The comeback king reigns supreme as Roger Federer defeated Stan Wawrinka 6-4 7-5 to win his fifth Indian Wells title and continue his spectacular start to the year by collecting his first Masters 1000 trophy since Cincinnati 2015.
As usual, the victory brings up more milestones than you can shake a stick at: 90th tour-level title, 25th Masters 1000 title, oldest ever Masters 1000 Champion since Agassi in 2004, his best start to a season since 2006 and now Number 1 in the Race to London. Not bad for a 35-year-old ey!
Quick Match Recap
Federer won the toss and elected to serve. He kicked things off with a hold to 15 before pushing Stan to 30 in his opening service game.
Another quick hold followed, and both men began to roll on serve. Stan was made to work the harder of the two, but in game nine he had his first 30 all of the set; he couldn't get a look at a break point though and soon found himself serving to stay in the set. There at 30-15 the US Open champs unreturnable first serve was wrongly called out, but he didn't challenge. Roger won the point and then broke to take the set after a lengthy rally.
With the set in the bag, Federer dropped serve for the first time this week in the opening game of the second. Stan then saved two break points with some crisp hitting to consolidate for 2-0.
Roger followed with a hold to 15 with yet more stylish play. Stan then found himself in trouble down 15-40 and Roger broke back with a brilliant defensive backhand slice.
The set continued to go on serve thereafter, but it wasn't plain sailing for either player. Federer, in particular, couldn't land his first serve with any consistency and had to dig himself out of several 30 all games. However, he managed to keep holding and moved up 6-5, finally turning the screw at 30-40 to win three consecutive points and bag his fifth Indian Wells crown.
|Stan Wawrinka||Roger Federer|
|First Serve Percent||61% (44/72)||63% (36/67)|
|1st Serve Points Won||70% (31/44)||78% (28/36)|
|2nd Serve Points Won||39% (11/28)||67% (14/21)|
|Break Points Saved||40% (2/5)||67% (2/3)|
|Service Games Played||11||11|
|1st Serve Return Points Won||22% (8/36)||30% (13/44)|
|2nd Serve Return Points Won||33% (7/21)||61% (17/28)|
|Break Points Converted||33% (1/3)||60% (3/5)|
|Return Games Played||11||11|
|Total Service Points Won||58% (42/72)||74% (42/57)|
|Total Return Points Won||26% (15/57)||42% (30/72)|
|Total Points Won||44% (57/129)||56% (72/129)|
Thoughts on the Match
2017 just gets better and better if you're a Fed fan huh? First, an eighteenth Grand Slam Title basically out of nowhere and now the first Masters 1000 of the year in his back pocket as well.
After landing the toughest draw imaginable, he's managed to win the title without dropping a set and lost his serve just once in 5 matches.
Regarding today he was the worthy winner and played yet another high-quality match. Both guys knew they'd have to be the aggressor to come out on top, but it was Roger who took Stan out of his comfort zone, continually putting him in awkward spots on the court and forcing him to go for too much.
Roger's topspin backhand has been the most talked about shot in tennis of late, but it was his slice and defensive work that helped today as he soaked up Stanimal's power-hitting. He was able to mix up his game peRFectly to prevent Stan from finding much rhythm from the baseline. Just a great mix up with pace on serve and the groundstrokes to unsettle Wawrinka.
As for Stan, it's been a good week as well. I think most people thought the surface should suit Stan, me included, but he seems to struggle with the bounce. Often hitting long and I guess his results in Indian Wells over the years reflect that. So to make the final and win some tough three setters is impressive. He said in his runners up speech he was tired and got quite emotional but he heads over to Key Biscayne as the top seed and should fancy his chances.
And that's where Fed is heading too. No Djokovic, no Murray. Time for the Sunshine Double? Unlikely but you can't rule it out!