A bout of flu, heavy winds, rain breaks and even John Isner’s big serve couldnt stop Roger Federer at Indian Wells.The Swiss lifted his 3rd straight title, his 4th Indian Wells Crown, 19th Masters Series title, 73rd career title and his 37th win out of his last 39 matches. A man on form Federer certainly is, as he continues to defy the doubters about his age and quash and talk of retirement. Federer has been the number one player of the past 6 months and showed us that as well as his first strike tennis he can also hang with the best of them on the baseline and bide his time for an opportunity. Although The Top 4 only deal in Grandslams a return of 6 trophies from 7 events will give the Swiss a great boost.
Having won in Rotterdam and Dubai in February, Federer can finally lay claim to a title in which every member of the top 4 participated. At the start of the week, he looked slightly under the weather yet was able to come through against Denis Kudla. The Swiss complained of the slow courts in the Indian Wells desert, which in the past have taken some of the zipp from Federer’s shots. However in the blue riband match of the 3rd round, Federer showed up and coming Milos Raonic just the level that he would have to play if he is to break into the upper echelons of the mens game. Having dropped the first set in a tiebreak Federer comfortably took the next two. Against Bellucci it was a similar story as Roger came from behind to win in 3.
In the quarter finals, Roger played Juan Martin Del Potro and played incredible first hit tennis and forced the Giant Argentinian from his comfort area well into the tram lines, seemingly the illness had freed Roger up mentally and allowed him to go for his shots. In the semis, Roger faced a rematch with his greatest rival Rafael Nadal. I didnt give the Swiss a chance in the match however he played to the Majorcan’s backhand and served with extreme precision to win in two straight sets 6-3 6-4 ( despite the damp blustery conditions)
In the final, John Isner had successfully negotiated the draw and even beaten Novak Djokovic in the process, with his huge serve and victory over Federer in the Davis Cup in February surely he would have a great shot. Early on Isner had 3 break points in game 3 of the 1st, unlike his performance againsf Djokovic the Giant Greensboro Native got tight at key points and instead of ripping his groundstrokes he sliced back. And so fast forward to the tiebreak with several mini breaks traded, 7-7 and after a break rally Roger slices a ball short and brings the American to the net, Federer takes the ball less than cleanly on his backhand and it floats in just clipping the line. First set FED.
The second set followed a similar pattern with both players able to hold on serve pretty easily, until Roger pulled the lanky American into the net again and drove an inside out forehand past him. The next point he did the same thing but this time drove a backhand passing shot down the line. Break and effective match point Federer. The Swiss held serve and broke to win.
Congrats to John Isner, this week he has shown he can mix it with the best of them, and joins the Top 10 for the very first time. And as for Roger, hes shown that there is life in the old dog yet.