Roger Federer kept his record perfect on the year getting past a Hyeon Chung 7-5, 6-1 to advance to his 10th Indian Wells semifinal.
In a rematch of their Australian Open semifinal in which Chung withdrew in the second, Federer came out quickly jumping out to a 3-0 lead. But Chung, now healthy, found the range on his powerful groundstrokes, got the break back to level then had break chances at 5-all. But Federer saved then broke for the set.
“I’m happy I found a way. Started off really well, struggled afterwards, found my game back again and was able to protect it, saving big break points early on in the second set. I think that was the key to the match, those 10, 15 minutes where I broke at the end of the first and then saved break points early in the second,” Federer said. “I’m very happy. It was a good match. I played well.”
And in the second Federer pulled away to improve his spotless record in 2018 to 16-0, his best start to any year since 2006 when he went 16-0 at age 24.
“It’s a great start. Hopefully I can do one more and beat my best streak on Saturday,” Federer said.
The win means Federer will keep his No. 1 ranking. Had he lost before the semifinals, Rafael Nadal would have return to No. 1.
For his first Masters quarterfinal, the 21-year-old Chung will take over from Kei Nishikori as the No. 1 player from Asia.
“I’m really honored to be No. 1 Asian. And Kei is playing really good and is a great player in the world, and I hope he plays good this year,” Chung said.
Federer has won his last 9 matches at Indian Wells and 18 straight sets. He’ll meet another 21-year-old in Borna Coric on Saturday.
The Croat advanced to his first Masters semifinal after outlasting Kevin Anderson 2-6, 6-4, 7-6(3). Coric was down a 4-2 in the third, but managed to pull back and take the breaker.
“I didn’t start very well. He was hitting the ball very big, and I just couldn’t find my rhythm on the ball,” Coric said. “I started going more for the serve. And then I broke him earlier in the second set, which was really helpful. In the third, again, I knew it’s one break, it’s two or three points that are going to decide, and that’s what happened.”
Coric has now won 11 of his last 12 final set breakers. Anderson, meanwhile, had won his last four, but drops to 0-9 in Masters quarterfinal matches.
The second semifinal will be determined today.
First time Indian Wells quarterfinal Sam Querrey will battle 2016 finalist Milos Raonic. The two have split their four meetings.
“I think my game is there,” Raonic said. “I imagine it’s just sort of putting the pieces together. I think I’m hitting the ball well in these kind of things. I think I’m 70%, 80% where I could be, so I’m pretty happy with how things are coming along. You know, I’m fighting well. That’s all I can really ask of myself. I don’t really know when the tennis things are going to click. It’s been better this week, so hopefully that’s the route it continues in.”
And then 2013 finalist Juan Martin del Potro takes on 34-year-old Philipp Kohlschreiber. Del Po leads 6-2 though the German has won their last two collisions.
“All these things happen after my surgery,” reflected del Potro. “Of course I cannot believe what I’m doing in my ‘new career,’ you know. But I’m enjoying a lot. I just enjoy the tour more than few years ago. And I like to be here because this is my job and this is what I love.”
FRIDAY INDIAN WELLS SCHEDULE
STADIUM 1 Starts At 12:00 Noon
QF -18 Sam Querrey VS -32 Milos Raonic
Not Before 2:00 Pm
QF -6 Juan Martin Del Potro VS -31 Philipp Kohlschreiber
SF Pablo Cuevas/Horacio Zeballos VS -7 Bob Bryan/Mike Bryan
Not Before 7:00 Pm
SF -8 Venus Williams VS -20 Daria Kasatkina
SF -1 Simona Halep VS Naomi Osaka
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