Roger Federer advances, will face Rafael Nadal in semifinals


From Serena losing early to top-seed Novak Djokovic getting upset in the Round of 32, these are the top moments from BNP Paribas Open.
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Roger Federer defeated unseeded Hubert Hurkacz, 6-4, 6-4, on Friday afternoon to advance to the BNP Paribas Open semifinals Saturday here at Indian Wells, where he will meet rival Rafael Nadal in their first match in 17 months.

It was the first appearance in an ATP Masters 1000 quarterfinal for Hurkacz, 22. Fourth-seeded Federer was appearing in his 83rd. Federer, 37, is now the oldest player to reach the semifinals at Indian Wells.

The match was never really close, as Federer broke Hurkacz’s serve in the fifth game and held on, winning 19 of 22 points on his serve, to close out the first set.

“At this stage of the tournament, anyway, you have to bring your best game,” Federer said. “Personally, I’m very excited to be in the semis here. Not that I didn’t expect it, but it definitely went better than I thought it would.”

Federer has saved 13 of 14 break points he’s faced here and has held serve on 36 of 37 service games this week. 

He’s been dominant, and Hurkacz discovered that first-hand. In the second set, Federer notched another break and quickly wrapped up the match in 73 minutes.

“I was trying to compete, to fight, and believe that I can do it,” Hurkacz said. “Roger was playing great in the crucial moments. I had some small chances in the second set.

He added: “Today was a great lesson for me. Yeah, I’m taking it for the next tournament.”

Billionaire tech mogul and philanthropist Bill Gates was in attendance for the match, as was 14-time Grand Slam champion Pete Sampras, who has caught multiple matches here this week.

The run here in the California desert by Hurkacz, the 67th ranked player in the world, was perhaps the best of his career. The Poland native earned the biggest win of his career when he beat sixth-ranked Kei Nishikori in the Round of 32, less than a month after reaching his first ATP quarterfinal when he did so in Dubai.


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But against Switzerland’s Federer, he appeared to be in over his head from the start. Playing on Stadium Court with a packed crowd in the 16,100-seat Stadium 1, Federer looked as comfortable as he has all week and has not lost a set all week.

Federer is now 12-1 on the season, with his lone losing coming to Stefanos Tsitsipas at the Australian Open. He then won five matches to win the singles title in Dubai last month and has now won four matches here this week to stretch his win streak to nine matches.

He’s also two wins over the next two days from claiming what would be a record sixth singles title at Indian Wells. To do that, he will have to get through Nadal, who outdueled Karen Khachanov later Friday, winning 7-6, 7-6. 

Saturday’s Federer-Nadal meeting will be the 39th match between the two Grand Slam champions. Nadal leads the all-time series 23-15. It will be the fourth match at Indian Wells, with Federer holding a 2-1 advantage in the previous three matches.

Federer, however, has fared well recently against Nadal. He did not face a single break point the last time they played, in the 2017 Shanghai final, and has beaten Nadal each of the last five times they’ve played each other.

“I don’t think those five matches matter that much, to be honest,” Federer said.

“He seems to me very good. He’s at a higher level than he was at the Australian Open. He seems healthy. When Rafa is healthy, especially in a place like here in Indian Wells where he feels comfortable, he’s clearly very tough to play.”

Andrew John is covering the BNP Paribas Open for The Desert Sun and the USA TODAY Network. Email him at


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