ATP Indian Wells, Semi-Finals Preview: Federer v Dolgopolov, Isner v Djokovic

This tournament has been a tiring one to keep up with and there are only two more previews left for Indian Wells.  I will be wrapping everything up on Sunday night with a review of the tournament and discussing what’s happened and where this leaves both tours heading into another big event in Miami, starting next week. Here are my thoughts with men’s semi-finals up on Saturday.  Can anyone stop a Federer-Djokovic final?

1. Roger Federer v Alexandr Dolgopolov (ATP IW, SF)

Beating Rafael Nadal was one thing, but to back it up with two more straight set wins over top 20 players has marked a truly stunning week for Alexandr Dolgopolov.  The crafty Ukranian defeated Milos Raonic, 6-3 6-4 in a fantastic quarter-final performance.  Dolgopolov returned exceptionally well, so well that Raonic was heard saying to Dolgo at the net “i’m serving at 145mph and you’re returning it… that’s bulls**t”.  His foot speed around the court was lightning fast and at times, he was almost too early for shots.  This marks a third superb tournament for Dolgopolov, who will now take on Roger Federer in the last four.  Fed will break back into the top five and should go top four by the end of Miami.  He won a tight first set against Kevin Anderson before strolling through the second set to post a 7-5 6-1 victory.  In their only ever encounter on the ATP tour, Fed beat Dolgopolov via a retirement in Basel.  Dolgopolov has been playing so smart this week that I expect him to get a set, but Fed will storm into the final.

Prediction: Federer d. Dolgopolov in 3 sets

2. Novak Djokovic v John Isner (ATP IW, SF)

Isner

John Isner

The second semi-final from the 2014 BNP Paribas Open is actually a rematch of the 2012 semi-final between Novak Djokovic and John Isner.  In that match, Isner stunned the then number one seed to make the final after winning a third set tiebreak.  In fact, Isner has a remarkably solid record against Djokovic having beaten him twice and taken quite a few sets off the Serb.  This has been Isner’s best week of 2014 by far as he took out Ernests Gulbis in two tiebreak sets in the quarter-finals.  Isner will now move back into the world’s top ten.  Without disrespecting the big man too much, this really surprises me.  He’s had some hot patches over the last year, but I don’t feel like his results have warranted being top ten and particularly in the Grand Slams where he didn’t make it past the 4th round at any of the Slams in 2013.  I think it does show that besides a clear top eight, there really isn’t much to call between the rest of the ATP players.

Djokovic enjoyed his most straightforward win of the week at the hands of a tired and worn out, Julien Benneteau.  Djokovic prevailed 6-1 6-3 with no fuss and remains on course for a final with Federer.  Isner though will be a handful, particularly because he has beaten Djokovic twice on American hard courts and his game suits the courts in Indian Wells.  Like the first semi-final, I believe Isner wil get a set, but Djokovic will on this occasion, bag the win.

Prediction: Djokovic d. Isner in 3 sets

6 thoughts on “ATP Indian Wells, Semi-Finals Preview: Federer v Dolgopolov, Isner v Djokovic

  1. Yesterday was the first time I’ve ever see Isner play but ….. that was a close match that he eked out a win in. He seems kind of gangly and doesn’t move around the court very well – in spite of his hitting the ball pretty hard and having long arms, it’s hard to envision him making this close so I’ll take Djo in 2 sets.

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  2. Hasn’t Isner reached the Quarters in the US Open 2011? I watched the match against Gulbis yesterday and I actually really enjoyed it. I’m a little bit gutted for Ernie, I like his crazyness. But you also have to give credit to Isner who faced two consecutive breakpoints in the 2nd set after having some rebreak points. He could have went down a double break against Gulbis which could have been a huge change of momentum. Instead, he shook his head, fired down some huge first serves and was the winner of the match.
    I don’t know why but I would love to see either Dolgopolov or Isner win the title. Unfortunately, I think at least Federer will win against Dolgo whereas I can see Djokovic losing in a tough three setter to Isner related to Djokovic’s recent form as well as the advantage of home soil for Isner!

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    • Isner did reach the US Open quarters, but I was referring to just 2013. I quite enjoy watching Gulbis and it’s a crazy I can get on board with as opposed to Fognini. I’d love to see Dolgo continue his run of upsets. No doubt the crowd will be heavily pro-Fed, which immediately makes me want to cheer on his opponent! I’m really looking forward to that match tonight.

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      • well let’s hope the next one is not that one-sided! have to admit that Federer played awesome tennis 🙂

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