Federer up to World No. 5 after reaching Indian Wells SFs

Roger Federer will play Alexandr Dolgopolov for the first time in more than three-and-a-half years on Saturday in the BNP Paribas Open semi-finals.

Seventh seed Federer defeated No. 17 seed Kevin Anderson 7-5, 6-1 on Thursday night at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, venue of the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament.  With the result he moves up to No. 5 in the ATP Rankings and into the Indian Wells semi-finals for the eighth time.

Federer is attempting to capture his fifth singles title at Indian Wells. This year, he is also looking to lift the doubles trophy with Stanislas Wawrinka. The pair will compete in the semi-finals on Friday against second seeds Alexander Peya and Bruno Soares.

Anderson, who was competing in his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 quarter-final, first came under pressure at 2-2 in the first set when he saved four break points. Federer converted the first of his five break point opportunities in the set at 6-5, with Anderson serving at 0/40 – when Federer drilled a backhand low to Anderson, who struck a backhand volley into the net. Both players each hit nine winners in the set, but Anderson committed 16 unforced errors.

Federer ran through the second set, which lasted 23 minutes, with service breaks in second and fourth games en route to a 5-0 lead.

"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."

Last week, Federer won his 78th tour-level title at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships last week (d. Berdych). The Swiss moved clear of John McEnroe (77 titles) into third place on the Open Era title leaders list, behind Jimmy Connors (109) and Ivan Lendl (94).

Dolgopolov, who beat Rafael Nadal in the third round, Fabio Fognini in the fourth round and Milos Raonic in the quarter-finals, last played Federer in October 2010 at the Swiss Indoors Basel.

Dolgopolov, the world number 31 from Ukraine, has reached the semi-finals of an elite ATP Masters tournament for the first time.

Federer said he had practised with Dolgopolov late last year and before the Dubai tournament, and is looking forward to facing him again.

"He was playing really well in practice," Federer said. "He really takes the ball early. He likes to take advantage of the fact when there is a short ball he just smashes it, and he's got a great serve.

"Definitely going to be some interesting shots out there."

Date: 14th March 2014, Source: ATP and AFP


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