Tennis: Federer book potential semifinal clash against Nadal in Indian Wells

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Federer on Friday defeated Hurkacz 6-4, 6-4 to reach his 12th semi-final in Indian Wells, setting up a potential showdown against three-time champion Rafael Nadal in the last four.

According to reports on the ATP Tour website, Federer arrived on court for his BNP Paribas Open match on Friday to play his 83rd ATP Masters 1000 quarter-final against Poland’s Hurkacz, who was competing in his first.

On Federer’s first service point of the match, Hurkacz swung and missed on a second-serve return.

While the 22-year-old Pole acquitted himself well, that set the tone for the Swiss’ workmanlike one-hour, -minute victory, in which Federer held all 10 of his service games.

The 37-year-old has won 38 of his 39 service games at the first Masters 1000 tournament of the year.

Federer and World Number One Novak Djokovic hold the record for the most BNP Paribas Opent titles, with five each. But Federer is now two matches from standing alone with six victories in the California desert.

On March 2, Federer became the second player in the Open Era to win 100 tour-level trophies, triumphing at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.

Hurkacz by no means looked out of place on Stadium 1, holding his own from the baseline and showing no fear of the net against the Swiss.

To start the third game of the match, Hurkacz even swooped to net and carved a perfect backhand volley that left Federer frozen in his tracks.

But Federer’s efficiency in his service games proved key. The Swiss faced two break points in the match, at 3-2 in the second set and as he served out the quarter-final.

The 12-time Indian Wells semi-finalist responded to the first break chance against him with calm, rushing from the net back to the baseline.

This was when a lob went over his head, forcing Hurkacz to make a tough volley, before Federer overwhelmed the 22-year-old with a sharp cross-court forehand passing shot.

At 6-4, 5-4, 30/40 Federer relied on a booming first serve out wide to get back on track.

The fourth seed broke in Hurkacz’s third service game of the first set and his second service game of the second set, with the Pole making forehand errors to concede the advantage on each occasion.

Federer will next play second seed Nadal or World Number 13 Karen Khachanov. If Federer and Nadal meet, it will be the 39th clash in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series (Nadal leads 23-15) and their fourth match in Indian Wells (Federer leads 2-1).

The Swiss has won his only previous meeting against Khachanov, a straight-sets triumph on the grass of Halle two years ago. (NAN)

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