Roger Federer who is going for an unprecedented sixth title at Indian Wells has ensured he will retain the number one ranking for atleast two weeks after beating the Korean Hyeon Chung, the winner of the inaugural GenNext championship in Milan in what was a repeat of the Semi-final of the Australian Open in Melbourne. He next faces another GenNext star Borna Coric on Saturday. The other Semi-final will see a pair of former finalists in Indian Wells, the sixth seeded Argentine Juan Martin Del Potro, the finalist in 2013 (loss to Nadal) and the 32nd seeded Milos Raonic of Canada, on the comeback trail after injury, the finalist in 2016 ( loss to Djokovic). The winner of that match has a chance to lift their long overdue maiden title at a Master’s series event.
The top ranked Swiss needed to reach atleast the last four to ensure that he is ranked above his absent rival Rafael Nadal, made short work of his opponent after a hard fought opening set, winning the match 6-1,7-5 in the evening session on Thursday. He extended his winning streak to 16, matching the best start to the year which he had in 2006, twelve years ago. Federer broke in the second game before Chung rallied from 0-3 down to level the scores at 3-3. Federer would get the decisive break in the 12th game and infact saved break points in a lengthy opening game of the second set. He again opened up a 3-0 lead and broke again in the sixth game. He had 32 winners.
The unseeded Borna Coric of Croatia, ranked 49th, came from a set down and then a break down in the third set to defeat the seventh seeded South African Kevin Anderson 2-6,6-4,7-6(3) to enter his maiden ATP Master’s semi final in the day session on Thursday. He next faces Federer on Saturday first up. Federer leads 1-0 in their head to head, that match was played at the Dubai Duty-free championship in 2015 where the Swiss dropped only three games and then went on to win the title.
Milos Raonic, who has been hampered by injuries after 2016, a year in which he was the finalist at both Indian Wells and at Wimbledon, seems to be back to normal service as he defeated the last remaining local favourite Sam Querrey 7-5,2-6,6-3 in one hour and fifty minutes on Friday. Raonic, ranked 38th in the world, had 17 aces but also had six double faults. Both players broke serve three times in the match, but Raonic saved six break points out of nine, while the 18th seeded Querrey, ranked 21st in the world, saved only two out of five break point chances.
The 2009 U.S. Open champion Juan Martin Del Potro of Argentina continued his impressive form winning his ninth consecutive match in a row which includes the title winning performance at the Acapulco ATP 500 event in February as he came from a set down to beat the veteran German Phillipp Kohlschreiber 3-6,6-3,6-4 in two hours and six minutes in the last quarter final. Del Potro saved five out of seven break points, while the 31st seeded Kohlschreiber saved 10 out of the 13 break point chances he had faced in the match.
The following is the semi final lineup with my pick mentioned first :-
Roger Federer (1) (16-0) v. Borna Coric (-) (11-3); Federer leads 1-0
Juan Martin Del Potro (6) (15-3) v. Milos Raonic (32) (4-3).
– Rasesh Mehta [Rasesh Mehta is an analyst with the Tennis Galaxy. You can reach him at the email: sportzcosmos@]