Federer advances to semifinals at Indian Wells

Posted March 18, 2011, at 5:54 p.m.
Last modified March 18, 2011, at 8:34 p.m.

INDIAN WELLS, Calif. — Roger Federer defeated Stanislas Wawrinka 6-3, 6-4 to advance to the BNP Paribas Open semfinals on Friday, setting up a showdown with Novak Djokovic for the world’s No. 2 ranking.

Federer is currently second behind Rafael Nadal in the ATP rankings, and Djokovic is third. Djokovic beat Richard Gasquet 6-2, 6-4 to improve to 16-0 this year and put himself in position to surpass Federer in the rankings.

Federer is 18-2 this year, with one tournament win in Doha. Djokovic won titles at the Australia Open and Dubai.

Nadal and Juan Martin del Potro will play in Saturday’s other semifinal. Between them, Nadal, Federer and Djokovic have won six of the last seven finals at Indian Wells. Federer is a three-time champion, Nadal has won twice and Djokovic once.

Federer met little resistance against Wawrinka in their all-Swiss quarterfinal. He improved to 8-1 in his career against Wawrinka, with whom he teamed later to play a doubles semifinal against Nadal and Marc Lopez.

Djokovic has also been on a roll during the two-week tournament, losing 12 games in eight sets.

“Confidence plays a very important role in the life of a tennis player. So if you can roll on that run and try to use that confidence you can have a lot of success and you can really play well,” he said.

“I do feel really comfortable on the court and am trying to use that confidence because I know that it can easily change. It’s a very mental game.”

On the women’s side, 15th-seed Marion Bartoli became the first Frenchwoman to reach the singles final at Indian Wells, defeating No. 23 seed Yanina Wickmayer 6-1, 6-3.

She’ll play either top-ranked Caroline Wozniacki or 16th-seeded Maria Sharapova, who faced each other in an evening semifinal.

Djokovic trailed 2-0 in the first before winning five straight games to take the set. Gasquet challenged the call on the final point, but the replay showed his backhand landed just wide.

Djokovic fell behind 3-0 in the second set, then won six of the next seven games to close out the match against the 18th seed from France.

The Frenchman defeated top-10 players Jurgen Melzer and Andy Roddick to reach the quarterfinals.

Against Wickmayer, Bartoli was still feeling the effects of a stomach bug that bothered her earlier in the week.

“My level dropped after the first set because still not able to fully eat normally before the match, so I didn’t have many fuel into my body to hang on,” she said. “But I stayed mentally very focused and I stayed positive toward the end.”

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