Seeking the third straight Indian Wells crown, world no. 1 Roger Federer made a shaky start in 2006. The defending champion struggled to find his A-game against Nicolas Massu and his junior doubles partner Olivier Rochus before improving his performance against Richard Gasquet to hit the quarters.
He stormed over the 6th seed Ivan Ljubicic to gain momentum and advance into the last four. Paradorn Srichaphan stood across the net in 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 to reach the semis.
Still, it was a completely different type of obstacle waiting for him in a battle for the final. Roger delivered 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 Federer, but that was not the case under the Californian sun.
Roger dominated serve and return to seal the deal in no time and claim the 21st win from 22 matches that season.
Roger Federer ousted Paradorn Srichaphan to reach the 2006 Indian Wells final.
The Swiss lost 16 points in nine service games and suffered one break.
He stole almost half of the return points and grabbed four breaks from seven opportunities to control the pace. Roger had the upper hand in 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 deuce with a service winner, and Srichaphan fired four quick points to level the score at 1-1 and add his name on the scoreboard. In the fourth game, the Thai player was miles from that rhythm, spraying a forehand error to suffer a break and push Federer 3-1 in front.
Roger landed 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 under 30 minutes to wrap up the opener. Suddenly, Paradorn broke Roger at 15 in the second set's first game and forced an error from the Swiss to open a 2-0 lead.
Nonetheless, he hit 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. Four winners pushed the defending champion 3-2 up before breaking again in game six following Srichaphan's volley mistake.
The Swiss wrapped up the triumph in game nine with three winners to set the James Blake clash, as the American ousted Rafael Nadal in the second semi-final.