After 11 straight seasons in the year-end top-5, Roger Federer couldn't follow the pace of the rivals ahead of him in 2013, suffering 17 losses and failing to win more than one ATP title for the first time since 2001.
In 2012, the Swiss claimed six ATP titles but that wasn't the case a year later, lifting only one crown in Halle and producing 13 Major wins, not enough to reach at list one final. After a four-hour marathon, Roger lost the semi-final clash at the Australian Open to Andy Murray, followed by a tough quarter-final loss in Rotterdam to Julien Benneteau and another one against Tomas Berdych in Dubai.
Hoping for a better run in Indian Wells, Roger opened the action with a 6-2, 6-3 victory over Denis Istomin in 58 minutes, beating the Uzbek for the fourth time in as many encounters. Producing fire from both serve and groundstrokes, Roger landed 31 winners and 15 unforced errors, dropping four points behind the initial shot for one of his best serving performances in a career, facing no break points and keeping the pressure on the other side of the net.
Not making too many errors but staying low-profiled in the winners segment as well, Istomin gave away almost half of the points in his games, suffering four breaks from seven chances offered to Federer to end his run in the second round.
The Uzbek sprayed a forehand error in the first game to get broken, with the Swiss earning another break at 3-1 thanks to a forehand winner and closing the set at 5-2 after a perfect drop shot winner. Super aggressive Federer clinched another break at 1-1 in the second set with a well-constructed attack and a forehand winner, serving well and sealing the deal with a break at 5-3 after a smash winner that propelled him over the finish line in less than an hour.