After the semi-final losses in Doha and Melbourne at the beginning of 2012, Roger Federer suffered another defeat in front of the home crowd against John Isner before finding the form in Rotterdam and Dubai, claiming back-to-back titles and heading to Indian Wells as one of the favorites for another trophy.
Having to work hard against Milos Raonic and Thomaz Bellucci, the Swiss raised his level against Juan Martin del Potro, beating the 9th seed 6-3, 6-2 in 70 minutes and advancing into the seventh semi-final in the desert. It was the 13th meeting between two great rivals and the 11th triumph for Roger, ousting the Argentine for the fifth straight time and already the fourth in 2012 after the Australian Open, Rotterdam and Dubai.
Federer saved all three break chances, mounting the pressure on the other side of the net and converting 14 points on the return into six opportunities for a break, seizing three to seal the deal in no time at all and set Rafael Nadal clash in the semis.
The Swiss had 27 winners and 20 unforced errors, reducing his opponent to less than ten winners after controlling the pace all the time with more reliable performance in the decisive moments. The opening game lasted for 11 minutes and Roger fended off two break chances to avoid an early setback, earning a break at 15 in game two with a volley winner to forge the advantage and gain momentum.
A service winner pushed Federer 3-0 in front, serving well in the remaining games to wrap up the opener with an unreturned serve in game nine despite three straight holds at love for del Potro after that break he suffered.
Sharp forehand winner clinched another break for a former champion at the beginning of the second set, cementing the break with a service winner in the next game to take another big step towards the finish line. The Swiss closed the fourth game with three winners and fired another one from his forehand to grab another break that sent him 4-1 in front.
Flying over the court, Roger wrapped up the sixth game in 65 minutes thanks to four direct points, fending off a break chance at 5-2 with a smash winner and sealing the deal with a smash winner that sent him into the semis against Rafael Nadal.