INDIAN WELLS, California – Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka set up an all-Swiss showdown for the ATP Indian Wells Masters title on Saturday with straight-sets semifinal victories.
Federer, who won his 18th Grand Slam title at the Australian Open, subdued 17th-seeded American Jack Sock 6-1, 7-6 (7-4) to earn a crack at a record-equaling fifth Indian Wells title.
U.S. 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 ailing Australian Nick Kyrgios pulled out of their highly anticipated quarterfinal.
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, saving a break point in the seventh game as it went on serve to the tiebreaker.
The American energized U.S. fans on Stadium Court when he zinged a backhand winner past Federer for a 3-1 lead in the decider.
But Federer won six of the next seven points, including the last three, as he sealed the contest on his first opportunity.
“I think I definitely played great in the first set, came out and really saw the ball well,” Federer said.
“I think Jack didn’t have his best first set, but I found a way to take advantage of that quickly, hardly made any mistakes and was able to press.”