Roger Federer has set up an all-Swiss final after beating Jack Sock on Saturday afternoon at Indian Wells.
Federer’s 6-1 7-6(4) victory will see him meet Stan Wawrinka on Sunday, who in the first semifinal of the day crushed Pablo Carreno Busta to advance to his first BNP Paribas Open decider.
Federer raced through the opening set in a mere 21 minutes before being pushed harder by the American in the second set.
Yet from 1-3 down in the tiebreak, Federer found another gear while Sock’s backhand disintergrated.
The No.9 seed ran out six of the last seven points to seal a berth in his seventh final at Indian Wells, where he has won four trophies.
“I thought overall I played a good match,” Federer said.
“It was tough in the end. I don’t think I played the best tiebreaker but it was enough to get through and I’m super happy to be in the finals.
“I think I’ve just been very focused (during this event); that’s something that usually goes away when you don’t play for a while, but I guess I’ve got a lot of confidence from Australia still.”
Federer was untouchable in the opening set – his backhand shining – but in the second Sock’s serve and forehand began to have more of an impact.
With the crowd’s loyalties evenly split between a home-grown player and the sport’s most adored champion, the set progressed game-for-game on serve until the ensuing tiebreak.
Sock’s backhand – the weaker wing – ultimately broke down.
At 4-4 in the breaker, he sent a backhand long to hand Federer a mini-break and a 5-4 lead, with two serves to come. A Sock slice found the net on the next point before he sent a double-handed backhand into the bottom of the net on match point.
Earlier, Wawrinka ended Carreno Busta’s run in just 64 minutes, the 6-3 6-2 victory sending him through to his first Masters 1000 final on North American soil.
“For me, it’s great. It’s amazing result to be in the final here, especially in Indian Wells, one of the best Masters 1000, to have a chance to play for a trophy tomorrow here. It’s great,” Wawrinka said.
“So far the season has been good, even tough. I had an injury, and I had to take some time off and do some hard work at home to get back fit and ready.
“I am really happy with the way I’m playing, and I’m really enjoying to be here and playing a final tomorrow.”
Carreno Busta, playing in his first Masters-level semifinal, was overwhelmed by Wawrinka’s power.
Games were humming along on serve until Wawrinka decided to ratchet up the power in the eighth game of the first set.
He clubbed a backhand passing shot winner, forced errors from Carreno Busta due to his sheer pace and weight of shot and smacked a crosscourt forehand winner to break for 5-3.
Serving for the set, he belted a forehand winner at 100mph – 162kph for metrically-inclined audiences – and held to love.
It was more of the same in the second set; he broke serve in the third game with a brutal forehand that Carreno Busta couldn’t control.
He did the same in the seventh game, sending a hard forehand return at the Spaniard’s feet which forced an error.
In the following game, Wawrinka served out the match at love.
20 March 2017
Roger Federer won his fifth title at Indian Wells on Sunday with a commanding win over fel... More
24 March 2017
Any gaps between natural talent and expected results can close quickly when a player score... More
28 March 2017
WTA Chief Executive Steve Simon has said that he has no plans to outlaw grunting in the ga... More