Rafael Nadal defeated error-prone Roger Federer 6-4, 6-2 in the quarterfinals of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells on Thursday night in the earliest meeting between the two rivals since they first played each other in 2004.
Nadal needed barely 11/2 hours to close out the defending champion in their 29th career meeting and the first in a quarterfinal. Nadal faced just two break points on his serve in the match.
Nadal and Federer usually don't play each other until the semifinals and finals of tournaments, but the Indian Wells draw pitted them against each other in their earliest meeting since a third-round match at Miami nine years ago.
Nadal returned to the ATP Tour a month ago, winning two of three tournaments on clay after missing seven months because of a left knee injury. He had his knee wrapped and at times appeared to have a slight limp.
Federer, at 31 the oldest player left in the draw, tweaked his back earlier in the tournament.
"I'm happy to be out there and able to compete, but it's obviously a small issue," he said. "That doesn't work against guys like Rafa, obviously."
The women's draw was hit with the injury withdrawals of defending champion Victoria Azarenka (ankle) and No. 7 seed Sam Stosur (calf).
U.S. pair wins short dance
Meryl Davis and Charlie White sure know how to spoil a homecoming.
Undaunted at skating minutes away from where longtime rivals Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir grew up, the Americans won the short dance in the World Figure Skating Championships in London, Ontario, with perhaps their best performance of the season.
Their score of 77.12 the highest anyone has gotten this season would have been tough to beat, anyway, but the Canadians didn't help themselves by getting noticeably out of unison midway through.
Davis and White lead the Olympic and world champions by 3.25 points, a significant gap entering Saturday's free dance.
Earlier, Olympic champion Kim Yu-na made a triumphant return, winning the short program in her first appearance at a major competition since the 2011 worlds.
Syracuse dismisses two
Syracuse football coach Scott Shafer dismissed starting defensive end Markus Pierce-Brewster, who transferred from City College of San Francisco before last season, and backup defensive tackle Davon Walls for violating team rules.
Both players were charged with felony burglary and misdemeanor petty larceny in connection with the burglary of a campus apartment in late February.
Pierce-Brewster appeared in 12 games last season, recording 30 tackles, one sack and one fumble recovery.
Walls, from Brooklyn, N.Y., appeared in three games after transferring from Coahoma Community College in Mississippi.
Former WNBA player and Olympic gold medalist Chamique Holdsclaw pleaded not guilty to charges stemming from an argument and shooting in November.
Gov. Tom Corbett asked a federal court to dismiss an NCAA lawsuit aimed at overturning a Pennsylvania law that calls for keeping $60 million in Penn State fine money for the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal in the state.
Alabama athletic director Mal Moore, 73, remains hospitalized in Durham, N.C., with pulmonary problems.