INDIAN WELLS, March 19- World No. 2 Roger Federer will face reigning Australia Open champion Novak Djokovic in the Indian Wells semi-finals with the world No. 2 ranking on the line.
Three-time former winner Federer defeated his Swiss compatriot and doubles partner Stanislas Wawrinka 6-3, 6-4 to reach the round of four at the ATP Masters 1000 event, where he will face red-hot Serbian Djokovic, who beat Richard Gasquet of France 6-2, 6-4 on Friday.
"I have had a wonderful hardcourt swing," Federer said. "I had a good start to the year, a good six months. I am excited, pretty healthy and really motivated."
Federer set up match point with a thundering forehand down the line then clinched the win when Wawrinka punched a backhand wide, ending the 64-minute match on center court.
The Swiss pair are also teaming up in the doubles draw. No sooner had they finished their singles match then they had to get ready to return to the main stadium court, where they beat Spaniards Rafael Nadal and Marc Lopez 7-5, 6-3 in the first match of the night session.
In their only previous meeting this year, Federer crushed Wawrinka in the quarter-finals of the Australian Open 6-1, 6-3, 6-3. He eventually lost to Djokovic in three sets in the semis and Djokovic went on to win the Aussie Open title.
Federer said after two matches on Friday he’s ready to face Djokovic in what will be their third contest in the past three months.
"I won’t be just chipping in the ball," Federer said. "I will go after it. You have to take it to Novak and I am sure he will do the same to me."
Federer’s win not only sets up his first semi-final match against third seeded Djokovic since the Australian Open but the outcome will determine who stands higher in the rankings. Federer has a 13-8 career record against Djokovic.
World No. 3 Djokovic has been blitzing his opponents the last few months and is currently on an 18-match win streak dating back to last year’s Davis Cup final.
Federer said winning matters the most to him and the ranking is just an added bonus.
"If you are playing a fellow top five guy I don’t care what is on the line. I just want to beat him," Federer said.
Djokovic, 23, is the hottest player on the ATP Tour this year. Besides winning the Australian Open, Djokovic captured his 20th career singles title in Dubai.
"This has been the best period of tennis in my career over the past three months," Djokovic said. "I have reached another semi-final. I want to maintain this level of performance."
Djokovic, who won the title here three years ago, clinched the victory Friday when Gasquet pounded a pair of forehands into the net on the final two points of the match.
"The serve is one of my big weapons but I couldn’t get any points with it," Gasquet said. "He (Djokovic) is always on the ball and never missing."
Djokovic has now lost just 12 games in Indian Wells as he continues his impressive season.
Djokovic cruised through the first set in just 44 minutes, breaking Gasquet’s serve three times.
Djokovic, who reached the quarter-finals or better in all four Grand Slams last year, finished with two aces and won 84 percent of his first-serve points in the 95-minute match.