We are down to the semifinals at the 2014 BNP Paribas Open. It has been an eventful tournament full of upsets to this point. Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic are the only two stars left at Indian Wells.
Alexandr Dolgopolov and John Isner are both looking for their first ATP Masters 1000 title. Dolgopolov pulled off the biggest upset of the tournament when he beat Rafael Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 7-6(5) in the second round.
The semifinals look very similar to the 2012 semifinals. Djokovic took on Isner, while Federer defeated Nadal.
Let's look at who has the edge in each semifinal matchup.
Roger Federer vs. Alexandr Dolgopolov
Dolgopolov will be playing in his first Masters semifinal. With his 6-3, 6-4 win over Milos Raonic in the quarterfinals, his record improved to 15-7 on the year.
According to ESPN, here is what Dolgopolov said about his improved play and ranking jump.
Obviously if you're ranked 20, 30, 40, you're a good enough player. To get in the top 10, you just need all those small things to be together and to be solid.
It's really small differences from the players that are top 10 and top 50. I don't think I changed a lot, and it's working good; I'm staying healthy; I'm doing all the things I did but a little bit better.
He will need to keep up his great play to take down Federer. Dolgopolov lost their only meeting when he retired down 6-4, 5-2.
Federer has secured a spot in the top five by advancing to the semifinals.
However, he will not be satisfied going home without his fifth Indian Wells title. He advanced past Kevin Anderson 7-5, 6-1 in the quarterfinals. Anderson had been one of the hottest players on tour before losing to Federer.
Dolgopolov can be a very tricky opponent to deal with. He plays a variety of shots and can hit it as hard as anyone on tour. Federer may struggle to play against his unconventional style, but I still like him to come out on top.
Federer in three
Novak Djokovic vs. John Isner
Djokovic cruised past Julien Benneteau 6-1, 6-3 to advance to the semifinals. Isner needed two tiebreakers to take down Ernests Gulbis 7-6(4), 7-6(3). The two met here in the 2012 semifinals; Isner won 7-6(7), 3-6, 7-6(5).
Djokovic will try to avenge that loss this year and is looking to pick up his 17th ATP Masters 1000 title. He holds the head-to-head advantage 4-2. However, the matches have been very close; each of the last best-of-three matches have gone the distance.
According to atpworldtour.com, here is what Djokovic had to say about playing Isner:
I played John here a few years ago and I remember that match. 7-6 in the third, and also lost to him very close one in Cincinnati last year. He's definitely not somebody you like to play in the big heat with such serve.
It's very challenging because he doesn't miss his serve too much, so you have to kind of be able to hold your composure from the first to the last point and be ready to play three tie-breaks.
Isner's serve allows him to hang in there with the best in the game. He has been broken just two times all tournament long. The American will need to keep up this great serving to pull off the win. He will also have the home-court advantage on his side.
With the crowd on his side, I like Isner to pull off the upset. He is 2-1 against Djokovic on American soil and has the confidence of beating him here before. Expect there to be at least one tiebreaker in the victory.
Isner in three
**All stats from atpworldtour.com unless mentioned otherwise.
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