After a shaky start of the season, Roger Federer found the winning formula in February 2012, conquering Rotterdam and Dubai and gaining momentum ahead of the first Masters 1000 event of the season. Struggling against Milos Raonic and Thomaz Bellucci a little bit, Roger settled into an excellent rhythm from the quarter-final stage, beating Juan Martin del Potro and Rafael Nadal to advance into the final, seeking the first Indian Wells title since 2006!
On the other side of the draw, John Isner used a favorable draw to reach the semis in front of the home crowd, facing world no. 1 and the defending champion Novak Djokovic. The American prevailed 7-6, 3-6, 7-6 to book the place in the first Masters 1000 final, cracking the top-10 on Monday regardless of the final outcome.
Motivated to lift the first trophy in the desert since 2006, Roger ousted John 7-6, 6-3 for the 19th Masters 1000 crown (matching Rafael Nadal's record), sealing the deal in an hour and 22 minutes for the third win over Isner in four encounters.
The American defeated the Swiss in the Davis Cup on clay in February but couldn't repeat the same outcome in California, taking only nine points on the return and suffering two breaks in set number two to finish runner-up.
Federer controlled the pace with almost 30 winners and around 15 unforced errors, reducing his opponent to only four aces and leaving him far behind in the more advanced rallies to bring the victory home in straight sets.
John had 23 service winners but that was pretty much everything he showed that day, battling to stay in touch in the opener and losing ground completely in set number two to hand the trophy to the Swiss. Federer held at love with an ace in the first game before offering two break chances to John in game three, fending off both following backhand mistakes from the American before repelling another one with a smash winner, avoiding an early setback and staying on the positive side of the scoreboard.
Nothing could separate them until the 12th game when Isner faced a set point, firing a service winner to stay alive and closing the game with another one to reach a tie break. There, we saw four straight mini-breaks before Federer grabbed another one at 5-5, squandering the first set point after a backhand error to keep Isner in contention.
The Swiss wasted the second set point thanks to a loose forehand, making no mistakes in the next point when he placed a backhand lob winner, moving 8-7 up and seizing the fourth set point for a massive momentum. They stayed in touch until 3-3 in set number two and Roger was the one who pulled the trigger there, securing a break and confirming it with a hold at 15 that sent him a game away from victory.
Serving to stay in the match, Isner netted a forehand in the ninth game to lose serve for the second time, propelling Federer over the finish line and settling for the second prize in one of his career-best weeks up to that point.