Roger Federer won his 10th straight match Thursday night dispatching big-serving Kevin Anderson 7-5, 6-1 in the Indian Wells quarterfinals.
The four-time tournament champion was tested early by the South African but eventually Federer pulled away winning seven straight games from 5-all in the first set.
“[I] gave myself chances and started with a few more returns in play, I guess, at 5-all,” said Federer. “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, who’ll move to at least No. 5 in the next rankings, advances to the semifinals without the loss of a set, and he’ll next face Alexandr Dolgoplov on Saturday.
The 25-year-old from the Ukraine continued his hot form sweeping aside Milos Raonic 6-3, 6-4 to reach his first career Masters 1000 event.
“I was quite fast today,” said Dolgopolov who was down 3-0 in the second set. “I was really happy with that. And I was able to get more returns than usually you can against him. He serves really big and I knew I had to do that, and I’m quite pleased how I anticipated on his serve and have seen the toss of the ball and was really, really concentrated to get those serves back.”
Raonic, who reached the Canadian Open final last summer, was actually out aced by the much smaller Dolgopolov six to four.
“I thought I did a lot of things well, as well,” said Raonic. “I really was pushing myself, because I was hoping that if I forced myself to stay strong with an attitude that the game would come. I just wish I could have served better. But other than that, he did the right things at the right times right away from the start of the match. He was a factor of why I didn’t serve as well as I would have liked as well.”
Dolgoplov hasn’t played Federer since Roger beat him in Basel in 2010.
The women concluded their quarters also on Thursday and earning the last two spots were Australian Open champion Li Na and another 32-year-old, Flavia Pennetta.
The top-seeeded Li Na defeated Dominika Cibulkova in a rematch of their Australian Open final 6-3, 4-6, 6-3.
“Here was different than Australia – of course the score should be different, but today she played more aggressive,” said Li who was down an early break in the third. “I felt like if I stepped back a bit she would step into the balls more, and in the second set my level dropped and it gave her the chances, and she was getting a lot of winners in.
“I think there’s still a little bit of a problem with my level staying the same from beginning to end, but it’s good information, and I’ll take it and just try to improve my tennis for the next day and next match.”
Pennetta was also pushed the limit. The Italian started strong against American Sloane Stephens, but fell apart serving for the match in the second at 5-4, 30-15. That’s when Stephens rolled off six straight games to take the set and lead 3-0 in the decider.
Pennetta fought back to win six of the last seven games and win the see-saw affair on her 5th matchpoint.
“We didn’t play our best tennis,” Pennetta said. “Maybe in the beginning we played much better, and in the second one, but the third was a disaster for both of us. I’m happy to get through this match, but I don’t have good feelings right now – it’s just crazy outside, the wind is just coming out of nowhere.
“But on the other hand I’m happy because I was 3-0 down in the third and fought until the last point.”
Li Na beat Pennetta in the quarters at the Australian Open 6-2, 6-2.
“She plays more or less like me, but she’s more powerful than me,” Pennetta said of Na. “I have to be really aggressive tomorrow and try to take control, but it’s not going to be easy. She’s so good. She’s playing unbelievable this year. She started amazing in Australia – the match was completely in one direction and I didn’t have any chances at all. But I hope to have a little bit of a chance tomorrow.”
In the earlier semi tomorrow, Simona Halep will face Agnieszska Radwanska. None of the four remaining women have ever won the Indian Wells title.
In the men’s quarters, 2-time champion Novak Djokovic meets the surprising Julien Benneteau and then it’s former finalist John Isner against the hot-handed Ernests Gulbis.
Federer also returns with Stanislas Wawrinka for a doubles semifinal against Alexander Peya and Bruno Soares.
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