Federer Matches Best Season Start, Retains Number One Ranking

Roger Federer equaled his best start to a season with a 7-5, 6-1 win over Hyeon Chung in the quarter-finals of the BNP Paribas Open on Thursday. The win also ensured that he will remain the world number one when the ATP men’s singles rankings are revised on Monday.

The 36-year-old moved to 16-0 for the 2018 season and the last time he went undefeated in his first 16 matches of the season was in 2006 when Federer was 24 years old.

Federer’s first tournament of 2018 was the Australian Open, which he went on to win defeating Marin Cilic in the final, and then followed it up with a win at the Rotterdam Open. He is now the favorite to pick up his third title of the season at the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells, California.

The world number one had to beat Chung in the quarter-finals in order to maintain his place at the top of the rankings and he did it in convincing fashion in the end after a tough opening set. The South Korean was more competitive this time around than their first meeting of the season at the Australian Open semi-finals when he had to retire midway through the second set after suffering blisters on his foot.

Roger Federer Federer retained his number one ranking with a win over Chung. In this picture, Roger Federer of Switzerland celebrates his win over Hyeon Chung of Korea during of the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden on March 15, 2018 in Indian Wells, California Photo: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Federer looked comfortable at the start of the first set and raced to a 3-0 lead, but Chung grew into the game with a break of his own to level at 3-3. After this, Federer had to wait until the 12th game to break the South Korean and take the opening set 7-5. The second set was a more one-sided affair with the Swiss ace winning six of the seven games to cruise into the last four at Indian Wells.

The top ranked men’s singles player will face 21-year-old Borna Coric in the semi-finals after the Croatian upset world number nine and 2017 US Open finalist Kevin Anderson 2-6, 6-4, 7-6(3) earlier on Thursday.

Federer, however, admitted that he is wary of the weather conditions as his semi-final clash will be held during the day session. Federer beat Coric in their only meeting thus far in 2015 when the latter was an 18-year-old and is hoping for a similar result when they meet on Saturday.

“I think it’s going to be a day session so depending on how much wind there is going to be I’m either going to be playing the wind or I’m going to be playing Borna,” Federer said after his win, as quoted by the Express.

“We will see what happens there. He is a very steady baseliner – similar to Chung. He is also young and these guys are the future of tennis.

“He is a great moved as well. He has all the confidence in the world right now so it is going to be tough,” the 20-time Grand Slam winner added. “I have played him once before and I did very well against him so something similar would be nice.”

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