Seeking the third straight Indian Wells crown in 2006, world no. 1 Roger Federer made a shaky start against Nicolas Massu and his doubles partner from the junior days Olivier Rochus, improving his performance against Richard Gasquet to hit the quarters.
There, he stormed over the 6th seed Ivan Ljubicic to gain momentum, advancing into the last four where Paradorn Srichaphan stood across the net, in what had been the third Masters 1000 semi-final for the Bangkok native. Having no wins at this level since Indian Wells 2005, Paradorn toppled some notable seeds but it was a completely different type of obstacle waiting for him in the battle for the place in the final, with Roger delivering a 6-2, 6-3 triumph in an hour for the 17th consecutive victory in the desert and third straight final.
Last fall in Bangkok, Srichaphan took a set away from the Swiss but that wasn't the case under the Californian sun, with Federer dominating both serve and return to seal the deal in no time at all and claim the 21st win from 22 matches that season.
The Swiss lost 16 points in nine service games, suffering one break and stealing almost half of the return points to grab four breaks from seven opportunities and control the pace all the time. Roger had the upper hand in both the shortest and more extended rallies, taming his shots nicely to hit more winners than unforced errors and add another victory to his already fantastic season.
Federer clinched the first game after a deuce with a service winner, with Paradorn firing four quick points to level the score at 1-1 and add his name on the scoreboard. The Thai player was miles from that rhythm in the fourth game, spraying a forehand error to suffer a break and push Federer 3-1 in front, with Roger landing an ace in game seven to maintain the advantage and open a 5-2 gap.
Serving to stay in the set, Srichaphan netted a volley to hand another break to Federer who needed less than 30 minutes to wrap up the opener. Out of sudden, Paradorn broke Federer at 15 in the first game of the second set, forcing an error from the Swiss to open a 2-0 lead before hitting a double fault that cost him a break in game four, allowing Roger to get back on the positive side of the scoreboard and gain momentum again.
Four winners pushed Roger 3-2 up and he broke again in game six following a volley mistake from Srichaphan, wrapping up the triumph with three winners in game nine to set the clash against James Blake who ousted Rafael Nadal in another semi-final.