INDIAN WELLS, United States (AFP) - Four-time champion Roger Federer marched into the final of the Indian Wells ATP Masters on Saturday with a masterful 6-3, 6-1 victory over Alexandr Dolgopolov.
Federer, the 17-time Grand Slam champion who is seeded seventh here this year, dominated the 31st-ranked Dolgopolov, thwarting the Ukrainian's bid to become just the sixth player to beat both Rafael Nadal and Federer in the same tournament.
Federer put 72 per cent of his first serves in play and did not face break point in an efficient display before an adoring crowd at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden's stadium court.
"It was one of my best serving days ever," he said. "When you are serving like that, everything seems easier. I was just going for it out there."
The Swiss great will play the winner of the second semi-final between world number two and second seed Novak Djokovic and 12th-seeded American John Isner.
That is a rematch of a 2012 semi-final, in which Isner defeated Djokovic before falling to Federer in the final.
Federer seemed untroubled by the breezy conditions, and once he had gained the first service break of the match, for a 5-3 lead in the first set, he was hardly troubled by Dolgopolov.
"I had to adjust a lot," Federer said of the gusty winds. "But I was able to figure it out.
"I served well when I had to, it was a great match for me, a big win."
He broke the Ukrainian in the opening game of the second set, and held at love with one of his seven aces on game point for a 2-0 lead.
Dolgopolov fought mightily to keep Federer at bay in the fifth game, saving four break points and giving himself four chances to win it before Federer finally broke again when Dolgopolov's lunging forehand sailed long.
"I felt perfect on the court, actually," said Dolgopolov, who dispatched top seed and defending champion Nadal in the third round. "I was ready physically, mentally. I wasn't nervous much, but I wasn't sharp enough."
By reaching the semi-finals, Federer was assured of returning to the top five in the world rankings for the first time since September of 2013.
A fifth title to go with those he captured in 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2012 would see him rise to number four in the world.