Roger Federer defeated Hubert Hurkacz 6-4, 6-4 Saturday (AEDt) to reach the semifinals of the BNP Paribas Open in pursuit of a record sixth title.
Federer hasn’t dropped a set in four matches in the desert and has been broken just once.
He fought off two break points in the second set, including the last game when he closed the match with a forehand winner off a short ball. Rafael Nadal faces Karen Khachanov later for the chance to play Federer for the 39th time in their storied careers.
Milos Raonic and Dominic Thiem already advanced to the other semifinal. Hurkacz, a 22-year-old Pole, earned three-set upsets of No. 28 Lucas Pouille, No. 6 Kei Nishikori and No. 24 Denis Shapovalov to make his first ATP Masters 1000 quarterfinal against his childhood idol. Federer was playing in his 83rd at this level.
Federer won his 100th career title in Dubai recently, leaving him eight from tying Jimmy Connors’ record for most in the Open era. At 37, he became the oldest player to win a tour-level title since Marty Riessen won at Lafayette, Louisiana, in 1979 at the same age.
Federer earned the only break of the first set in the fifth game. Trailing 3-2 in the second set, Hurkacz had a break point, but Federer closed the game with consecutive forehand winners and an ace.
Hurkacz aced Federer to trail 5-4. Federer netted back-to-back volleys to give Hurkacz hope and another break point. But he came up with a big serve to get to deuce. Hurkacz’s backhand down the line just missed to give Federer match point, and the Swiss superstar won with a forehand.
In the women’s semifinals, Canadian teenager Bianca Andreescu plays No. 6 Elina Svitolina and No. 8 Angelique Kerber takes on No. 23 Belinda Bencic.