Tennis

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Roger Federer produced two brilliant backhand winners against Rafael Nadal

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One of tennis' greatest ever rivalries was renewed last night as Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal met for the 36th time at Indian Wells.

Just a couple of months after their epic five-set Australian Open final, the two modern legends locked horns it again.

And just like 2017's first Grand Slam in Melbourne, it was Federer who came away the victor with a brilliant 6-2 6-3 win.

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As well as making it into the quarter-finals of the BNP Paribas Open, Federer picked up his third consecutive victory over Nadal - the first time he has managed such a run in his career.

The Swiss star recaptured some of the form that saw him win an 18th Grand Slam earlier in the year to produce a flawless display.

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His backhand - historically a part of his game Nadal has targeted - was absolutely flawless throughout the 68-minute encounter.

The 35-year-old hit six winners from the backhand but two in particular were truly spectacular.

And you can see both of them in all of their glory in the video below.

BNP Paribas Open - Day 10

The first, a brilliant strike down the line after calmly negotiating Nadal's initial attack from the serve.

The second is equally impressive as Federer turned on the style for match point with a stunning return of the serve right in the corner that even left Nadal looking a little bemused.

Is there a better sight in tennis than Federer's one-handed backhand thundering back a return with such ease?

We don't think so.

The 18-time Grand Slam winner was understandably pleased with his performance and revealed being aggressive on the backhand was always part of his plan to disrupt Nadal.

"I did very well today, I'm so pleased I'm able to step into the court and play super aggressive," said Federer, as per BBC Sport.

BNP Paribas Open - Day 10

"Coming over the backhand has been part of that.

"It's a nice feeling to win the last three. I can tell you that but most importantly, I won Australia. That was big for me."

"For me, it was all about coming out and trying to play the way I did in Australia. I didn't think it was going to be that possible, to be quite honest, because the court is more jumpy here so it's hard to put the ball away."

Federer will now face Nick Kyrgios in the last eight after the Australian pulled off a big shock to beat Novak Djokovic just a few hours earlier.

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Topics:
Tennis
Rafael Nadal
Roger Federer
Novak Djokovic
Australian Open
Andy Murray

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