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Federer equals his best start to year ever

18 March 2018

South Korean Chung Hyeon managed to hang around against Roger Federer a little longer this time around, but only just, as the Swiss maestro advanced to the semi-finals of the BNP Paribas Open 7-5 6-1 on Thursday.

Daria Kasatkina upset Venus Williams 4-6, 6-4, 7-5 in a almost three-hour baseline struggle and Naomi Osaka routed top-ranked Simona Halep 6-3, 6-0 in 64 minutes on Friday night to set up a final between two 20-year-olds.

Chung's fairy-tale run at the Australian Open in January came to a crashing halt when he retired with foot blisters while trailing Federer 1-6, 2-5 in their semi-final. "And I come back, like, 5-all, and he played good", Chung said. The Swiss won the final eleven points to lock up the victory.

Federer entered the tournament with 1000 rankings points to defend after winning the tournament a year ago, and was in danger of losing top spot to Nadal, who only dropped 90 points by not playing.

There was no way back from there as Federer, who served 12 aces, closed out another win. His forehand volley went wide, giving Chung a break chance. "He was hitting the ball very big, and I just couldn't find my rhythm on the ball", Coric said.

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But he fought on and broke straight back - despite the fact Anderson had only been broken twice in the tournament until that point.

"I don't know if it's Australia per se or, taking the benefits from the hard work I put into the new season".

"I think the conditions help".

But a focused Federer held his nerve, eventually breaking for another time to take the set.

In the women's singles, Venus Williams secured her spot in the semi-finals in Indian Wells for the first time since 2001.

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The 36-year-old was tested in the first round by Federico Delbonis, but he has not dropped a set en route to the semi-final.

The only remaining American, 18th-seeded Sam Querrey, will play 32nd-seeded Canadian Milos Raonic, and sixth-seeded Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina will meet 31st-seeded Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany. The Russian connected on 82 percent of her first serves, winning 22 of 32 first-serve points "This one I will try to forget as fast as possible", Kerber said.

"It was hard conditions to play in today because of the wind", she said.

"It was surprising to see him serving not too hard, and I broke his serve very quick in both sets", Del Potro said.

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Federer equals his best start to year ever