Roger Federer routs Milos Raonic to reach Indian Wells final
World number two Roger Federer, chasing a record fifth Indian Wells title, cruised past Canada`s Milos Raonic 7-5, 6-4 to reach the ATP Masters event final on Saturday.
The ageless Federer has been in top form the past two weeks and made quick work of world number six Raonic as he now goes for a shot at reclaiming the top overall world ranking.
"When we play it`s always going to come down to a few points here and there, a few backhands down the line and good serving," Federer said of facing Raonic.
The Swiss star next meets world number one and defending champion Novak Djokovic, who eliminated Andy Murray in straight sets 6-2, 6-3 in the first semi-final.
Federer, 33, leads the tournament with four titles having won in 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2012. But Djokovic beat him 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7/3) in last year`s championship match.
Federer improved to 16-1 this year with his only loss coming against Andreas Seppi at the Australian Open in January.
He avenged that defeat in the third round at Indian Wells, beating Seppi 6-3, 6-4. He had needed just 69 minutes to advance to the semis by ousting Czech Tomas Berdych 6-4, 6-0.
Federer also stopped American Jack Sock 6-3, 6-2 in the fourth round and Diego Schwartzman in his opening match 6-4, 6-2.
Federer clinched Saturday`s semi-final with a forehand volley at the net into the open court that Raonic tried in vain to chase down.
Federer needed just 86 minutes to overpower the hard-serving Raonic, blasting five aces, 15 winners and breaking him twice.
He had no double faults and made just 11 unforced errors, limiting Raonic to just nine aces."I did very well. In the first set I scrambled out a lot of balls," said Federer.
"In the second set I was happy to get the early break and then rolled from there."
The 24-year-old Raonic was coming off one of the biggest wins of his career. He saved three match points to upset world number three Rafael Nadal for the first time on Friday.
That win was not only his first in six tries over the Spaniard but it spoiled the prospects of a semi-final lineup featuring tennis` Big Four.
Raonic met Federer for the first time three years ago in Indian Wells where he managed to win the first set before dropping the next two.
But this time Federer was ready for the blistering serves from the Canadian, who averaged 15 aces through his first three matches. The serve and thundering forehand are Raonic`s two biggest weapons and Federer snatched those away.
"He was neutralizing well on the serve, but especially during the points when I felt like a few times I was able to stretch him," said Raonic, who came into Indian Wells after helping Canada beat Japan in the Davis Cup.
"He was doing a good job of always playing a deep cross so I could never find that short forehand I was looking for."