World number 1 Roger Federer is two matches away from the title defense at Indian Wells and from the record sixth crown in the desert after a 7-5 6-1 victory over the young Korean Hyeon Chung in an hour and 22 minutes. This was their second meeting after that Australian Open clash when Chung had to retire in the second set and Federer held the strings of the match in his hands, controlling the scoreboard and saving four out of five break points to keep the pressure on his rival.
Hyeon fought well in the opening set but he lost the ground when Roger broke him in the 12th game when the Korean served to send the set into a tie break and he didn't have much in the tank left in set number two, losing serve twice to hit the exit door.
Thus, Roger will play in the semi-final of the first Masters 1000 event of the season for the 11th time and this was his 61st win in the desert, improving his score in 2018 to 16-0 (the best start of the season together with 2006).
Federer will now face Borna Coric in the battle for the place in the final on Saturday and he will stay world number 1 on Monday. The Swiss had the upper hand in the rallies and in the serving department, hitting 12 aces and 32 winners overall, together with 24 errors.
Hyeon stood on just eight winners and 22 errors which weren't enough to beat the rival who covered the court like he is 26 instead of 36. Hyeon suffered a huge setback right in the second game of the match, squandering a 40-0 lead and getting broken after a perfect lob from Roger.
Federer had everything in his hands, leading 3-1 40-15 before Chung found the way to break back, winning four points in a row and reducing the deficit to 3-2 when Roger netted a forehand. They both served well in the following six games and Hyeon had to hold in game 12 to reach the tie break.
Instead of that, Roger made a push and he broke at 15 to grab the set 7-5 after forcing an error from the Korean. Federer controlled the pace of the points and he held Hyeon on just four winners, hitting 16 of his own to break rival's defense.
Chung missed a colossal chance to open the second set with a break as Roger saved four break points in the opening game to bring the game home after a 24-stroke rally. This shifted the momentum to his side and he broke in game two after a poor backhand from Chung, holding with ease in games three and five to open up a 4-1 gap.
A double fault cost Hyeon his service games in game six and Roger served for the match after just 78 minutes. Federer saved a break point with a solid forehand attack and he closed the match with an ace to book his place in the semi-final.