(MENAFN - Kora) The Swiss world number eight cruised past Alexandr Dolgopolov 6-3 6-1 on Saturday, adding the Ukrainian's scalp to those of Kevin Anderson, Tommy Haas, Dmitry Tursunov and Paul-Henri Mathieu at Indian Wells
The semi-final victory over Dolgopolov means Federer will face world number two Novak Djokovic in the final of the ATP 1000 event in California in a rematch of their semi-final in Dubai in February
While Federer won the Dubai Tennis Championships, the 32-year-old had not expected to do so well in the US
"I think the results are better than I thought they would be... so that's very encouraging and super positive, really," Federer said on Saturday
"Now it's just a matter of keeping that up, taking the right decisions not to overplay, not to underplay, and enjoy yourself... because at the end of the day, it's also very important
"But having the fire and wanting to win every single match you go out there and in the practice trying to improve as much as you can, I think I've got the good balance right now, so it's very encouraging.
Djokovic qualified for the final with a much tighter victory over John Isner, winning 7-5 6-7 (2-7) 6-1 over the American
Federer believes the 26-year-old Serbian will throw everything at him in Sunday's final
"I think he's fresh and eager to really try and win this because he hasn't played many tournaments yet this season," Federer said
"I think he really wants it and that's going to be a challenge for me to accept that and fight that with good play myself.
Djokovic was unhappy with how he failed to close out the match at 5-4 and 6-5 in the second set against Isner, but was thrilled with how he responded in the third
"I thought I returned really well today and allowed myself to have a bunch of opportunities on his service games. Then twice I had chance to finish it out and I played two bad games and he played an incredible tiebreaker. And when you get to the tiebreaker with John Isner, whoever you are, you're not a favourite," Djokovic said with a wry smile
"I just tried to hang in there, stay mentally tough when I lost the second set, and played a great third.