Giving tennis more than a shot

Indian Wells – Record Title For Roger Federer (Twice)

It was not the final that, at the beginning of the tournament, most thought we would see. Throughout the last nearly two weeks, the BNP Paribas Open provided us with many surprises, two of which came in the semi-finals. This gave us the unexpected final I was writing about yesterday and again today, as a preview to the final to which we were treated.

 

Photo: Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

To be honest, the 7-6(7) 6-3 win of Roger Federer over John Isner was not the most exciting one I’ve seen. During the whole match, except at the beginning of the first set and during the tiebreak, the match lacked rhythm, as both players were holding serve pretty easily and quickly and the long rallies were quite scarce.

 

However, it was a great service day for Federer, especially, as the Swiss lost only nine points on his serve for the whole match, and just one during the second set. He outaced John Isner 7 to 4, even though the American had a better first serve percentage (73% vs 63% for Federer).

 

Photo: REUTERS/ Mike Blake

Then again, this ease with which both players held serve for most of the match made it lacking rhythm a little (although it did not lack speed, as the match was only 1:21 long), but this just meant that both were serving with great efficiency. Still, when there were rallies, we could see both the majesty of Federer and the improvements of Isner, as they were both quite on top of their game, particularly in the first set.

 

Like most people who watched the match, the best part of it was, without a doubt, the first set tiebreak, as it appeared that the errors neither made during the actual service games, they made then. It then gave us a tiebreak with many twists and turns, Isner quickly taking the advantage but losing it the next point, Federer double faulting away a mini-break, and then shanking a backhand on set point. Finally, after long minutes of pure tennistical comedy, Roger Federer capitalized on his third set point (Isner had saved one – with an ace – in the last game of the set) with a fantastic serve, taking it 9-7.

 

Photo: Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

The second set started as tightly as the first, but at some point, it appeared that John Isner was starting to feel the last 24 hours, which showed when he dropped serve (rather easily) in the seventh game. Things then unravelled with good speed as Roger Federer consolidated his break and ended up breaking on his first match point to win his third title of the season.

 

For the Swiss mæstro, it was not only a third title this season so far (he’s tied with David Ferrer at this level), it was also a record fourth Indian Wells crown, as well as a record-tying 19th Masters 1000 shield. Both he and Rafael Nadal are thus sharing the record and this will also make the next few months, and seasons, even more interesting. One title, two records for Federer. Not bad!

 

As for John Isner, his run, as mentioned many times since yesterday, will make him enter the top 10 for the first time and it was a breakthrough in bigger tournaments (much more than his Paris quarter-final), a tournament in which he showed that there was game beyond the serve. We can only hope he continues this way.

 

Photo: Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

 

No solace for Big John

Shortly after, John Isner, along with Sam Querrey, took part in the doubles finals. Facing the 2010 champions, Marc López and Rafael Nadal, we expected a very tight match. However, it did not start that way, as Sam Querrey, starting slowly, promply gave up his serve, then another time in the set, which the Spaniards took 6-2.

 

A quick break in the second set (again on Querrey’s serve) led me to think that this would quickly be over. But it was without counting on the grit of the American team, as they broke back in the middle of the set. Both teams then held to force a tiebreak, in which the Spaniards took a control they never relented, sealing the team’s fourth title in as many finals, 6-2 7-6(3).

 

No solace for John Isner, although he did play two quite good matches despite the scorelines.

 

Photo: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

 

Bring on the Sony Ericsson Open

This quite wraps it up for Indian Wells. Tomorrow starts the Sony Ericsson Open, in Miami, with the first round of qualifications for both men and women. There will be no TV coverage until Saturday, which means that we will miss out, again, on all round 1 action and half of the second round as well.

 

Again, it’s absolutely appalling that Masters 1000 are not broadcasted from day 1 of main draw action.

 

The main draw will be made tomorrow and I will, of course, bring you my analysis over the next two days.

 

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