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'I’m in a good place mentally...', Roger Federer happy with form ahead of Nadal showdown

Leye Aduloju in ATP Tour 16 Mar 2019
  • Roger Federer is pleased with the state of his game ahead of the big Indian Wells semi-final against Rafael Nadal
  • Federer took out young gun, Hubert Hurkacz to set up Saturday's semi-final meeting with Nadal
Roger Federer. (Photo by Yong Teck Lim/Getty Images)

World No. 4, Roger Federer is happy with his form ahead of his Indian Wells semi-final showdown with great rival, Rafael Nadal on Saturday.

Federer has progressed into the Indian Wells semi-finals without dropping a set, beating Peter Gojowczyk, Stan Wawrinka, Kyle Edmund and Polish young gun, Hubert Hurkacz to reach the last four in California for the 12th time in his legendary career.

The great Swiss is also on a nine-match winning streak, having won in Dubai- his milestone 100th career title- in his most recent tournament before Indian Wells. Federer is now 12-1 for the season, with his only defeat in 2019 coming against Stefanos Tsitsipas in the fourth round of the Australian Open.

The 37-year-old is bidding to become the first man to win six Indian Wells titles, which would break his current tie with Novak Djokovic. 

"I think I feel good playing matches now,” said the Swiss following his quarter-final victory over Hurkacz. “Not that I haven’t in the past, but I think it was another one of those matches where I think I don’t need too many chances to break. I got clear playing patterns". 
“I’m holding my serve comfortably,” he continued. “I’m in a good place mentally when I go into my service games. I think it showed this week thus far. So I hope I can keep that up.”

In his first match against the rising Pole, Hurkacz, Federer never looked in any real danger of losing, sealing the comfortable 6-4 6-4 victory in an hour and 13 minutes. The 22-year-old Hurkacz did not look out of place in his maiden Masters 1000 quarter-final, displaying all the qualities that had helped him past Kei Nishikori, Lucas Pouille and Denis Shapovalov in an outstanding fortnight- the big serve, big forehand, solid backhand, a strong mentality, impressive movement and touch at the net- but he was still a distant second best against the mastery of the great Swiss on Friday.

“I was trying to compete, to fight, and believe that I can do it. Roger was playing great in the crucial moments," admitted the young gun, Hurkacz, who will move to the brink of the top-50 next week. "I had some small chances in the second set. But yeah, today was a great lesson for me."

Federer dropped just five points on serve in an impeccable first set, offering no break points, and converting the only opportunity he carved out in the fifth game- off a Hurkacz forehand error. The Swiss broke again in the third game of the second set, after another misdirected forehand from Hurkacz, but his numbers weren't as resplendent in the second set, as he had to save a break point at 3-2, with a gorgeous forehand crosscourt pass, and another while serving for the match at 5-4, with an accurate serve out wide. He sealed his semi-final spot on his first match point, keeping his own end of the bargain in the potential Nadal-Federer clash.

“Playing against young guys to eventually get to Rafa, that’s exciting,” admitted Federer.  
“At this stage of the tournament, you have to bring your best game," Federer said. "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 will take on Nadal for the 39th time on Saturday, with the great Swiss trailing his legendary rival, 15-23, but he is currently on a 5-0 run against the Spaniard, and 2-1 in Indian Wells meetings. Read the full match preview here.

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"I’m in a good place mentally...", Roger Federer happy with form ahead of Nadal showdown

Roger Federer is happy with the state of his game ahead of his big Indian Wells semi-final against great rival, Rafael Nadal.

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