Roger Federer continued his stunning start to the year with a comfortable straight sets win over Stanislas Wawrinka to win the Indian Wells final 6-4 7-5. He is now 12-1 on the year with his sole loss coming to Evgeny Donskoy in Dubai.
A three hour WTA final earlier suggested we could be in for a long day with these two but it didn’t play out that way with the pair whizzing through the match with quick holds in the opening set. Federer continued to look dominant on serve in the first set, serving 75% and dropping just 4 points on serve after all. Wawrinka was similarly strong on serve but his second serve was often punished. A mini chance at 4-4 30-30 wasn’t taken by Wawrinka and he would have to serve to stay in the set. Federer found himself with break point at 30-40, defending expertly and eventually forcing the forehand error long to take the set.
With Federer having won 42 straight service games and serving to begin the second, it seemed logical that he would have a major advantage and would hope to spring late in the set on a Wawrinka service game as scoreboard pressure looming. It didn’t quite exactly happen like that as Wawrinka found himself with 0-40 on the Federer serve, breaking the ninth seed for the first time in the tournament after he hit a backhand long. That lead didn’t last long with Federer equalling the set at 2 games apiece with a forehand pass that left Wawrinka unable to do anything. Scoreboard pressure eventually told at 5-6 after Wawrinka blew game point. Up match point, Federer eventually drew Wawrinka wide and he was nowhere for the oncoming volley putaway to seal the match and the title.
“The fairytale of the comeback that I have already shown in Australia. I’m not as surprised as I was in Australia, but still this comes as a big, big surprise to me, nevertheless, to win here again and beating the players that I did and the way I did.” said Federer.
Thanks to winning the two biggest tournaments of the year to date, Federer has taken a lengthy lead early on in the year to date rankings. His 1410 point lead over Nadal will be unlikely to extended with it looking like he may not play Miami. However, the two expected to duke it out come year end – Murray and Djokovic – are both going to be absent from the tournament and are already both over 2000 points behind. While he has an early advantage, results over the clay season will start to give a much clearer picture.
2017 ATP Race Rankings
1. Roger Federer 3045
2. Rafael Nadal 1635
3. Stan Wawrinka 1410
4. Grigor Dimitrov 1355
5. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 1255
(10. Andy Murray 840)
(18. Novak Djokovic 475)