( dpa )- Tennis longshot Mardy Fish will make a run at the third title of his career with a Sunday final against Novak Djokovic less than 24 hours after stunning Roger Federer at the Indian Wells Masters.
The 6-3, 6-2 Saturday upset by the No. 98 continued an unbelievable tennis dream for the 26-year-old Cinderella whose work ethic has often been considered suspect.
"He played great today, I can only congratulate him," said Federer, 8-3 this season after losing back-to-back to Djokovic in Australia and Andy Murray in Dubai.
"The danger of best-of-three matches is it can be over in no time. Today it felt like a practise match.
"He was just trying to go for everything and it worked. I didn't even play particularly bad on the break points, but every time he read the right side on the serve and he kept the ball in play.
"When he wanted to attack, everything worked. He would never miss. So that was just impressive by his side, and I couldn't do much to control it."
Despite once rising into the Top 20, Fish has laboured on the edges of the game, coming into the contest with Federer standing 0-5 and winning one set out of a dozen.
Third seed Djokovic dethroned off-the-boil holder Rafael Nadal 6-3, 6-2 in a replay of last year's final.
Djokovic now stands 16-3 on the season while Nadal suffered his fifth loss in 2008 and is still without a title.
"I had very tough matches in the earlier rounds, very tight matches," said Nadal, who revealed he was treated for an ingrown toenail at the start of the second set.
"You have to be 100 per cent. He played better and I could not do a thing. That's it."
Djokovic, the Australian Open champion, was pleased with his effort. "Tactically wise I played really smart," said the Serb.
"I knew I had to be aggressive and take the control, try to go for the shots, which I did.
"I really need to be consistent with my results in the most important events, major events. I started the year in the best possible way, but still, it's not over yet.
"I need to play finals."
Journeyman Fish has gone to the well repeatedly in the desert this week, claiming Federer as his third Top Ten victim of the week event after number four Nikolay Davydenko and seventh-ranked David Nalbandian.
"I could not have dreamed up a better scenario that this," said Fish, who won his only two titles in 2003 and 2006. "Roger may not have been at his best today, but I played well."
Federer was last beaten by a player in such a low ranking range when he lost to Richard Gasquet (number 101) at Monte Carlo three years ago.
Federer was playing his first event since making a full recovery from mononucleosis virus.
The Swiss, Indian Wells champion from 2004-2006, had beaten his last 41 American opponents dating to 2003 including four previous wins over Fish during the streak.
Federer was plagued by 26 unforced errors while Fish struck 25 winners.