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Federer Cruises Into Last Four At Indian Wells

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Three-times champion Roger Federer eased imperiously into the semi-finals of the Indian Wells ATP tournament with a ruthless 6-3 6-2 victory over Juan Martin Del Potro on Friday.

The Swiss world number three broke his big-serving opponent once in the opening set and twice in the second to wrap up the win in just over an hour at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.

Federer, who powered down 13 aces in a one-sided match, completed his fifth successive straight-sets victory over the ninth-seeded Argentinian when his opponent netted a forehand service return.

"This was for me a really good match against a great player," the 16-times grand slam champion told reporters after beating Del Potro for the fourth time this season.

"I'm happy I was happy to maintain the great streak I've got going against him this year. He's a top-10 player, a very dangerous player.

"I sort of expected myself to come out and play a good match today after the struggle I had against (Thomaz) Bellucci," said the Swiss, referring to his 3-6 6-3 6-4 win over the Brazilian in the previous round.

Federer will face either second seed Rafa Nadal of Spain or Argentina's David Nalbandian in Saturday's semi-finals. Nadal and Nalbandian were scheduled to play later on Friday.

Serbian world number one Novak Djokovic and 11th-seeded American John Isner advanced from their quarter-finals on Thursday.

In an opening game that lasted 11 minutes and involved heated controversy after the Hawkeye ball tracking system failed to work after a challenge by Del Potro, Federer finally held serve after saving two break points.

On the sixth deuce of that game, a Federer first serve was ruled in even though the Swiss had then appeared to prepare for a second serve.

When Del Potro's challenge came to nothing, the disgruntled ninth seed was overruled after arguing with the chair umpire while motioning with his fingers that the ball had bounced at least four inches wide.

"There was a problem with that call," Del Potro said. "It was clear out and the machine doesn't work. The chair umpire told me he made a mistake.

"After that, I was not concentrating in the match and Roger was playing better, take all his opportunities. I don't feel comfortable playing the match, but that was my problem. Roger made his job, and he's a good winner."

Federer, who won three consecutive titles at Indian Wells from 2004-06, held on the next point when his opponent's backhand service return sailed wide.

The 30-year-old Swiss broke Del Potro in the next game with a forehand volley winner at the net, after drawing the Argentinian forward with a delicate forehand drop shot, to lead 2-0.

The next six games went with serve before Federer held in the ninth, clinching the opening set in 37 minutes when Del Potro dumped a forehand service return into the net.

The Argentinian was again broken in the first game of the second set, when Federer unleashed a crunching forehand crosscourt winner, and also in the fifth following another forehand winner by the Swiss.

Oozing confidence, Federer served out to book his place in the last four, saving one break point in the eighth game before sealing victory on his third match point when Del Potro netted his service return.

Federer, who had battled flu and a temperature to beat his first three opponents at Indian Wells, has won 37 of his 39 matches since last year's U.S. Open.