Tennis

Federer, Azarenka both advance

Roger Federer (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Roger Federer returns a shot during Thursday's match at the BNP Paribas Open.
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INDIAN WELLS, California (AP)

Defending champion Roger Federer beat Ivan Dodig of Croatia 6-3, 6-1 in a third-round match at the BNP Paribas Open on Monday, with the Swiss star tweaking his back near the end of the match.

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Federer earned his 890th career ATP Tour victory, joining Jimmy Connors, Ivan Lendl and Guillermo Vilas as the only men to have won at least that many matches in the Open era. The second-ranked Swiss star is seeking his first tournament title of the year at an event where he has won four championships and has a 41-8 career record.

Federer was the highest-seeded men's player in action Monday. He has Tuesday off to give his back a rest.

''I'm not too worried. I have gone through it so many times where you feel a little tweak,'' he said. ''Happened during Grand Slams, during tournaments, in practice. It's just something you learn to deal with.''

Top-ranked and defending women's champion Victoria Azarenka rallied to beat 28th-seeded Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium, 3-6, 6-3, 6-0 and improve to 15 matches without loss this year.

Azarenka said she wasn't feeling well and when the match ended she grabbed a some tissues for her stuffy nose.

''I just wanted to go to sleep instead of playing tennis. I couldn't breathe and I was too stupid not to use a tissue,'' she said. ''She really played well. She came out firing and playing so freely, going for every possible shot there was. I didn't adjust well.''

A 4.7 magnitude earthquake struck at 9:55 a.m. local time near Indian Wells. It occurred before the day's matches had begun, although the Indian Wells Tennis Garden was busy with fans and workers, many of whom said they felt a strong jolt.

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Federer ran out of the house where he's staying during the tournament.

''I didn't know how long it was going to last, if it was going to get worse from there, or if the worst was already past,'' he said. ''It was a very strange feeling to have because you see the windows shaking and you look up and realize you're under a structure. It was quite scary for a second there.''

Fifth-seeded Rafael Nadal was on the massage table preparing for his third-round match against Leonardo Mayer of Argentina when the quake hit.

''I was very scared,'' he said. ''I think the massage table moves even worse.''

The Spaniard said his legs were wobbling and even though it was his first earthquake it took him ''probably a half-second'' to realize what was happening.

After the excitement caused by the quake, Nadal didn't even get to play his match. Mayer withdrew because of a back injury.

Nadal opened his bid for a third Indian Wells title with a two-set victory over American Ryan Harrison on Saturday, the Spaniard's first hard-court match in nearly a year. He returned to the ATP Tour a month ago, winning two of three tournaments on clay after missing seven months because of a left knee injury.

Temperatures are forecast to soar into the 90s Fahrenheit (30s Celsius) in the next few days, conditions that should favor Nadal.

''For me, for my knee, for my foot, for everything is better when the conditions are warmer,'' he said. ''I love practicing and playing in days like today: no wind, fantastic weather, good, hot temperature.''

Nadal shared a friendly hit on Sunday with tournament owner Larry Ellison, the co-founder and CEO of Oracle Corp. and one of the world's wealthiest men.

''His backhand improve, especially a lot from last year, so that's great,'' Nadal said. ''It's great what he's doing for tennis and especially this tournament. He knows more about tennis I think than me.''

On the men's side, No. 6 Tomas Berdych defeated 27th-seeded Florian Mayer 6-4, 6-1; Latvian qualifier Ernests Gulbis outlasted 20th-seeded Andreas Seppi, 5-7, 6-3, 6-4 to win his 13th consecutive match this season; and Kevin Anderson beat Jarkko Nieminen, 6-3, 6-1.

Gulbis takes on Nadal in the fourth round, a player that Gulbis has yet to beat in four matches.

''I believe that I can win,'' Gulbis said. ''Yeah, I said it already.''

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Among the women's third-round winners Monday were No. 4 Angelique Kerber, No. 7 Sam Stosur, No. 8 Caroline Wozniacki, and No. 10 Nadia Petrova.

Kerber beat 30th-seeded Yanina Wickmayer 6-1, 7-6 (4) after rallying from a 1-4 deficit in the second set. She and her coach were talking before the match when the quake hit.

''In the first moment we both were thinking, it's like a subway here, but actually we are in the desert. No way that there is a subway,'' Kerber said.

Stosur needed three sets to get by 32nd-seeded Shuai Peng of China, 6-3, 3-6, 6-2; and Wozniacki routed 29th-seeded Elena Vesnina, 6-2, 6-1. Petrova beat No. 21 seed Julia Georges, 6-1, 6-2 and Spanish qualifier Garbine Muguruza defeated Magdalena Rybarikova of Slovakia, 6-4, 6-0.

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