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By Chris Oddo | Sunday March 11, 2018

It took a few days (thanks to rain, which halted the match on Saturday night), and featured a few complicated moments (thanks largely to some fine play from Delbonis), but in the end Roger Federer booked his place in the third round at the BNP Paribas Open, 6-3, 7-6(6), over Argentina’s Federico Delbonis.

More: 16-Year-Old Anisimova Stuns Kvitova

Five-time champion Federer improves to 13-0 on the season and 58-11 lifetime at Indian Wells, and sets a third-round clash with Filip Krajinovic of Serbia.

Even at 36, Federer is experiencing new things on tour. He said it has been a "long time" since he had to play a match over two days, and he said the change in conditions from night tennis to day tennis are pretty drastic in the California desert.

"I just think there is more bounce to [the court]," Federer said. "Especially if you play someone who has a lot of spin like [Delbonis has] and kicks the ball around a lot. Yeah, it's been a long time since I have been interrupted at night and have to come back the next day."

Still, he managed.

After resuming play under sunny skies with the score 6-3, 2-2, Federer and Delbonis played a nip-and-tuck set. A Federer double-fault at 5-5 in the tiebreaker gave the 27-year-old World No.67 a look at a set point on serve, but Federer stole the next two points and finished off the victory on serve to improve to 1-1 lifetime against Delbonis.

The southpaw was one of a rare group of players with a winning record against Federer after he defeated him in the Hamburg semifinals on clay in 2013. That was in the middle of a tricky stretch for Federer. He had lost to Sergiy Stakhovsky at Wimbledon and in total dropped three of six matches. He would also fall to Daniel Brands at Gstaad in his next event that summer.

These days, Federer rarely slips. He has won 66 of his last 71 matches and nine titles since returning to tennis after a six-month hiatus at the beginning of 2017. Federer finished with five aces and saved all three break points he faced.

Photo credit: Dan Huerlimann/Beelde Images


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