Mon, Mar 23, 2015 - Page 19 News List

Federer faces Djokovic in a blockbuster men’s final

SIZZLING SHOWDOWN:Defending champion Novak Djokovic will be looking to equal his rival’s record of four Indian Wells titles when they face off in the final

AFP, INDIAN WELLS, California

Roger Federer celebrates winning a point during his match against Milos Raonic of Canada at the BNP Paribas Open on Saturday in Indian Wells, California.

Photo: AFP

Roger Federer roared into the final of the ATP Indian Wells Masters on Saturday and is to face Novak Djokovic in a blockbuster showdown between the world’s top two players.

Federer’s remarkable run at Indian Wells continued with a 7-5, 6-4 demolition of Canada’s Milos Raonic in the semi-finals.

Defending champ Djokovic was equally dominant earlier in the day with a convincing 6-2, 6-3 win over world No. 4 Andy Murray.

“It is going to be quite physical out there,” Federer said of the final. “I think we played five times last year and then now this would be the second time this year. We have played each other a bunch now.”

The two also met in last year’s Indian Wells final, which Djokovic won 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7/3).

The ageless Federer has been in top form the past two weeks in the California desert and a win would avenge last year’s heartbreaking loss.

“I think last year’s final was great,” Federer said. “We both played very well. Came down to the wire. I didn’t get off to a good start to the breaker and then he ran away with it.”

“After losing by so little last year I was quite disappointed, even though I was happy with how I was playing,” he added. “So I couldn’t wait until I got a chance to play him again here.”

This will be the 38th career meeting between the two, with Federer holding a 20-17 edge.

Their most recent meeting was in the final last month in Dubai, where Federer won in straight sets 6-3, 7-5.

Serb Djokovic says facing a red-hot Federer so soon in the final of another big tournament is what he craves.

“It’s the ultimate final that right now I can have,” Djokovic said. “Probably the player that is in the best form. In the last 12 months he’s been playing some of his best tennis.”

If Djokovic wins, he will equal Federer for the most Indian Wells men’s titles with four.

“It doesn’t play a decisive role on how I’m going to approach the match, but it does motivate me,” Djokovic said, of trying to add to the titles he won in 2008, 2011 and last year. “It does give me this positive wind in the back that I can maybe use and manifest on the court.”

The 33-year-old Federer won in 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2012. Federer improved to 16-1 this year with his only loss coming against Andreas Seppi at the Australian Open in January.

He avenged that defeat in the third round at Indian Wells this year, spanking Seppi 6-3, 6-4. He also took just 69 minutes to reach the semis by ousting in straight sets Czech Tomas Berdych, who has been a particularly troubling opponent for Federer over the years.

Federer is out for more revenge in the final against Djokovic.

“He’s tough, as we know. He barely misses. He moves great. He makes you go for the extra shot,” he said of Djokovic. “This is one of the great hardcourt players we have seen in tennis.”

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