Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press
Roger Federer may be 36 years old, but he has been an unstoppable force during the 2018 season.
The top-seeded Federer cruised past the 23rd-seeded Hyeon Chung in Thursday’s quarterfinal matchup in the 2018 BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California, winning 7-5, 6-1. He will face Borna Coric in the semifinals and look to extend his streak of perfection.
According to Christopher Clarey of the New York Times, the 20-time major champion was 15-0 in 2018 entering play Thursday, and 13 of those wins came in straight sets.
Clarey noted Federer is the oldest singles No. 1 in ATP history.
The Swiss star wasted little time seizing control, breaking Chung’s first service game. However, Chung broke back to make it 3-2 and hung tough in the first serve and had the opportunity to force a tiebreak.
That’s when Federer dialed up the intensity with beautifully placed returns and prevailed in the first set 7-5. It was a golden chance for Chung to create a situation when the first set and early momentum was completely up for grabs, but the dominant Federer once again elevated his play in the important moments.
The theme of Chung missing opportunities continued in the first game of the second set when he couldn’t deliver on a break chance despite a back-and-forth deuce situation.
Federer rubbed salt in the wound by breaking in the next game and never looked back, cruising to the victory.
According to the tournament’s official website, the victor finished with 12 aces and won 70 percent of his first-service points, leaving little doubt in the final set. He also saved five of the six break points Chung earned, keeping his opponent at bay whenever the outcome was hanging in the balance.
Federer was plenty familiar with Chung considering they met in the semifinal of the Australian Open, but the challenger had to retire with severe blisters. As a result, Federer prevailed 6-1, 5-2 although the all-time great was ready for a challenge Thursday.
“I think it will be a difficult match, honestly,” Federer said, per Clarey. “I’m expecting a tough one.”
That is exactly what he received, as Chung battled in the opening set and had momentum for extended stretches in the early going with the serve. Even though he couldn’t match the effort in the second set, it was a better match than he gave the 20-time major winner last time.
Federer now turns his attention to a showdown with Coric, who he beat in their only head-to-head matchup in straight sets. He dropped a mere three games in that match and will look to replicate his dominance in the next clash with a spot in the BNP Paribas Open final hanging in the balance.