Alleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeez! JesusFed is back baby! With his 7-6(7), 6-3 victory over Isner in the Indian Wells final Roger once again enters the record books. He becomes the first man to win Indian Wells four times after he was tied with Connors and Chang on three titles each. After winning the title three straight times from 2004-2006, Roger didn’t pass the semis for the next five years. It has become a pretty tough event for him the last few years, especially with surfaces slowing down. But how impressive was this week from Roger?! He started the event with the flu and battled through both Raonic and Bellucci in three sets. He then had a much needed day off before coming back with bang and defeating Del Potro, Nadal, and Isner all in straight sets.
To come through such a tough draw with the illness on top of it is some feat at age 30. The Federer legend keeps growing. I was impressed with how Roger came back after his losses to Nadal and Isner by winning Rotterdam and Dubai, but I knew Indian Wells would be a different animal. It is just much slower conditions than Rotterdam and Dubai. To win it Roger would have probably had to go through Nadal and Djokovic on a surface that suits them both to the T. He did not have to face Djokovic in the end, but he did have to face Nadal. Isner was highly impressive in this tournament though, and it was fitting that Roger played against him after the Davic Cup loss. In the end I didn’t catch the rerun of the final, but I saw what I needed to see in the highlights.
I only caught the first few games where I saw that the wind was quite strong. And again Roger seemed to handle it very well with accurate hitting. Roger was holding serve easily in the first set, not facing any break points that I know of and holding to love on at least three occasions. In the tie break it was still close and at 7-7 Roger hit a backhand lob with Isner at the net that looked like a mishit. Isner let it go and it dropped on the base line. Call it what you like, but Roger is just an unstoppable force when in this kind of form. In the second set he broke Isner in the seventh game, and impressively did so again at 5-3 to win the title. Roger ended up out-acing Isner 7-4, like he often does with the big servers, and won 94% of his first serve points.
He also converted 2/3 break points. It was another Jesusfed performance. Isner is a very uncomfortable opponent but proved to be no match for the GOAT. This was Roger’s 73rd title and it ties him once again with Nadal at 19 Masters Series titles. It also means he has won 6 of the last 8 events he played and he has won 39 of his last 41 matches. After Djokovic lost in the semis you have to say Roger is now the hottest player on tour. Pretty amazing for a 30-year old. Roger is now only 825 points behind Nadal in the rankings. The gap is closing and Nadal has a final to defend in Miami, while Roger has a semi to defend and could possibly win the title. The Miami draw also came out today and Roger’s draw looks better than in Indian Wells.
Although he gets Harrison in the second round, I don’t see him giving Roger much problems when he is in this form. Then he has his soon to be ostrich(20+ difference in head-to-head) Roddick. In the fourth round it looks like Monfils, and in the quarters it could be any one of Fish, Anderson, and Almagro. This time Roger is in Djokovic’s half. Djokovic doesn’t quite look like the player he was last year to me. He is still very good but there is something subtle missing from his game. With the form Roger is in he could take advantage of that. If Roger makes the final he will probably face Nadal or Murray, and he has now beaten both of them recently. If Roger wins the Indian Wells/Miami double at this age it would be something very special, but I don’t have any expectations really.
Winning Indian Wells is much more than I expected, but at the same time I want Roger to continue this roll he is on. Making semis only would almost be a disappointment with the rich vein of form he is in. Having said that, Miami hasn’t been the happiest hunting ground for Roger historically. He managed to win the event only twice, and I judt feel like the conditions doesn’t suit him quite as well. I think Murray could have a good run here after his second round loss in Indian Wells. He could take out Nadal and make the final. Anyway I just love that Roger is playing so well and that he has a real chance of winning Miami. It just makes the event that much more exciting to watch. Stay tuned, I plan a a post reviewing Indian Wells. I have a lot more to say…
But for now I hope you are still enjoying this awesome title!
Prize Giving Ceremony: