Indian Wells Flashback: Roger Federer writes history
by JOVICA ILIC | VIEW 2791
Roger Federer wrote Indian Wells history in 2006, becoming the first player with three consecutive titles in the desert. Roger kicked off the season with trophies in Doha and the Australian Open before losing to Rafael Nadal in the Dubai final.
The Swiss was the favorite in Indian Wells, and he proved that on the court to extend his streak. Roger took down Nicolas Massu, Olivier Rochus, Richard Gasquet, Ivan Ljubicic and Paradorn Srichaphan to secure a place in the final.
He faced the home star James Blake in the title clash and scored a 7-5, 6-3, 6-0 triumph to become the first player in the tournament's history with three consecutive crowns! The encounter lasted an hour and 43 minutes, and it was their third meeting, with Roger taking them all in straight sets.
Federer lost serve two times, which did not cost him much after a rock-solid performance on the return. The Swiss stole 53% of the points on Blake's serve and created 16 break chances, converting seven to seal the deal in the last best-of-five Indian Wells final.
Roger Federer claimed his third consecutive Indian Wells title in 2006.
Federer took charge after a tight opener and marched toward the finish line. He hit more winners and fewer unforced errors than his rival and forced many mistakes with his sharp and aggressive groundstrokes.
The American could not find the zone with his serve and initial forehand. He trailed big time in the shortest rallies up to four strokes and allowed Federer to have the upper hand in the mid-range and most extended exchanges and bring the victory home in style.
James earned the first break in the encounter's third game when Roger sent a forehand long. The American scored another at 3-1 to race into a massive lead and make a flying start. Facing a mountain to climb if he wanted to get back on the positive side of the scoreboard, the Swiss began the chase with a break at love in game six.
He reduced the deficit and gained momentum before the rest of the set. James built a 5-3 advantage with a service winner in game eight and served for the opener at 5-4. Federer created three break points that Blake successfully fended off before hitting a double fault on the fourth to draw world no.
1 back into contention. The momentum was now on Roger's side, and he grabbed a break at love in game 12 to steal the opener 7-5 and gain a boost after rattling off four straight games. Federer sailed through his service games in set number two and stole James' serve in game eight with a volley winner to open a 5-3 gap and serve for the set in the next game.
A backhand winner sealed the deal for him in another comfortable service game, forging a 7-5, 6-3 advantage and having a big chance to clinch the match in the next set. Blake had nothing more left in the tank and got broken three times in the third set.
Federer fired a service winner in game six to deliver a bagel and celebrate his third consecutive Indian Wells title after winning 14 of the last 17 games.