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Posted at: Mar 20, 2017, 2:31 AM; last updated: Mar 20, 2017, 2:31 AM (IST)

Swiss showdown in US desert

Federer subdues American Sock, Wawrinka beats Busta to set up title clash
Swiss showdown in US desert
Roger Federer returns to Jack Sock during their semifinal at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California, on Saturday. AFP
Indian Wells (USA), March 19

Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka set up an all-Swiss final at the BNP Paribas Open with straight-set semifinal victories.

Federer, who won his 18th Grand Slam title at the Australian Open, subdued 17th-seeded American Jack Sock 6-1 7-6(4) to earn a crack at a record-equalling fifth Indian Wells title.

US Open champion Wawrinka, past the quarterfinals 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 his highly anticipated quarterfinal with Nick Kyrgios never materialised as the Australian pulled out with illness he suspected was caused by food poisoning.

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, which went on serve to the tiebreaker, where Federer won the last three points to seal the win on his first match point.

Federer has won 19 of 22 career meetings with Wawrinka, including a semifinal win at the Australian Open in January.

Asked to analyse the match-up, Wawrinka had little to offer. “Roger, we all know him, so nothing to say,” he said with a smile.

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 quarterfinals. 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. — AFP

Kuznetsova, Vesnina set up all-Russian final

Twice Grand Slam winner Svetlana Kuznetsova and 14th seed Elena Vesnina posted hard-fought, straight-set wins in semifinals to set up an all-Russian final. Kuznetsova played exceptional defence and used her strong serve and a varied groundstroke attack to edge third seed Karolina Pliskova 7-6(5) 7-6(2) in a tense showdown following Vesnina’s 6-3 6-4 win over Kristina Mladenovic. — Reuters


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