Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka held the Swiss banner high in the last 10 days in Indian Wells, reaching their second Masters 1000 final (Stan beat Roger in Monte Carlo 3 years ago). Roger ousted his good friend by 6-4 7-5 in and hour and 20 minutes, winning his 25th Masters 1000 title and the first since Cincinnati 2015 (this is also his milestone ATP title number 90). Thus, he became the oldest player who lifted the Masters 1000 trophy, at the age of 35 years 7 months and 12 days, surpassing Andre Agassi who was 34 when he won his last one in Cincinnati 2004! It was a pretty solid match, with some strong hitting on both sides, short points and a lot of nice winners. Roger kept his second serve better and that made all the difference, he lost his serve once but scored 3 breaks on the other hand to finish the match in straight sets. It was a quick and fluid match, with deuces in only 3 games and a big majority of the points ended with 4 or fewer shots, and Roger was always the favorite in the conditions like this. He won 19 out of the 22 previous match against Stan, and all 14 on hard courts, always having the edge against his close friend on the faster surfaces.
This particular one in Indian Wells is not that fast, though, with high bounce, but Roger took care to shorten the points as much as possible, keeping the points on his racquet. He finished the match with 23 winners and 15 unforced errors, which Stan couldn't follow, standing at 17-21 (he had only two backhand winners). They won the same number of points in the shortest rallies but it was Roger who had the clear advantage in those that lasted 5 or more shots, with 34-18. Federer has now won 5 Indian Wells crowns, which ties him with Novak Djokovic and this was one of his best performances here, holding his serve in 47 out of 48 games! This title moves him closer to Nadal on the Masters 1000 winners list (28-25) and he is 13-1 in 2017 so far, with 3000 points already under his belt. For the first time in 10 years Federer has managed to win both a Grand Slam and a Masters 1000 event before Roland Garros and he proved once again that age is not a factor when it comes to his brilliance, as no one could expect this after being sidelined for 6 months. Without Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic in Miami, Roger will be one of the main contenders to clinch another big title there and maybe even to think about conquering the ATP throne once again in the months to come.
Both players were in the zone right from the start but it was clear that Stan needs the first serve in badly, as he struggled almost every time when he missed it. Roger lost just 4 points on serve in 5 games, hitting 10 winners with 5 unforced errors, and he was waiting for a chance on return badly. It appeared in game 10 when Wawrinka served to stay in the set, as his nerves started to show up. He gave Roger the first break point when the forehand landed long and Federer took it after the 21-stroke rally and another forehand mistake from Wawrinka. Stan stayed in touch when his first serve and initial shot after it worked well but the longer points were his big disadvantage, as Roger notched 13 out of the 17 points when they hit the ball at least 5 times. Also, 18-time Grand Slam champion pushed his rival to the limits on the second serve, waiting for the ball inside the court to impose his shots right on.
Out of sudden, Stan broke at the start of the second set when Roger sent the backhand behind the baseline, ending the streak of 42 consecutive holds for Federer here, and he materialized the break following 2 break points saved in the next game. Roger recovered just in time to prevent the long chase from behind, breaking back at 15 in game 4 with a great forehand down the line winner. In the next 7 games, there were no break points, Stan had 30-30 on Roger's serve thrice but he couldn't deliver that final push that would give him some opportunities for a break, and he paid the price in the end. Just like in the first set, he got broken when he served to stay in the match, despite having a game point in that 12th game. Federer created a match point after some great defense and netted backhand from Stan, and he converted it with a forehand volley winner at the net, starting the celebration of his 5th title here.
Roger Federer (SUI) vs Stan Wawrinka (SUI) 6-4 7-5