After an exciting Wednesday saw the quarter of death matchups between Federer and Nadal and Djokovic and Kyrgios, it was the underdog in both cases that ended up victorious, both with straight sets victories over their opponents. Federer is expected to make the final from his half of the draw with an all-Swiss affair on the cards.
Federer was stunning in victory over Nadal in the previous round, controlling the match surprisingly easy on slower conditions that always seemed to favour the Spaniard. The Federer backhand, often exploited, looked great while Nadal struggled on his serve throughout. He dropped serve on 4 occasions, only winning 57% of points in his own service games. Federer felt good from the offset, a feeling that begun in the warmups. “In those five minutes (of warmup), I was like, whew, I’m feeling pretty good and the spin is not bothering me so much… and that stayed like this during the match, as well.” he said.
While Federer remains in immense physical shape, there is no doubt that shorter and less physical matches will suit him especially with back to backs coming. “Physically it was easy, because we didn’t have many long rallies. It wasn’t quite intense. It wasn’t three-and-a-half hours like in Melbourne, but we knew that going in.” said Federer.
Meanwhile, Kyrgios repeated his feat of defeating the World No.2 with another straight sets win over Novak Djokovic – something very few players will do in consecutive matches. The Australian put on another masterclass on serve with 14 aces contributing towards the 86% of first serve points he won. While he only won just over half on his second, he held tough to once more not face one break point. “I thought it was a pretty good match. I played the crucial points pretty well. Obviously I just served well again. Yeah, it was good to get through.” Kyrgios said.
Kyrgios won his only encounter with Federer, a three set thriller that ended in a final set tiebreak at Madrid in 2015. He isn’t taking anything for granted though despite the Aussie far more experienced and in great form right now. “It’s completely different conditions from Madrid clay to Indian Wells in the desert. So it’s going to be a completely different game.” said Kyrgios.
The match begins at Midday local time, far from ideal conditions for either player. Both players are serving incredibly well right now so the margins will be fine as usual. Kyrgios picking up another statement win would be quite a thing and suggest that he is ready to start challenging at the deep end of slams in the near future.
Prediction – Nick Kyrgios in three sets