Roger Federer will have a chance for a record-equalling five titles in Indian Wells tomorrow after defeating Jack Sock 6-1 7-6(4) to set up an all Swiss showdown with Stan Wawrinka in Sunday's showpiece.
The win sees Roger make his 138th final on the ATP World Tour and he'll be vying for his 90th tour-level title. Should he take it, he'll be the oldest Indian Wells champion since Jimmy Connors won in 1984 at 31 years and five months old.
Quick Match Recap
Federer won the toss and elected to serve. He held to 30 before Sock levelled. Another hold put the Swiss 2-1 up, and in game four he broke through, creating 0-30 on Sock's serve to then see the American miss a smash that was right in the sun and then double fault.
The break was consolidated for 4-1, and a sweet backhand return at deuce in Sock's service game helped Federer break again for 5-1, and he went on to take the opener 6-1.
Sock had looked flat in the first set, but after taking some tablets at an earlier changeover he came out with some purpose in the second, serving big to hold for a 1-0 lead. Roger levelled to love, and the set continued to go on serve. In game seven the Swiss fashioned the first break point of the set, but Sock produced some high quality serves to hold.
The American then had his best moments in the match, making deuce on Federer's serve to apply some pressure and holding comfortably to make Federer hold to force a tiebreak.
Force the breaker he did, and although Sock went up an early mini-break, Roger hit back, taking advantage of some backhand errors to recoup it and take it 7-4 to move into the final.
|Jack Sock||Roger Federer|
|First Serve Percent||59% (35/59)||53% (33/62)|
|1st Serve Points Won||80% (28/35)||82% (27/33)|
|2nd Serve Points Won||33% (8/24)||66% (19/29)|
|Break Points Saved||33% (1/3)||0% (0/0)|
|Service Games Played||9||10|
|1st Serve Return Points Won||18% (6/33)||20% (7/35)|
|2nd Serve Return Points Won||34% (10/29)||67% (16/24)|
|Break Points Converted||0% (0/0)||67% (2/3)|
|Return Games Played||10||9|
|Total Service Points Won||61% (36/59)||74% (46/62)|
|Total Return Points Won||26% (16/62)||39% (23/59)|
|Total Points Won||43% (52/121)||57% (69/121)|
Thoughts on the Match
Good win here again from Roger who played a very solid match. It's always tough to know what to expect when a player comes in after a walkover but Roger started in style, taking advantage of a sluggish looking Sock (who'd played four three-set matches this week) to win the first set in the blink of an eye.
The second was obviously much closer like the scoreline suggests and Roger seemed to struggle a bit on the return as Sock knuckled down. Despite that, you always felt like he had more in the tank if needed. So while it was close on the scoreboard had he somehow lost the tie breaker (which wasn't unthinkable as Sock had won 8 out 9 so far this year) I think he'd have been able to zap the energy out of Sock's leg in a third set who looked jaded on the last few points of the match.
So overall a pretty good match, not much energy expended which could be important tomorrow and just enough strife in the second set to test him out a little.
Predictions vs. Wawrinka
Next up is Stan The Man who defeated Carreno Busta in the earlier match in routine fashion.
Stan's had some tough battles this week with Nishioka and Thiem but he's come through, and that makes him very dangerous. Whenever Stan wins a match he could easily have lost he's invariably winning the whole thing. We saw it at the US Open with Dan Evans and combine that with simple how hard he hits the ball then he has a decent shot tomorrow.
Roger, of course, dominates the H2H and has won all their hard court matches, so he's my favourite going in. It always used to feel a bit like Master vs. Apprentice when these two met, but Stan is now a real force and has arguably been the 2nd best player in the world over the last three years, so I'm expecting a three setter.
I'll pick Roger in three, bit of a lottery in a BO3 sometimes but if Roger can stay offensive and vary the direction of his groundstrokes to keep Stan off balance who isn't the best mover, I like his chances.
What do you guys think? Any predictions?