4 win over fellow wild card Sofya Zhuk of Russia.
“It definitely feels like a big deal because I have never gone this far in a tournament,” Collins said.
On the men’s side, Borna Coric of Croatia upset No. 13 Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain 6-1, 6-3; Jeremy Chardy beat No. 20 Adrian Mannarino 7-5, 4-6, 6-1 in an all-French matchup; and No. 11 Pablo Carreno Busta of Spain defeated Daniil Medvedev of Russia 6-1, 7-5.
American Taylor Fritz outlasted Fernando Verdasco of Spain 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 (1).