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Ageless Federer begins India Wells title defence
March 09, 2018
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Indian Wells: Roger Federer, who regained the world Number One ranking last month, is on a quest to make history in the California desert by winning an unprecedented sixth Indian Wells title.

The 36-year-old Swiss marvel continues to defy the aging process, claiming his 20th Grand Slam title and sixth Australian Open crown in January.

He has enjoyed a perfect start to 2018 by winning both events he has competed in and taking his career singles title tally to 97.

“He shows there is no limit,” said third-seeded Grigor Dimitrov on Wednesday.

“He keeps on proving it every year on the tour.”

Federer opens the defence of his Indian Wells title on Friday by playing a second-round match against either American Ryan Harrison or Federico Delbonis of Argentina.

He also won this tournament three straight years beginning in 2004, and in 2012 as well as last year. Federer comes into the elite event as the oldest ATP Number One in history. In the Open era, only American Jimmy Connors has won more titles than Federer, with 109.

Federer has played two tournaments this year and won both — the other being the Rotterdam Open.

Serbian Novak Djokovic, who is making his first return to the Tour since the Australian Open, is also a five-time Indian Wells champion and would like nothing more than to announce his return from an elbow injury by going all the way.

He is in the same half of the draw as Argentina’s Juan Martin del Potro, who is fresh off a win in the Mexican Open in Acapulco last weekend.

Sharapova ousted

Five-time Grand Slam winner Maria Sharapova suffered a shock defeat on Wednesday to Japanese No. 1 Naomi Osaka, losing her opening match at the WTA Indian Wells tournament 6-4, 6-4.

The former world number one, and twice a winner in the California desert, Sharapova was one of the tournament’s major attractions after missing the last two events.

Sharapova made six double faults, won just 25 percent of her second serve points and had her serve broken five times.

The 20-year-old Osaka won 75 percent of her first-serve points as she needed 95 minutes to win the only night session match.

Agencies

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