INDIAN WELLS, Calif -- Rafael Nadal has done his part to set up potential fourth round match with Roger Federer. Now it's up to Federer to do his part when he plays Steve Johnson later this afternoon. Nadal won the battle of the Spaniards as he defeated compatriot Fernando Verdasco in straight sets 6-3, 7-5.
Nadal was the aggressor, going after Verdasco's second serves. He was solid from the baseline and his serves were solid, which is not always the case.
"I played a good match, no?," Nadal commented during his post-match presser. " Very aggressive with my serve, serving well, hitting good forehands, good backhands.
"Very happy. I think I played much better today than the first day. Yeah, it was a good win. I played two horrible games, terrible. That's it. For the rest of the match, I think I played very well.
This was Nadal's 50th win in the desert. He has won this title three times -- in 2007, 2009, and 2013.
"The history says that this tournament works well for me, you know. I played a lot of semifinals here, winning three times, and played a final a lot of times in the semifinals," said Nadal.
He awaits the winner of the Roger Federer and Steve Johnson. Nadal and Federer last met in the final of the Australian Open in January, but because of they're in the same quarter, they will potentially meet in the fourth round.
"I think is unlucky part of the draw for everybody," Nadal expressed his feelings about the draw. "I think part of the tournament, even if they can have good matches, is probably not the best thing to have that matches that early in the tournament, for the players is not good, because good players, for sure, going to go out early."
Meanwhile, Donald Young defeated Federer's training parter Lucas Pouille 6-4, 1-6, 6-3.