Roger Federer stormed into the BNP Paribas Open semi-final last night with a dominant victory over South Africa’s Kevin Anderson. He is now only two wins away from his fifth Indian Wells title, with his next opponent being the resurgent Alexandr Dolgopolov, who beat Rafael Nadal and Milos Raonic this week to arrive at his first ever ATP Masters 1000 semi-final. Federer leads the head-to-head series 1-0 with a victory at the Swiss Indoor Open in 2010.
The former world No. 1 needed only two sets to dispatch of an in-form Kevin Anderson on Thursday night. While the first of the two sets was a reasonably tight affair, Federer would break Anderson leading 6-5 to close out the set. He would proceed to win seven consecutive games and two more service breaks to jump to a 5-0 lead in the second set. Federer only needed 23 minutes to close out the second set and only lost 10 points during that period.
“[I] gave myself chances and started with a few more returns in play, I guess, at 5-all,” said Federer, on how he won seven straight games. “I was also… feeling good movement wise [and] feeling good absorbing his pace [and] also being aggressive myself. I think the combination in those 10 minutes, all worked out for me. It was big to win the set and then to go on to break early in the second. Then [getting a] double break was like a bonus. From then on I was home basically. It was a really good match for me, basically.”
Federer is aiming for his fifth BNP Paribas Open title this week, but could also be challenging for the doubles title with partner Stanislas Wawrinka.
Alexandr Dolgopolov continues to make 2014 a fantastic year professionally, as he followed up on his upset victory over defending chap Rafael Nadal with a strong showing against top Canadian Milos Raonic. Now expected to rise to No. 23 in the rankings due to his performance, Dolgopolov will have jumped 34 places in the Emirates ATP Rankings this season.
“I played good for three weeks,” he said. “I’m quite fresh. I felt good physically today. I’m confident enough to come out and play good tennis. Then who knows, you know? I beat a lot of good players around here, so I wouldn’t see why not win more matches. I’ll just come out, do my best, and of course it’s going to be really tough because it’s semis or finals. No bad players left and no players not in the top form now.”
The two competitors have only met on one previous occasion on the professional tour, in a contest that Dolgopolov retired from in the second set nearly four years ago. This will likely be a far different contest, with both players partaking in a fantastic week in the California Desert. Federer looked simply majestic in his victory over Kevin Anderson, making it hard to deny him the win if he can manage to duplicate that performance. Dolgopolov will also likely be brimming with confidence after his performances this week and will need to maintain an equal standard of play if he is to stand a chance of defeating the former No. 1 for the very first time.
Prediction: Roger Federer in Three Sets