Switzerland's Roger Federer continued his strong run of form at the start of the 2014 season, cruising to a 7-5, 6-1 victory over South Africa's Kevin Anderson at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California.
Federer, who struggled with injuries last season and fell out of the top five of the world rankings for the first time since 2003, has rebounded strongly thanks in part to a switch to a bigger racquet and simply outclassed his opponent on Thursday night.
Anderson's only chance was to dominate with his first serve, but the Swiss great was able to neutralize that weapon from the latter part of the first set onward and the match turned into a rout.
After winning 80 percent of his first-serve points in the first set, the 6-foot, 8-inch South African captured just 54 percent of those points in the second set.
Federer, meanwhile, was completely untroubled on serve, winning 82 percent of his overall service points and a whopping 88 percent of his second-serve points.
With the win, the Swiss guaranteed he will return to the world's top five when the new rankings come out on Monday.
"I was ... feeling good movement wise (and) feeling good absorbing his pace (and) also being aggressive myself. I think the combination in those 10 minutes, all worked out for me," Federer said afterward, referring to the end of the first set and the start of the second set when he grabbed complete control of the match.
Next up for Federer in Saturday's semifinals will be Ukrainian Alexandr Dolgopolov, who has followed up his upset of Spanish world No. 1 Rafael Nadal on Monday by defeating Italy's Fabio Fognini and then topping big-serving Canadian Milos Raonic 6-3, 6-4 on Thursday.
In women's singles play, Chinese No. 1 seed Li Na and Italy's Flavia P\ennetta moved into the semifinals with three-set victories Thursday in a pair of error-filled matches.
Li first defeated Slovakia's Dominika Cibulkova 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 in a rematch of the Australian Open final, also won by the Chinese player; the sloppy contest featured 110 unforced errors in 219 points.
Pennetta then outlasted American Sloane Stephens 6-4, 5-7, 6-4 in a match in which the two players combined for 112 unforced errors in 221 points.
Li and Pennetta will square off on Friday night at the conclusion of the first women's semifinal between second-seeded Pole Agnieszka Radwanska and Romania's Simona Halep.
The other two men's semifinalists will be determined on Friday in matches pitting Serbian world No. 2 Novak Djokovic against France's Julian Benneteau and Latvia's Ernests Gulbis against American John Isner. EFE