Roger Federer was on fire on Wednesday night in the desert, flying through his 36th meeting with Rafael Nadal, 6-2, 6-3 in just 68 minutes.
The Swiss’ signature one-handed backhand was most noticeably lit as he repeatedly stepped and ripped massive winners on some pretty key moments—like break point and match point.
“They are important to keep your opponent off guard…” Federer told Tennis Channel. “That’s what you need sometimes. I’ve very pleased. Geez.”
Federer's father Robert was pleased as well, telling his son, "Great match. Great backhands," right after the win.
"He's the first to tell me, 'Hit the backhand, dammnit. Don't just fall back and slice all the time,'" Federer said.
The 35-year-old has started a new Indian Wells tradition with his golf-cart ride selfies:
Sunset boulevard in Indian Wells pic.twitter.com/J5wuQ50MhP— Roger Federer (@rogerfederer) March 16, 2017
But more importantly, he seems to have started a new tradition of toppling his biggest rival:
What a year 2017 ???? pic.twitter.com/KQwQ2ZckQv— Allez Roger (@kah22jad) March 16, 2017
Odds are fans will see more of this when Federer returns to the court on Friday for the quarterfinals:
The four-time BNP Paribas Open champion will face Nick Kyrgios after the Australian knocked out Novak Djokovic (for the second time this year).