Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka will renew their rivalry during Sunday's BNP Paribas Open final at Indian Wells in the tournament's first all-countrymen final since 2001 when Americans Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras competed for the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title.
Federer has so far been in unstoppable form, and has yet to drop a set at the tournament; he won the quarter-final by walkover after his opponent, Nick Kyrgios, retired with a sudden bout of food poisoning.
"I figured out what changes I needed to make, executed well on my service games and had a few looks on his serve in some games", Sock said about the second set.
A remarkable 10-minute game followed that featured five break points, Wawrinka seizing upon the last of them to forge a lead that he did not relinquish. Williams, 35, won the Australian Open (her 23rd Grand Slam singles title) in January without dropping a set, but she has yet to play another match, citing knee problems as she withdrew from Indian Wells and Miami.
"It got tight at the end because Kristina started to play so free", said Vesnina, who defeated American Venus Williams 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 in the last eight. "I mean, I'm the last guy complaining, because I'm moving on, but overall it's a tricky situation".
"I feel like I'm playing some great tennis right now".
Federer relied on his second serve to get to the tiebreaker. In recent times, I thought we played a lot of close matches, and he was also able to dominate me over a set or two.
"I think the six months off previous year was really hard", Federer said.
"Roger is Roger, the greatest player of all time", Wawrinka, against whom Federer owns a 19-3 record (14-0 on hard courts), said. The second set was more like what I expected the first set to be, to be quite honest, before the match.
But Federer's Australian Open title this year, his 18 Major, was preceded by a very taxing semi-final against Wawrinka, who repeatedly shifted the momentum of the match in his own favour throughout. "These are the matches we train for, but I'm in no fit state to take the court". He withstood the booming serves of Steve Johnson to win two tiebreakers in their third-round match and he defeated longtime rival Rafael Nadal in the fourth round in straight sets. But Wawrinka's mental toughness can never be underestimated, as both Djokovic and Nadal have found out in grand slam finals.