Federer survives scare, to face Del Potro in Indian Wells final
Roger Federer v Borna Coric 5-7 6-4 6-4

Federer survives scare, to face Del Potro in Indian Wells final

World number one Roger Federer survived a scare from unseeded Borna Coric to beat him 5-7 6-4 6-4 in the BNP Paribas Open on Saturday and set up a final showdown with Juan Martin del Potro who cruised to a 6-2 6-3 win over Milos Raonic.

The victory kept Federer's hopes of winning a record sixth Indian Wells title alive but first he will have to get past the big-hitting Argentine, who got the better of the Swiss in the U.S. Open quarter-finals in September.

The partisan crowd erupted when Federer broke Coric at love to take the deciding set and end the unexpectedly competitive two hour twenty minute battle against the 21-year-old Croatian on a windy morning in the California desert.

An upset was on the cards when the speedy Coric used his ferocious backhand to take the first set off the Swiss, the first time defending champion Federer had dropped a set at Indian Wells in nine matches.

He then broke Federer to start the second set and silence the stunned crowd, which included Hall of Famers Rod Laver and Pete Sampras.

But despite playing below his usual standards, the 20-times grand slam champion was able to eek out victory by finding his serving rhythm and winning the biggest points of the match as nerves finally caught up with Coric.

"Those 10 minutes when he was up a set and a break were tough for me to accept," Federer said during an on-court interview.

"I had to move on with it and say that I was just happy to stay in the game. Maybe he's going to get a bit nervous and I think that's exactly what happened," he said.

"And I got a bit lucky too of course. It was a good match and a tough one for him."

The 36-year-old Federer improved to 17-0 for the year, his best ever start to a season.

Del Potro's one-sided win lacked the drama of the earlier match as Canadian Raonic put up little fight against the Argentine's powerful serve and punishing forehand in a contest that lasted just over an hour.

Del Potro won nearly 90 percent of his first service points and converted four of his five break point opportunities against Raonic, who never created a break point against the towering Argentine.

Victory was the 400th of the 29-year-old Del Potro's career, which has been interrupted by four wrist surgeries.

He considered retiring before slowly regaining his health and climbing the ATP rankings, where he now sits at number eight in the world.

"I'm healthy and that is the most important thing," Del Potro said. "I get on every court with a smile. I'm playing free of pain and am enjoying playing tennis again.

"I didn't expect to play at this level after all my surgeries but I'm here and I'm so happy."

Del Potro will look to win his first Indian Wells title after losing the 2013 final to Rafa Nadal but will have to defeat Federer, who holds an 18-6 lead in their career head-to-head meetings.

Related news

Monfils overcomes Wawrinka to lift Rotterdam title

Monfils overcomes Wawrinka to lift Rotterdam title

France's Gael Monfils overcame a determined Stan Wawrinka to win the Rotterdam Open 6-3 1-6 6-2 on Saturday, lifting his first title since January 2018.

Wawrinka outlasts Nishikori in Rotterdam, faces Monfils in final

Wawrinka outlasts Nishikori in Rotterdam, faces Monfils in final

Three-times Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka battled past Kei Nishikori 6-2 4-6 6-4 at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam on Saturday to set up a final against Frenchman Gael Monfils.

Maria Sharapova pulls out of Indian Wells with shoulder injury

Maria Sharapova pulls out of Indian Wells with shoulder injury

Former world number one Maria Sharapova will miss next month's BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells due to a right shoulder injury, organisers said on Wednesday.

Stan Wawrinka beats Milos Raonic in Rotterdam, Stefanos Tsitsipas crashes out

Stan Wawrinka beats Milos Raonic in Rotterdam, Stefanos Tsitsipas crashes out

Stan Wawrinka knocked out fourth seed Milos Raonic and Damir Dzumhur ousted third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas on a day of surprises at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam.

Kei Nishikori returns from injury with win over Herbert

Kei Nishikori returns from injury with win over Herbert

Kei Nishikori overcame Pierre-Hugues Herbert 3-6 6-1 6-4 at the Rotterdam Open on Tuesday on his return from the knee injury which forced him to retire during his Australian Open quarter-final against Novak Djokovic.

Jelena Ostapenko, Kiki Bertens survive early scares in Doha

Jelena Ostapenko, Kiki Bertens survive early scares in Doha

Former French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko overcame strong winds and a determined Mihaela Buzarnescu to advance to the second round of the Qatar Open with a 6-1 4-6 6-2 victory on Tuesday.

