We’re in the final! We’re in the final! We’re in the final! Roger Federer has reached the final at Indian Wells! And since the final is merely hours away and I had a horrible, sleep-deprived day at work where I snapped at everyone in sight, I shall keep this short.
Roger defeated Milos Raonic in 2 tight sets, 7-5, 6-4. For most of the match Milos played at a very high level with those booming serves neutralizing any pressure Roger put on him. But just when it seemed like each set would head to a tie-break, Roger pounced, Milos flinched and poof! A break appeared. In the midst of it all, Milos got only one breakpoint opportunity which he failed to convert. Roger’s stats were stellar overall. 67% first serves in and he won 79% of those. He approached the net 19 times winning 12 of them and he had a positive winners-to-unforced errors ratio of 15 to 11. His backhand was particularly lethal and he actually hit more backhand than forehand winners. Here’s an example of two back-to-back backhand winners that will make your jaw drop 😀 Here is the link to the pre-match interview, on-court interview and also the on-court interview with the crowd listening. Here is the link to the full presser transcript, link to the full presser video and lastly here are the match stats.With the SFs out of the way, Roger reached the final of Indian Wells for the second year in a row and the 6th time in his career. And just like last year, his opponent will be Novak Djokovic, the defending champion here. Novak won last year in three tight sets and this time the contest will probably go the distance as well. The last time these two met was only weeks ago in the Dubai final which Roger won. But the conditions in Dubai are a lot quicker than at Indian Wells and these heavier conditions clearly favor Novak more than the Swiss. This is what Roger had to say when asked about the upcoming final, about Novak and Rafa and the unique rivalries he has with them.
“It will never be the same. Not better or worse. It just will be different just because the match-up is so unique for me with Rafa; whereas Novak’s is totally straightforward. With Rafa I feel like I need to change everything when I play him. I have played so many matches against Rafa on clay, as well, that it feels different; whereas Novak has been a much more of a hard court rivalry. It was always overshadowed by the rivalry I had with Rafa in previous years because I always played against Novak mostly in the semis for years. For some reason for me it’s more foggy, the whole semifinals we played before during the Rafa rivalry.
After losing so close last year I was quite disappointed, (I) couldn’t wait until we got the chance again to play here. So I think it’s very exciting for both of us, and also for fans, to see a rematch of the great final from last year. I’m looking forward to it, and I hope I can keep up my good play.”
“I think we are both happy playing each other. We are both playing very well, so this is a time to face off for both of us, in my opinion. I know I need an extra special performance tomorrow because Novak’s going to push you there to come up with a lot of great shots in a row, which is not always easy to do. So I will see how it goes.”
Clearly Roger is excited for the final. I am excited too. However, while his excitement is all about how he can’t wait to play in the final, mine is more along the lines of gently rocking back and forth while breathing into a paper bag. Minor differences as you can see 😉 The final will not be held before 1:00pm local time. So for the next few hours remaining I suggest you do something to relax. The frazzling will begin in no time! C’mon Roger, let’s bring that trophy home!
***The first photo is a Getty Image from Zimbio.com. The second awesome photo is from the BNP Paribas Open Twitter Account. Special thanks to Pika for the pre-match and on-court post match interview clips 🙂 The stats are from the ATP site.***