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ATP ANALYSIS: Federer powers his way towards 5th Indian Wells crown, beating Wawrinka in straights

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by Jovica Ilic

On March 20, Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka were involved in the second all-Swiss Masters 1000 final (they battled in 2014 Monte Carlo final as well) and Roger Federer claimed a 6-4 7-5 triumph in an hour and 80 minutes for his 25th Masters 1000 title, the first since Cincinnati 2015! Thus, Roger became the oldest winner of the tournament from this series at the age of 35 years 7 months and 12 days, passing Andre Agassi who was 34 when he lifted his last one in Cincinnati 2004.

That shocking loss to Evgeny Donskoy in Dubai didn't leave any trace on Roger what so ever, he won 5 matches in Indian Wells without a set lost to grab his 5th title here, the first since 2012 (he lost two finals to Novak in between), dropping serve only once in 48 games, in the final against Stan.

This was the 23rd meeting between Swiss stars and the 20th win for Roger, who came victorious in all 15 matches they've played on hard courts! It was a fast and enjoyable match, with short rallies and a lot of service winners.

They were neck and neck in the exchanges up to 4 shots but Roger made all the difference in those that were longer, with 34-19. Federer's second serve worked like a charm and Stan couldn't keep the pace once he was missing the first, winning only 39% of the points on the second serve, facing 5 break points and losing serve 3 times.

He managed to break Roger at the start of the second set but his lead was short-lived, and Federer was more composed in the closing stages of both sets, breaking Stan in the 10th game of the first and 12th game of the second set to bring the match home in style.

As we already said, it was a quick and fluid match, with deuces in just 3 games in the second set and lightning fast first part of the encounter, lasting just 29 minutes. 59% of the points was ended in 4 shots or less, with 40 service winners in total, and nothing could separate the rivals in that segment, winning 38 points each and having 22 (Stan) and 18 (Roger) unreturnable serves.

18-time Grand Slam champion had the advantage in the middle-range rallies that saw 5 to 8 strokes, winning 27 and losing 16, and in general, he was the better and more composed player from the field, keeping his shot selection well-balanced and tamed.

These 22 winners from Stan was his lifeline in this match, as his groundstrokes were far below required level to make any damage against a mighty rival. Roger finished the match with 20 winners from the field, 9 from his volley, and Stan stood on only 11 (8 from forehand side).

Interestingly, Stan's powerful backhand pretty much stayed in the locker room, as he hit only one winner from that wing, with 15 errors! Speaking of errors, Roger made 13 unforced mistakes, 8 from forehand and 5 from the backhand, while Wawrinka collected 18, 8 from forehand and backhand each.

Stan also had more forced errors, 13 to 10 and he also made 3 double faults compared to only 1 from Roger. Just like in the whole 2017 so far, Roger had no intention to play mind games with is rival or to wait for things on the court to develop in the certain direction, he was very aggressive on the return, taking the time out from Stan's shots and imposing his strokes early on to control the points.

As we can see in the pictures, his second serve position during the whole tournament was miles closer to the court compared to Stan, and that was the case in the final as well. Wawrinka opted to wait for returns far behind the baseline and that didn't give him the desired outcome, unable to move Federer from an ideal position or to take charge in the exchanges.

Also, without the help from his backhand, he couldn't expect the more positive result against the rival who had no major weaknesses in this match.
Roger settled into a nice rhythm from the very first shot, closing the opening game with 4 winners from the field.

Stan was also solid in his opener, he forced two errors from Federer and fired 2 service winners to make the result even at 1-1. 4-time champion found his initial stroke as well, hitting 3 service winners in each of his next two service games, and he started to push Wawrinka's second serve to the limits with some solid returns.

Nevertheless, Stan was in a safe zone once he landed the first serve in and he finally managed to do something more on return in game 9, but Roger held after 30-30 with two winners to move 5-4 up and force Stan to serve to stay in the set.

Wawrinka played his worst game since the start of the match in just about the most clinical moment, making 3 unforced errors to drop his serve, and the set was rounded-up with by far the longest point of the match, lasting 21 strokes.

The set was dotted with fast points, 21 out of the 52 ended with a service winner but Roger stood stronger in the longer points, taking 13 out of 17. Suddenly, Roger got broken at the start of the second set, for the first and only time during the tournament, as Wawrinka finally showed the full potential of his groundstrokes.

Stan cracked 3 forehand winners to take his first advantage in the match, but he had to dig deep to confirm the break in game 2. In the previous 11 games there were no deuces but now they played 3, and Stan fends off 2 break points to keep his serve intact, building a 2-0 lead after a service winner that sealed the game for him.

