Sweet 16 for Roger Federer as world No1 equals his best start to the season

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Roger Federer on his way to victory

World No1 Roger Federer equalled his best start to a season to stay on course for a sixth Indian Wells title, while Borna Coric brushed aside a shaky first set to reach the semi-finals.

Federer booked his semi-final spot and extended his season win streak to 16 straight matches with a 7-5, 6-1 victory over South Korea’s Chung Hyeon on Thursday.

That equals the 16-0 start to the 2006 ATP calendar season. If he makes it to Sunday’s final and wins he will reach a career best 17 consecutive wins.

Switzerland’s Federer recalls parts of that streak but not all the tournaments he played in to get there.

“Twelve years ago, a long time ago. I don’t know. What was I doing back then?” he asked. “I don’t even remember what tournament I played first up and won.

“I guess I had a similar good start to the year. Back then I was on this massive streak of winning 30, 40-plus matches. It had already started the year before that, which this time it didn’t. I had to get it going again in Australia.

“It’s a great start. Hopefully I can do one more and beat my best streak on Saturday.”

Federer put on an impressive display of serving and shot making, winning 70 percent of his first serve points against Chung. He had just one double fault and broke Chung’s serve four times in the one hour, 23 minute main stadium match.

“I’m happy I found a way. I started off really well, struggled afterwards, found my game back again and was able to protect it, saving big break points early on in the second set,” Federer said.

“I think that was the key to the match, those 10, 15 minutes where I broke at the end of the first and then saved break points early in the second.”

Federer clinched the victory on his second match point when he blasted his 12th and final ace of the contest.

He next faces Croatian Coric who outlasted seventh seeded Kevin Anderson 2-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7/3).

– 20th Grand Slam –

Earlier this year Federer defended his title at the Australian Open, picking up his 20th Grand Slam win.

Last month he claimed his 97th singles title with a victory in Rotterdam which helped him regain the world number one ranking and become the oldest No. 1 player in ATP history.

And this victory guarantees he will hold onto the top spot after Indian Wells.

This was the first match between Federer and Chung since the semi-finals of the Aussie Open when the Swiss was leading 6-1, 5-2 and Chung was forced to retire with a foot blister.

Chung dropped to 15-6 on the season as he was appearing in his fifth quarter-final in six tournaments this year.

Chung is set to become the top Asian player in the ATP rankings, surpassing Japan’s Kei Nishikori who has held sway since 2011.

“I’m really honored to be number one Asian,” Chung said.

Federer said he plans to get ready for Coric the same way he prepared for Chung.

“He plays similar to Chung,” Federer said. “A great mover and has got a world of confidence.

“I got to play aggressive tennis as much as I can. Pretty simple, not always easy to do.”

Provided by AFP Sport

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Why is Juan Martin del Potro so popular? His fans give us the answer at Indian Wells

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They call him the ‘Gentle Giant’ and scream his name from the stands wherever he goes — Juan Martin del Potro fans are just as passionate and emotional as the man they admire so much.

Del Potro isn’t just a national hero in Argentina for being a Grand Slam champion, Olympic silver medallist and Davis Cup winner, the 29-year-old is loved worldwide and his inspiring and successful return from career-threatening injuries has earned him supporters across the globe.

I asked some of his fans after his practice session in Indian Wells on Thursday ahead of his Friday quarter-final against Philipp Kohlschreiber, on what they find so special about Del Potro.

Here’s what they had to say…










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Daria Kasatkina sprints into Indian Wells semi-finals - Stats after her crushing defeat of Angelique Kerber

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Daria Kasatkina produced some scintillating tennis to crush ex-world No. 1 Angelique Kerber 6-0, 6-2 to speed into the semi-finals at Indian Wells.

The 20-year-old Russian, ranked 19 in the world, is into her third semi-final in four tournaments, and her first at a Premier Mandatory event.

Kerber entered the contest having reached the quarter-finals in all five tournaments contested in 2018, while Kasatkina is coming off a runner-up showing in Dubai three weeks ago.

Kasatkina next faces either Venus Williams or Carla Suarez Navarro for a place in the final.

Here are some numbers to put Kasatkina’s latest success into context…

0 – break points Kasatkina faced against Kerber, who entered the match having broken serve 21 times in three matches, winning 70 per cent of her return games.

1 – this is Kasatkina’s first Premier Mandatory semi-final.

1 – victory and two losses in her career finals, all coming at Premier level or above.

3 – consecutive top-15 victories for Kasatkina this week (Kerber, Wozniacki, Stephens).

3 – Indian Wells main draw appearances for Kasatkina so far. Her results: 2016: QF; 2017: R1; 2018: SF*.

3 – semi-finals for Kasatkina her last four tournaments (St. Petersburg, Dubai, Indian Wells).

4 – reigning Grand Slam champions have lost to Kasatkina within the past year (Ostapenko, Muguruza, Stephens, Wozniacki).

4 – top-10 wins for Kasatkina in 2018 (Wozniacki x2, Kerber, Muguruza).

5 – break points converted from six created by Kasatkina against Kerber.

9 – top-10 wins and 16 losses for Kasatkina throughout her young career.

15 – Kasatkina is guaranteed a career-high top-15 ranking next week. Could crack the top-10 if she wins the title.

21 – winners struck by Kasatkina in her win over Kerber, against just 14 unforced errors.

52.7 – Kasatkina’s percentage of return points won. Second-highest percentage across all players in the draw.

57.4 – Kasatkina’s winning percentage on her second serve across four matches this tournament. The highest percentage of everyone remaining in the draw.

58 – minutes, time needed for Kasatkina to defeat Kerber in the Indian Wells quarter-finals.

79.4 – Kasatkina’s percentage of service games won. The highest percentage of any player in the draw who has played more than one match.

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