Fish scales heights to take down Federer

Roger Federer, the world No 1, was stunned by unseeded American Mardy Fish after Rafael Nadal's Pacific Life Open title defence came to an abrupt halt in Saturday night's semi-finals.

Federer lost to an American player for the first time in 42 matches when he was crushed 6-3, 6-2 by Fish in a match lasting just over an hour at Indian Wells Tennis Garden.

Fish, who had never beaten Federer in five previous meetings, outplayed the Swiss on a sun-drenched afternoon to book a place in last night's final against third-seeded Serb Novak Djokovic.

The Australian Open champion, Djokovic, swept aside second-seeded Spaniard Nadal 6-3, 6-2 in an earlier match on the showpiece Stadium Court.

"It feels pretty good," Fish, 26, said after an aggressive display featuring 28 winners and seven aces. "I couldn't have dreamed up a better scenario than that. This wasn't obviously Roger's best day, but hopefully I had a little something to do with that. I tried to beat Roger with pace today, up the line and crosscourt. It seems to be working."

Ranked 98th in the world, Fish set the tone for the biggest win of his career by breaking Federer in the second game before sweeping through the opening set in 34 minutes.

With Federer strangely out of sorts and Fish in prime form, the American again broke in the first and fifth games of the second set before serving out to secure victory in the eighth.

"I have a great record against him and I have always controlled matches against him," Federer, 26, said. "Today was different, a tough result. He came up playing very, very well. He took everything on the rise and hit winners. I just couldn't get to his second serve and that was the disappointing part of today.

"I could have served better, sure. I could have returned better, sure. But the guy was on top of his game. He took his chances and it was over in a heartbeat. He played great. I can only congratulate him. Fantastic."

Earlier, Djokovic, 20, broke Nadal twice in each set to secure victory in one hour 28 minutes. In a repeat of last year's final, left-hander Nadal broke in the third game of the opening set when Djokovic hit a forehand long but the Serb broke back to level at 2-2.

Djokovic also broke in the eighth game with a favourable net cord bounce to lead 5-3 before holding serve to wrap up the first set in 41 minutes. Djokovic grabbed the initiative in the second set by breaking in the fifth game when an ambitious forehand by the Spaniard flew wide.

A protracted seventh game featuring several rallies of high quality finally ended in another break by the Serb when Nadal netted a poor attempt at a drop shot to trail 5-2. Djokovic calmly served out to seal victory before raising his right arm skywards to pump the air in celebration.

"I played really well and tactically I played really smart," the 20-year-old Serb said. "I knew that I had to be aggressive, take control of the match and try to go for the shots, which I did." Nadal beat Djokovic 6-2, 7-5 in last year's final.

"If you play against a player like Novak, you have to be at 100 per cent if you want to have chances to win," Nadal said. "The truth is he played better than me today. It's difficult to say more things."

Results, Digest, page 41

Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

Italy vs England player ratings

Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

An underdog's tale of making the most of it

Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat