Round 4 of the BNP Paribas Open 2013 at Indian Wells starts on Wednesday and it might actually be the best day of the tourney to have tickets as 8 exciting matches are on schedule. 8 of the ATP top 10 have made it so far, with world #4 David Ferrer and #9 Janko Tipsarevic being the only casualties. They have been replaced by big serving South African Kevin Anderson and a qualifier and also the most improved player of the year, the volatile Latvian, Ernests Gulbis who still on his winning streak. Here is the schedule.As you can see, Roger’s match is the 3rd of the day (2nd match of the afternoon session) in Stadium 1 after Simon vs. Anderson and WTA’s Kvitova vs. Kirilenko. This all Swiss match will probably not start before 3:00pm local time (10:00pm GMT) assuming Kvitova vs. Kirilenko takes at least an hour.
In Round 3 Roger’s opponent was a player he had never faced. Round 4 presents an opponent whose game he knows like the back of his beautiful single-handed backhand. Stan and Roger go back many years and have faced each other 13 times. Even more than that, they’ve played doubles together on many occasions at ATP tourneys, Davis Cup and the Olympics with the highlight being their gold medals at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Wawrinka is currently ranked 18 in the world but reached a career high of 9 in 2008. He has already had an intense 3 months in 2013 with his Australian Open Round 4 match; that 5-set thriller with Djokovic was one of the best matches of the Open. He then played a historic doubles match with Marco Chiudinelli in the Davis Cup tie that lasted for 7 hours and 1 minute. What was more gut-wrenching was that he lost both those matches, so close yet so far. When it comes to his record against Roger however, it’s not close at all as can be seen below:Maybe it’s a case of match-ups or Roger is in his head, both could be plausible. But this year Wawrinka is coming in with good form. And he pushed Roger hard in their last two meetings at Shanghai and Cincinnati last year. On the other hand, Roger’s back is a serious concern. He didn’t practice at all on Tuesday and I don’t know if that’s a good sign or a bad sign. Thus this just might be the perfect time for Stan to finally add one more match on his column of wins against Roger since his last one in 2009.
However, despite all this I have chosen to have faith in Roger; faith in his abilities to recuperate à la Wimbledon 2012; faith in his H2H with Stan; and faith in his ability to create magic out of nothingness. It is also a day match and the heat will be much better for his back than the cold desert air of night matches. Only 4 more matches Maestro, you can do this! Push through it, lift the trophy and end this season on a high before you go into hibernation. Allez! We believe in you! We believe in Roger Federer!