AmericaÈs No1 player, Jack Sock is now the wild cardÈ in the semi-finals of the Indian Wells Master after bludgeoning his way past the fourth seed Kei Nishikori in the last of the quarter-final matches to reach the last four of a Masters event for the first time.
The trend of tennis now, is a guy who is playing well at any ranking can give any guy trouble
He used his kick-serves to great effect to get past a rather bemused Nishikori 6-3 2-6 6-2 and also record his first win over a top-five player and will now have to bring his AÈ game when he faces Roger Federer next.
Federer, who Sock rates as the best player everÈ, received a walk-over into the semis when Nick Kyrgios pulled out ill with possible food poisoning.
"In my opinion he’s the best to ever play. It will definitely be a challenge," Sock said after his victory.
However he believes that he himself is now a much improved player and is looking forward to testing himself against the great Swiss.
"The trend of tennis now, is a guy who is playing well at any ranking can give any guy trouble," Sock added. "When I played him here last and I played him in Basel a couple years ago I don’t think I went on the court giving myself a ton of chances of winning. I think that’s changed, for sure.
"Obviously, he’s playing incredible tennis not only this year but this week," the American world ranked 18, continued. "But on the flip side of that, I am playing confident tennis as well myself. And I think if I go out there and play the right tennis and play the right strategy, I think I can give myself a shot, for sure."
"I don’t think I played good enough to beat Jack today," Nishikori said. "I think there were too many unforced errors and I wasn’t playing aggressive enough to get more chances."
The fans had been denied a block-buster of a match when Kyrgios, who had beaten Novak Djokovic in the previous round, pulled out.
"Unfortunately I am unable to play today due to sickness," the Australian said in a statement. "At this stage we think it’s food poisoning, and I’m praying it’s nothing more.
"After a restless night of being sick I have nothing left and to play a great champion like Roger, I need to be at my best to have a chance.
"I don’t take this decision lightly, these are the matches we train for but I’m in no fit state to take to the court. I’m sorry to the fans but I have to put my health first and I hope you understand.
"I want to wish Roger the best of luck for the rest of the tournament and thank everyone for their support so far here at the BNP Paribas Open. I will definitely be back. Thank you."
Federer, who defeated great rival Rafael Nadal in the previous round, posted on Twitter: "Hope you feel better @NickKyrgios."