Federer enjoying his best start to a season
ROGER Federer found his way back from a set and a break down to reach his eighth final at the Indian Wells Masters, beating Croatian Borna Coric 5-7 6-4 6-4.
Federer stands on 17-0 at the start of a season for the first time in his career.
He broke his previous best start of 16-0 in the Indian Wells quarter-finals - a mark he also achieved in 2006 when he finished the season on 92-5.
Federer, who lost his first set of the week as he beat Coric for the second time, had to work in challenging and windy conditions on Saturday - in addition to a relatively unorthodox 11am start that required a pre-match plate of pasta two hours beforehand.
"I needed to fight, keep the ball in play and not do too much shot-making in the wind,” the 20-time grand slam champion said.
"There was nothing fancy - I was hoping at the end that he might get a bit nervous.
"It was a good match. I was happy with not making a lot of mistakes. There were a lot of turning points in this match.”
Federer's only other 11am starts came in finals at Indian Wells in 2004 and at Gstaad in 2011.
The Swiss will figure in the desert final for the fourth consecutive year as he bids for a sixth trophy at the Tennis Garden.
He faces sixth seed Juan Martin del Potro this morning.
The 29-year-old Argentine set up a re-run of the 2009 US Open final, where he defeated Federer, beating listless Canadian Raonic 6-2 6-3.
Newly returned to the top 10, Del Potro grabbed the first set 6-2, then benefited as Raonic double-faulted for 1-2 in the one-way contest.
"I was lucky in both sets with early breaks,” Del Potro said.
"I broke a lot and that was the key to the match. Against Roger I will have to play my best tennis, otherwise I will have little chance.
"I'm healthy now and playing well, that is the most important thing. I'm free of pain and enjoying it again.”
Federer, who won against Del Potro in their past two meetings in 2017, is bidding for his third ATP title this year.