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Indian Wells

14.03.2005 | Tennis

In a night match, Roger beat Ivan Ljubicic for the fourth time in as many matches this year, winning 7-6 (3), 7-6 (4). The other three wins over the Croatian all came in finals. Roger will next face Germany’s Nicolas Kiefer (ATP 31) on Friday.

 

Roger displayed his usual consistency and variety of effective shots in the victory over Ljubicic. Ljubicic, who turns 26 on Saturday and seems to have ratcheted his game up this year, played Roger close in a match in which there were no service breaks and only one break point. Roger was able to get four points on Ljubicic's serve in both tiebreakers. According to Roger it was “the best match we have played so far.”.

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Roger won in straight sets on Tuesday to advance in the Pacific Life Open. Winning for the 22nd time in 23 matches this year, he defeated Gilles Muller 6-3, 6-2 to move into the fourth round.

 

Roger said he took his usual approach to the match against Muller – believing it was going to be a tough one. "When I go into a match, that's what I think about, even though maybe I'm the big favourite and my opponent hasn't played many of the big matches on big courts around the world".

Muller is nevertheless considered on the rise. The left-hander vaulted from 189th to No. 68 in the rankings last year. The 21-year-old player from Luxembourg was the world's No. 1 junior in 2001.

 

Roger will now meet Ivan Ljubicic – four-times finalist against Roger this season – who eliminated Tomas Berdych.

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Roger opened defense of his Pacific Life Open title with a methodical 6-3, 6-3 victory over Mardy Fish on Sunday. Running his match record for the year to 21-1, Roger broke Fish's serve twice on the way to a 4-0 lead in the first set, and then was in clear control the rest of the way, ending the match after one hour and 7 minutes.

 

Roger said gusting wind at Indian Wells that picked up in the second set made it difficult to sustain rallies. "But I was always ahead. So I'm happy with that first match," he said. After several days of 90-degree heat in the desert resort area earlier in the week, temperatures were in the 70s for Roger's opening match. Pierre Paganini, Roger’s fitness coach, is also present in Indian Wells in order to hold daily sessions with Roger. Let’s hope the temperatures don’t rise too high!

 

Roger’s opponent in the next round will either be Milan-finalist Stepanek (CZ/ATP 26) or Gilles Muller (LUX/ATP 67). Roger played Stepanek twice in Gstaad (one victory, one defeat); he has never faced Muller before.

 
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