ATP Indian Wells: Roger Federer survives late charge from Jack Sock to set all-Swiss final with Stan Wawrinka

ATP Indian Wells: Roger Federer survives late charge from Jack Sock to set all-Swiss final with Stan Wawrinka

Roger Federer will face countryman Stan Wawrinka for the 2017 BNP Paribas Open title after the 18-time Grand Slam champion survived a late charge from American Jack Sock to advance in straight sets.

max-gao
Max Gao

Six weeks after capturing his elusive 18th major Down Under, Roger Federer will square off against good friend Stan Wawrinka in an all-Swiss battle for the 2017 BNP Paribas Open title after the ninth seed survived a late charge from 17th-seeded American Jack Sock to advance with a 6-1, 7-6(4) win.

Federer Flawless in Dominant 21-Minute First-Set Display

Having not dropped serve all week, let alone a set, Federer entered the match feeling reenergized after having an extra day’s rest by virtue of Nick Kyrgiosunfortunate withdrawal in the previous round. Sock, by contrast, entered the match having played four back-to-back three-set matches, two of which ended in a 7-5 or 7-6 scoreline, and he had played about five more hours of tennis than Federer had in the last week, and it showed early on.

Roger Federer hits a backhand during his straight-sets victory over Jack Sock in the semifinals of the 2017 BNP Paribas Open. | Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
Roger Federer hits a backhand during his straight-sets victory over Jack Sock in the semifinals of the 2017 BNP Paribas Open. | Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Seeing the ball extremely well, especially when returning serve, Federer needed a few games to settle in before finally beginning to find his range, with a little help from the American. After commanding the early exchanges in the fourth game with his rifling backhand, a netted smash followed by a double fault from Sock were enough for Federer to draw first blood and get the crucial break, one he would speedily consolidate with minimal fuss.

With the younger American already under relentless pressure, the 35-year-old Swiss’ single-break advantage would soon double before the Basel native swiftly moved to a one-set advantage, sealing the set, 6-1, with an ace.

Roger Federer hits a forehand volley during his straight-sets victory over Jack Sock in the semifinals of the 2017 BNP Paribas Open. | Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
Roger Federer hits a forehand volley during his straight-sets victory over Jack Sock in the semifinals of the 2017 BNP Paribas Open. | Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Federer Survives Late Onslaught from Sock to Set Up All-Swiss Battle for Championship

After being completely outclassed in the opening 21 minutes of his first ATP Masters 1000 semifinal, a bathroom break seemed to settle Sock as he returned with a new sense of purpose, holding his serve to keep Federer under pressure throughout the second, and most notably saving a break point in the seventh game to keep his nose in front.

Aside from that golden opportunity, there were no other break points exchanged in the second frame, which ultimately forced a tiebreak to decide whether this match would be done and dusted or be forced to go the distance, a concept Sock was no stranger to.

Jack Sock runs to hit a forehand during his straight-sets defeat to Roger Federer in the semifinals of the 2017 BNP Paribas Open. | Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
Jack Sock runs to hit a forehand during his straight-sets defeat to Roger Federer in the semifinals of the 2017 BNP Paribas Open. | Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

The American would spark the hopes of his home crowd of forcing a decider with a stunning backhand pass to go up 3-1, but Federer immediately responded by winning six of the next seven points to continue his perfect record against Sock and set up a highly-anticipated with countryman Wawrinka in the process.

Stats Corner: Federer’s Consistency the Key in Semifinal Victory

In another very clean match from the reigning Australian Open champion, the Swiss Maestro hit nearly two times as many winners as unforced errors (27 to 14), whereas Sock only had a +3 winners-to-errors differential after the match (16 to 13).

Roger Federer and Jack Sock shake hands after their semifinal match at the 2017 BNP Paribas Open. | Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
Roger Federer and Jack Sock shake hands after their semifinal match at the 2017 BNP Paribas Open. | Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

In addition to that, Federer looked imperious on serve during the 74-minute clash, hitting nine aces and never facing a single break point to keep up his perfect record in service games won at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. When he had the chance to move forward, the ninth seed was especially potent, winning 7/9 points at the net, while Sock was only successful less than half the time when choosing to take the gamble (6/13).

Next Up for Federer: Wawrinka

Awaiting the four-time BNP Paribas Open champion in the final will be a familiar foe in third seed Stanislas Wawrinka, who looked equally impressive in a 64-minute dispatching of surprise semifinalist Pablo Carreño Busta, the 21st seed.

Roger Federer celebrates after defeating Jack Sock in the semifinals of the 2017 BNP Paribas Open. | Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
Roger Federer celebrates after defeating Jack Sock in the semifinals of the 2017 BNP Paribas Open. | Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Federer will be bidding to take home his 25th ATP Masters 1000 crown and 90th tour-level title overall, while Wawrinka, in contrast, will be looking to win just his second Masters title and 16th overall. The head-to-head swings heavily in the favour of the 18-time Grand Slam champion, 19-3, but Wawrinka, who is now one Wimbledon title away from completing the Career Grand Slam, shouldn’t be taken lightly whatsoever.

Their last meeting came just six weeks ago in the semifinals of the Australian Open, where Federer triumphed in a five-set battle before going on to triumph in another five-set thriller to win his first major in four-and-a-half years. However, it is worth nothing that their only meeting in a Masters 1000 final went the way of Wawrinka in three sets at the 2014 Monte Carlo Rolex Masters, but can he do the same on Sunday in the Californian desert?

Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka pose with their trophies after meeting in the final of the 2014 Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters. | Photo: Julian Finney/Getty Images
Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka pose with their trophies after meeting in the final of the 2014 Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters. | Photo: Julian Finney/Getty Images
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