Former world No. 1 Roger Federer and top American Jack Sock took two very different routes to a semifinal meeting on Friday at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, Calif.
Sock outlasted Kei Nishikori 6-3, 2-6, 6-2 for his biggest career win, reaching a first Masters 1000-level semifinal.
“To get my first semi at one of my favorite tournaments of the year, it feels very special to play in front of the home crowd,” Sock said. “They really get behind you and support not only me, but all of the Americans as well.”
It was also the first time the 24-year-old Sock beat a Top 5-ranked opponent in eight tries.
Sock in the third set broke in the first game, and then the fifth game before serving out the match at 6-2.
“I think he served really well,” Nishikori said. “I was having really tough time with my return, missing a lot, and giving him a lot of short balls. And he was attacking really well in the first and third sets. I didn’t play my best tennis, but I think he played good tennis also.”
Sock is 0-2 against Federer, who in his quarterfinal received a walkover against streaking Aussie Nick Kyrgios, who cited an illness for his abrupt tournament exit.
“Unfortunately I am unable to play today due to sickness,” Kyrgios said in a statement. “At this stage we think it’s food poisoning, and I’m praying it’s nothing more. After a restless night of being sick I have nothing left and to play a great champion like Roger, I need to be at my best to have a chance. I don’t take this decision lightly, these are the matches we train for but I’m in no fit state to take to the court.”
Kyrgios had streaked to the quarterfinals, en route improving his career record to 2-0 against former No. 1 Novak Djokovic.
Sock said he will have a newfound confidence facing Federer.
“When I played him here last and I played him in Basel a couple years ago, I don’t think I went on the court giving myself a ton of chances of winning,” Sock said. “I think that’s changed, for sure…I am playing confident tennis as well myself.”
Saturday in Indian Wells will feature the semifinals (3) Stan Wawrinka vs. (21) Pablo Carreno Busta, and (9) Roger Federer vs. (17) Jack Sock.
Both Swiss players lead their opponents 2-0 in their head-to-heads. Sock and Carreno Busta are appearing in their first ATP Masters 1000 semifinal.
INDIAN WELLS SATURDAY SCHEDULE
STADIUM 1 start 11:00 am
ATP –  P. Carreno Busta (ESP) vs  S. Wawrinka (SUI)
ATP –  J. Sock (USA) vs  R. Federer (SUI)
Not Before 4:00 pm
WTA – DOUBLES FINAL –  Y. Chan (TPE) / M. Hingis (SUI) vs L. Hradecka (CZE) / K. Siniakova (CZE)
Not Before 5:00 pm
ATP – DOUBLES FINAL –  R. Klaasen (RSA) / R. Ram (USA) vs  L. Kubot (POL) / M. Melo (BRA)
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