Saturday, 19 August, 2017

Sock knocks out Nishikori to meet Federer in semifinal

Indian Wells roundup Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka to renew Swiss rivalry in the final Billie Weiss BNP Paribas Open
Spencer Simpson | 20 March, 2017, 00:32

Federer came into the match after his scheduled quarter-final opponent Nick Kyrgios pulled out because of illness, and he was imperious from the start.

"First one got away from me pretty quick", Sock said.

Kuznetsova, who last reached the Indian Wells final in 2008, defeated the Czech Reublic's third seed Karolina Pliskova 7-6, 7-6.

He takes on Stan Wawrinka in an all-Swiss title match after Wawrinka eased past Pablo Carreno Busta 6-3, 6-3.

While Federer is a four-time champion in the California desert, Wawrinka has struggled in previous editions of the first Masters tournament of the year.

Wawrinka dodged danger a couple of times in this tournament, saving two match points in the fourth round against Yoshihito Nishioka before winning a third-set tiebreak, and going to a third-set tiebreak against Dominic Thiem in the quarterfinals. Federer then won the next two points to snatch the tie-break 8-6.

That was one of three five-set wins for Federer en route to his 18th Grand Slam title, as he also defeated Kei Nishikori (fourth round) and Rafael Nadal (final) after going the distance.

"It's an incredible result to be in the final here, especially in Indian Wells, one of the best Masters 1000", said Wawrinka who lost just three points on serve in the second.

But the voice enhancement tool wasn't the only thing that made the follow-up better, as 12-time Grand Slam victor Novak Djokovic appeared in a short cameo and belts out a tune.

What was more of a shock was Federer's failure to break serve once in the match, something that had not happened at a major for 13 years. "I think he's been doing that to players pretty consistently this year". "So the kick serve for me today was crucial, first and second serve, and that's why I used it a lot". "But on the flip side of that, I am playing confident tennis as well myself". And while neither had made the semis of a Masters before, both had showed growing confidence and form in the last year-and had enjoyed plenty of success in doubles competition. "I had an injury [knee], and I had to take some time off and do some hard work at home to get back fit and ready".

Federer takes a 19-3 head-to-head lead over Wawrinka into the final and has won their past three meetings, including a five-set battle in the Australian Open semifinals in January.

"Sometimes you get lucky when you put yourself out there", Federer said of the Kyrgios withdrawal.

"I didn't play my service games really the way I wanted to in the first", said the 24-year-old, who was in the first Masters semi-final of his career. "That's why, too much up and down", Wawrinka said.

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