The second set brought a little bit longer points, not by much but at least the number of service winners decreased significantly, as they only hit 3 in the first 28 points, leaving groundstrokes to take charge. So far it was Stan's forehand that was the most dangerous shot of the set, but he still craved for his first backhand winner.

In game 4, Stan's groundstrokes betrayed him and Roger broke back with a forehand passing winner, leveling the score at 2-2. Federer was now on the same terms with his rival but he struggled to find the first serve, and that made him much more vulnerable than in the first part of the match.

Stan had 30-30 on return in games 5 and 7 but he failed to make the final push and earn break points, and it was the same scenario in game 11 when Roger got out of jail with two service winners to go 6-5 up, leaving Stan to serve to stay in the match.

He was 40-30 in front but made two unforced errors after that to give Roger a match point and Federer converted with a forehand winner to start a big celebration, for the first time at this level since the summer of 2015.

Point by point result and the number of shots in the rallies: I set: 1. Federer (1-0) : 15-0(5) 30-0(9) 40-0(3) 40-15(3) Game(3)
2.

Wawrinka (1-1) : 0-15(5) 15-15(8) 30-15(4) 30-30(1) 40-30(1) Game(2)
3. Federer (2-1) : 15-0(2) 30-0(4) 40-0(2) Game(1)
4. Wawrinka (2-2) : 15-0(6) 15-15(5) 30-15(2) 40-15(2) 40-30(5) Game(3)
5. Federer (3-2) : 15-0(2) 15-15(5) 30-15(2) 40-15(5) Game(2)
6.

Wawrinka (3-3) : 0-15(1) 15-15(2) 15-30(7) 30-30(1) 40-30(2) Game(1)
7. Federer (4-3) : 15-0(4) 30-0(2) 40-0(2) Game(7)
8. Wawrinka (4-4) : 15-0(2) 30-0(7) 40-0(4) Game(2)
9. Federer (5-4) : 15-0(4) 15-15(3) 30-15(2) 30-30(3) 40-30(5) Game(2)
10.

Wawrinka (6-4) : 0-15(5) 15-15(1) 30-15(3) 30-30(6) 30-40(13) Break(21)
II set: 1. Federer (0-1) : 0-15(4) 0-30(6) 0-40(6) 15-40(8) 30-40(5) Break(5)
2. Wawrinka (0-2) : 15-0(3) 15-15(3) 30-15(4) 30-30(5) 40-30(2) Deuce(3) Adv.

Federer(2) Deuce(4) Adv. Federer(10) Deuce(4) Adv. Wawrinka(10) Game(2)
3. Federer (1-2) : 0-15(4) 15-15(7) 30-15(4) 40-15(1) Game(3)
4. Wawrinka (2-2) : 0-15(3) 0-30(5) 15-30(6) 15-40(7) Break(10)
5.

Federer (3-2) : 0-15(5) 15-15(6) 15-30(1) 30-30(2) 40-30(2) Game(4)
6. Wawrinka (3-3) : 0-15(9) 15-15(2) 30-15(2) 40-15(2) 40-30(5) Deuce(5) Adv. Wawrinka(1) Game(3)
7. Federer (4-3) : 0-15(3) 15-15(4) 30-15(5) 30-30(9) 40-30(6) Game(2)
8.

Wawrinka (4-4) : 15-0(4) 15-15(3) 30-15(2) 40-15(6) Game(5)
9. Federer (5-4) : 15-0(10) 30-0(2) 40-0(2) Game(5)
10. Wawrinka (5-5) : 15-0(2) 30-0(7) 40-0(1) 40-15(2) 40-30(1) Game(2)
11. Federer (6-5) : 15-0(5) 30-0(3) 30-15(5) 30-30(7) 40-30(2) Game(2)
12.

Wawrinka (7-5) : 15-0(2) 15-15(7) 30-15(6) 30-30(5) 40-30(12) Deuce(5) Adv. Federer(7) Break(8) Points won by the rallies length:

 Federer            Wawrinka   38      1-4   (76) 38  27      5-8   (43) 16 5       9-12  (8)  3 1       13-20 (1)  /  1       21+   (1)  /

Winners, forced and unforced errors by each shot:
 Federer                       Wawrinka  18        Service winners     22            20        Winners:            11 7         Forehand            8 2         Backhand            1 9         Volley              1 2         Smash               1  13        Unforced errors:    18 8         Forehand            8 5         Backhand            8           Volley              2           Smash  10        Forced errors:      13  6         Forehand            5 4         Backhand            7           Volley              1           Smash  1         Double faults       3
ALSO READ: ATP ANALYSIS: Federer dismiss Sock to advance to his 7th Indian Wells final .

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