Roger Federer will play for his fifth title at the BNP Paribas Open, after ending the run of Ukraine’s Alexandr Dolgopolov in the semi-finals Saturday in Indian Wells. The Swiss raced to the 6-3, 6-1 victory in 61 minutes.
The seventh-seeded Swiss went on a five-game run to build a set and 2-0 lead. He converted on his first break point chance and closed out the opening set in 30 minutes with his sixth ace, then broke Dolgopolov to start the second set. He consolidated the break by winning a 20-point fifth game, and closed out the match with a break at love.
"It feels good winning again here so many matches," said Federer. "I think it's nice winning anyway. It just solves a lot of problems and makes you feel better, happier."
Federer has yet to drop a set this week, and extended his winning streak to 11 matches. He won his 78th title ahead of Indian Wells at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, where he defeated Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals and Tomas Berdych in the final.
"I think the results are better than I thought they would be... so that's very encouraging and super positive, really," said Federer. "Now it's just a matter of keeping that up, taking the right decisions not to overplay, not to underplay, and enjoy yourself. Because at the end of the day, it's also very important.
"But having the fire and wanting to win every single match you go out there and in the practice trying to improve as much as you can, I think I've got the good balance right now, so it's very encouraging."
The 28th-seeded Dolgopolov had posted three straight wins over seeded players, including an upset of World No. 1 and defending champion Rafael Nadal in the third round, to reach his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 semi-final. He was attempting to become just the sixth player - and first outside the Top 30 - to defeat Nadal and Federer at the same tournament.
"I was ready physically, mentally," said Dolgopolov. "I wasn't nervous much, but I wasn't sharp enough. My concentration was going away for maybe one, two points every game, and you can't afford to have that in these matches."
In Sunday's final, Federer will face two-time BNP Paribas Open champion Novak Djokovic, who defeated top American John Isner 7-5, 6-7(2), 6-1. Federer leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head series 17-15, including a victory two weeks ago in the Dubai semi-finals.
"It's one of those matches I think we both know what to expect going into, and even more so maybe now that we have just played in Dubai and also in Paris and London at the end of last year," said Federer. "I think he's fresh and eager to really try and win this because he hasn't played many tournaments yet this season. I think he really wants it, and that's going to be a challenge for me to accept that and fight that with good play myself."
Federer is undefeated in finals at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, winning three straight titles from 2004-06 and claiming a tournament-record fourth crown in 2012 with victory over Isner.
The Swiss, who will re-enter the Top 5 with his effort this fortnight, will be looking to win a 22nd ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title and his first since 2012 in Cincinnati.