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Djokovic, Federer advance to Indian Wells final

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    Roger Federer
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INDIAN WELLS, Calif. >> Novak Djokovic defeated Andy Murray 6-2, 6-3 to reach the final of the BNP Paribas Open on Saturday, handing Murray his worst hard-court loss against the world’s top-ranked player since 2007.

Djokovic will play for his fourth career title in the desert in Sunday’s final against four-time champion Roger Federer, who beat sixth-seeded Milos Raonic 7-5, 6-4 in the other semifinal.

“I had a phenomenal start of the season, and hopefully I can do my best tomorrow and maybe get another trophy,” Djokovic said.

It will be the 38th career meeting between Djokovic and second-ranked Federer, who has won three of their last four meetings.

Djokovic and Murray were playing for the first time since the Serb beat Murray in four sets for the Australian Open title in January.

Murray’s serve let him down, getting broken four times in losing for the sixth straight time to Djokovic, who connected on 56 percent of his first serves.

“I tried to go for a few more serves today and to try to get a few more free points, but serving 50 percent or just below is not good enough against the best players,” Murray said. “I thought I actually hit my second serve better than I did in Australia today, but first serve percentage was too low.”

Murray hadn’t lost to Djokovic so badly since a 6-1, 6-0 drubbing on hard courts in Miami eight years ago. He had 29 unforced errors and just seven winners Saturday.

“I thought I played solid, with the right intensity from the beginning,” Djokovic said. “Good first serve percentage. Got some free points there in the important moments. Just overall it was a good performance.”

Murray had two break points on the Serb’s serve trailing 3-1 in the second set. But he couldn’t convert, and Djokovic hit a cross-court forehand winner to lead 4-1.

“Novak didn’t give me any free points at the beginning of either of the sets, and I made a few too many errors early on,” Murray said. “In the end of both sets, middle of both sets, I started to play a bit better and made it tougher and was able to push him a bit, but not enough at the beginning of the sets to make it challenging enough for him.”

Djokovic had triple match point on his serve when he lost three straight points, including a double fault, before Murray netted a backhand to end the match. The Serb dropped just one service game in the 1 1/2-hour match.

“He hasn’t played close to his highest level,” Djokovic said. “Made a lot of unforced errors, especially from the forehand side. Low percentage of first serves in. That allowed me to obviously step in and be aggressive.”

Djokovic reached the semifinals after a walkover when Bernard Tomic withdrew because of a back injury.

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