Federer battles past Ljubicic for fourth time

Roger Federer, the world No 1, booked his place in the quarter-finals of the Pacific Life Open with a 7-6, 7-6 victory over Croatia's Ivan Ljubicic in Indian Wells yesterday. Ljubicic has now been beaten by Federer four times this season.

Federer, the defending champion, will face Germany's Nicolas Kiefer for a place in the semi-finals. He defeated the Argentinian 10th seed David Nalbandian 6-1, 6-3.

Andre Agassi produced some vintage form to defeat Guillermo Coria, of Argentina, 6-4, 6-1, setting up a quarter-final with the world No 2, Lleyton Hewitt. Agassi, 35, dictated play from the start to book his ninth career meeting with Hewitt, whom he has beaten on their last two meetings, both on US hard courts.

"I think Coria is the fastest guy in the world on court, but Lleyton's a pretty close second," Agassi said. "It's going to be another challenge for me to concentrate well enough to get the job done."

Hewitt, twice champion here, beat France's Paul-Henri Matthieu 6-1, 6-0.

The third seed, Andy Roddick, defeated the man who beat him at the Olympics, Fernando Gonzalez of Chile, 6-4, 6-3. Roddick will face the seventh seed, Spain's Carlos Moya, a 7-5, 6-2 winner over France's Fabrice Santoro. Britain's Tim Henman also reached the quarter-finals with a 6-4, 2-6, 6-2 victory over Spain's Tommy Robredo.

Fourth seed Elena Dementieva overcame her fellow Russian, Svetlana Kuznetsova, 3-6, 6-3, 7-5. Dementieva will meet Kim Clijsters in the semi-finals after the Belgian beat the Spanish veteran Conchita Martinez 6-1, 3-6, 6-2. Clijsters continued her comeback from a wrist injury with a scrappy victory. "Three-set matches, it doesn't matter if you play them good or bad, it's always a motivation to get through them," she said.

* Keith Wooldridge, 61, is to retire as the Lawn Tennis Association's women's national training manager this summer after 10 years in the job. David Felgate, the LTA's director of performance, and Jeremy Bates, the head of national training, are to oversee the women's game.

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