Tsonga Returns To Winners' Circle In Montpellier

Tsonga Returns To Winners' Circle In Montpellier

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga beat fellow Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert 6-4 6-2 to win the Open Sud de France in Montpellier and claim his first ATP title since 2017 on Sunday.

Tsonga through to the final four in Montpellier

Tsonga through to the final four in Montpellier

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga came from a set down to edge a gruelling quarter-final encounter with fellow Frenchman Jeremy Chardy at the South of France Open.

Merciless Gael Monfils hands Stefanos Tsitsipas lesson in Sofia

Merciless Gael Monfils hands Stefanos Tsitsipas lesson in Sofia

Gael Monfils doled out another lesson in outstanding tennis, winning 93 percent of points on his first serve, as he reached the semi-finals of the Sofia Open on Friday with a 6-3 7-6(5) win over Greece’s emerging talent Stefanos Tsitsipas.

RELATED NEWS

Monfils overcomes Wawrinka to lift Rotterdam title
Gael Monfils vs Stan Wawrinka 6-3 1-6 6-2

Monfils overcomes Wawrinka to lift Rotterdam title

France's Gael Monfils overcame a determined Stan Wawrinka to win the Rotterdam Open 6-3 1-6 6-2 on Saturday, lifting his first title since January 2018.

Wawrinka outlasts Nishikori in Rotterdam, faces Monfils in final
Stan Wawrinka vs Kei Nishikori 6-2 4-6 6-4

Wawrinka outlasts Nishikori in Rotterdam, faces Monfils in final

Three-times Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka battled past Kei Nishikori 6-2 4-6 6-4 at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam on Saturday to set up a final against Frenchman Gael Monfils.

Maria Sharapova pulls out of Indian Wells with shoulder injury
BNP Paribas Open news

Maria Sharapova pulls out of Indian Wells with shoulder injury

Former world number one Maria Sharapova will miss next month's BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells due to a right shoulder injury, organisers said on Wednesday.

Stan Wawrinka beats Milos Raonic in Rotterdam, Stefanos Tsitsipas crashes out
Stan Wawrinka vs Milos Raonic 6-4 7-6 (4)

Stan Wawrinka beats Milos Raonic in Rotterdam, Stefanos Tsitsipas crashes out

Stan Wawrinka knocked out fourth seed Milos Raonic and Damir Dzumhur ousted third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas on a day of surprises at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam.

Kei Nishikori returns from injury with win over Herbert
Kei Nishikori vs Pierre-Hugues Herbert 3-6 6-1 6-4

Kei Nishikori returns from injury with win over Herbert

Kei Nishikori overcame Pierre-Hugues Herbert 3-6 6-1 6-4 at the Rotterdam Open on Tuesday on his return from the knee injury which forced him to retire during his Australian Open quarter-final against Novak Djokovic.

Jelena Ostapenko, Kiki Bertens survive early scares in Doha
Jelena Ostapenko vs Mihaela Buzarnescu 6-1 4-6 6-2

Jelena Ostapenko, Kiki Bertens survive early scares in Doha

Former French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko overcame strong winds and a determined Mihaela Buzarnescu to advance to the second round of the Qatar Open with a 6-1 4-6 6-2 victory on Tuesday.

Tsonga Returns To Winners' Circle In Montpellier
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga vs Pierre-Hugues Herbert 6-4 6-2

Tsonga Returns To Winners' Circle In Montpellier

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga beat fellow Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert 6-4 6-2 to win the Open Sud de France in Montpellier and claim his first ATP title since 2017 on Sunday.

Tsonga through to the final four in Montpellier
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga vs Jeremy Chardy 6-7 (6) 7-6 (4) 6-4

Tsonga through to the final four in Montpellier

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga came from a set down to edge a gruelling quarter-final encounter with fellow Frenchman Jeremy Chardy at the South of France Open.

Merciless Gael Monfils hands Stefanos Tsitsipas lesson in Sofia
Gael Monfils vs Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-3 7-6(5)

Merciless Gael Monfils hands Stefanos Tsitsipas lesson in Sofia

Gael Monfils doled out another lesson in outstanding tennis, winning 93 percent of points on his first serve, as he reached the semi-finals of the Sofia Open on Friday with a 6-3 7-6(5) win over Greece’s emerging talent Stefanos Tsitsipas.