ALL-SWISS SHOW­DOWN

Fed­erer, Wawrinka to bat­tle it out for In­dian Wells Masters title

New Straits Times - - Sport -

IN­DIAN WELLS

ROGER Fed­erer and Stan Wawrinka set up an all­Swiss show­down for the ATP In­dian Wells Masters title on Satur­day with straight-sets semi-fi­nal vic­to­ries.

Fed­erer, who won his 18th Grand Slam title at the Aus­tralian Open, sub­dued 17th-seeded Amer­i­can Jack Sock 6-1, 7-6 (74) to earn a crack at a record­e­qualling fifth In­dian Wells title.

US Open cham­pion Wawrinka, past the quar­ter-fi­nals in the Cal­i­for­nia desert for the first time, knocked out Spain’s Pablo Car­reno Busta 6-3, 6-2.

Fed­erer went into his clash with Sock well-rested after ail­ing Aussie Nick Kyr­gios pulled out of their highly an­tic­i­pated quar­ter­fi­nal.

Fed­erer, who had trounced old foe Rafael Nadal 6-2, 6-3 in the fourth round, picked up right where he left off as he raced through the first set in 21 min­utes.

But Sock, win­ner of two ti­tles al­ready this year at Auck­land and Del­ray Beach, raised his game in the sec­ond set, sav­ing a break point in the sev­enth game as it went on serve to the tiebreaker.

The Amer­i­can en­er­gised US fans on Sta­dium Court when he zinged a back­hand win­ner past Fed­erer for a 3-1 lead in the de­cider.

But Fed­erer won six of the next seven points, in­clud­ing the last three, as he sealed the con­test on his first op­por­tu­nity.

“I think I def­i­nitely played great in the first set, came out and re­ally saw the ball well,” Fed­erer said.

“I think Jack didn’t have his best first set, but I found a way to take ad­van­tage of that quickly, hardly made any mis­takes and was able to press.

“The sec­ond set was more like what I ex­pected the first set to be. It was hard to break and re­turn well off Jack’s heavy serve. I maybe dropped my level just a bit, as well, as he lifted his.

“I had to rely a lot on my sec­ond serve. I’m happy it was there. Things got a bit more com­pli­cated, but it was def­i­nitely a good feeling to get through in two sets.”

Wawrinka’s path to the fi­nal, just his fourth at the elite Masters level, in­cluded a close shave against lucky loser Yoshi­hito Nish­ioka in the fourth round and a third-set tiebreaker against ris­ing Aus­trian ta­lent Do­minic Thiem in the quar­ter-fi­nals.

Against Spain’s 23rd-ranked Car­reno Busta, how­ever, it was clear sail­ing for the three-time Grand Slam cham­pion, who didn’t face a break point in the 64 minute match.

One break of Car­reno Busta’s serve was enough to give him the first set, and Wawrinka earned a hard-won break for a 2-1 lead in the sec­ond with a blis­ter­ing fore­hand on his fifth break point of the game that Car­reno Busta had no hope of get­ting back.

An­other break in the sev­enth game left Wawrinka to serve it out, and he punc­tu­ated the con­test with a love game.

“Most of the time I know when I start to win the matches in the tour­na­ment, I start to get the con­fi­dence, the good feeling with the ball, with the way I’m play­ing in the tour­na­ment,” Wawrinka said. “I know I play bet­ter and bet­ter.” AFP

EPA PIC

Stan Wawrinka cel­e­brates his win over Pablo Car­reno Busta in the semi -fi­nals on Satur­day.

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