Classy Federer breezes into semifinals

Tennis Indian Wells Open

Classy Federer breezes into semifinals

Roger Federer charged into the semifinals of the BNP Paribas Open here on Thursday with a straight sets win over South African Kevin Anderson.

The Swiss master succeeded where others had failed by blunting the serve of the towering 6ft 8in (2.13m) Anderson to win 7-5, 6-1.

Federer faced only one break point in the entire match and reeled off seven games on the trot to clinch the opening set and race to a 5-0 lead in the second.

His reward for winning was a semifinal clash on Saturday with Ukrainian Alexandr Dolgopolov, who continued his fairytale run in the Californian desert by defeating big-serving Canadian Milos Raonic 6-3, 6-4. "It was big to win the set and then to go on to break early in the second," Federer said. "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." In the women's draw, China's Li Na won her rematch with Slovakia's Dominika Cibulkova to join Italian veteran Flavia Pennetta in the semis.

In her first meeting with Cibulkova since the Australian Open final in January, Li once again proved too strong for her younger opponent, winning 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 in a little over two and a half hours.

Pennetta booked her place in the last four by beating American Sloane Stephens 6-4, 5-7, 6-4 in a seesawing match played in gusting winds.

In a tournament that has been packed with surprises and high-profile casualties, the 32-year-old Li has been a model of consistency, ferociously battling through each round.

The Chinese top seed, in the absence of world number one Serena Williams, has struggled with her serve all week and committed eight double faults against Cibulkova, four in the opening set and four more in the third when the pressure was on. The Slovak also made eight doubles while the pair combined for more than 100 unforced errors in a match that was longer and much tighter than their last meeting in Melbourne. Li got the decisive break late in the third set and then served out for victory to stay on course for her first title.

Revelation

Dolgopolov has been a revelation at Indian Wells since he was thrust into the spotlight when he scored an upset win over world number one Rafael Nadal in the third round.
Players who register shock wins often fail to maintain their form on but the 28th seed has gone from strength to strength, beating three seeds in succession. Raonic, one of the biggest servers in tennis, beat Wimbledon champion Andy Murray on Wednesday but found Dolgopolov too hot to hold. Not only did Dolgopolov succeed in breaking the Canadian's serve three times, including twice in the second set to overcome a 3-0 deficit, but showed he also has a serve to be reckoned with as he fired six aces, two more than his opponent.

Sania-Cara in final

Sania Mirza and Cara Black are in line to win their first title of season as they defeated Lucie Hradecka and Jie Zheng to reach the final of the women’s doubles on Thursday.
The fifth seeded Indo-Zimbabwean pair defeated eighth seeded Czech-Chinese team 6-4, 3-6, 10-7 in an hour and 37 minutes in the semifinal.

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