Roger Federer claimed a record equalling 19th Masters Title after defeating American John Isner in straight sets 7-6 6-3, in the final of the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells.
Rain and wind once again made their presence felt in the proceedings as heavy cross court gusts tinkered with the player’s games. Federer who flourished in similar conditions yesterday against Nadal adjusted well to the conditions and won a majority of his first serve points. Isner too managed to tackle the wind and backed up his serves with good ground-strokes to keep the match on serve.
Play was halted at 3-2 in the first set due to rain. When it eventually resumed the sun was shining and the conditions started to improve.
Isner was the first to gain break points but failed to convert all three of them. Federer’s first break point of the match was also his first set-point, but Isner pulled out a rocket serve to force a tie-breaker.
Having played two exceptional tie-breakers against Djokovic a day before, the second of which included hitting seven consecutive first serves, Isner had a tremendous chance to claim the set. He claimed the first mini-break too, but gifted it away immediately and handed the break to Federer. Federer double-faulted at 5-4 to bring things back on level and had another set point at 6-5 on Isner’s serve. But a shanked attempt at a passing shot by Federer, which Isner left, only to see it land on the baseline, gave Federer his fourth set point. He claimed the first set 7-6 (9-7) with an unreturned first serve.
In the second set, both players started serving well but Federer was clearly at greater ease with the situation than his opponent. After six quick service games in 18 minutes, Federer made the initiative and created a couple of fantastic passing shots to break Isner to 15. He remained solid on his service game, dropping only one point in four games, while claiming another break to clinch the set and the match in 1 hour and 20 minutes.
Isner’s magnificent run this week will see him rise to the top 10 for the first time and certainly earn him more respect. He made a strong case as a potential top American on tour. For Federer, the win fetched him a hefty $1 Million. But more importantly, it also fetched him his 73rd title, a record equalling 19th title at the Masters and 1000 precious ATP ranking points.
On to Miami!