Federer beats the odds for fifth Indian Wells title

Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka Photo: Courtesy

A rejuvenated Roger Federer beat fellow Swiss Stan Wawrinka 6-4 7-5 in the BNP Paribas Open final on Sunday to earn a record-tying fifth Indian Wells title and the distinction of being the tournament's oldest winner.

The 35-year-old Swiss, who made a stunning return from a six-month injury layoff to win the Australian Open in January, capped an impressive run in the California desert in which he did not lose a set.

"I have totally exceeded my expectations. My goal was to be top eight by Wimbledon. This is just a dream start," Federer, who will climb four spots to world number six on Monday, told Sky Sports courtside.

"I understand the talk about (me getting back to) world number one with Andy (Murray) and Novak (Djokovic) not playing well and I'll try to back it up. But this is my 90th (tour-level) title so I'll try to enjoy this first."

The rematch of the Australian Open semi-final saw the close friends hold serve until the 10th game of the opening set when Federer, ahead 5-4, outlasted Wawrinka in a thrilling 21-shot rally for the service break.

Wawrinka, making his first appearance in an Indian Wells final, came out firing in the second set as he became the first player to break Federer this fortnight and then saved a pair of break points in the next game to move ahead 2-0.

But Federer never wavered as he coolly won the next three games and then broke Wawrinka in the 12th game to close out the match in 80 minutes.

On championship point, Federer jumped right on Wawrinka's serve and quickly had his compatriot running back and forth along the baseline.

Finally, when Wawrinka reached out desperately to send a forehand back, Federer charged to the net and slammed down a running forehand to clinch the title.

While the defeat left Wawrinka an emotional wreck, with the teary-eyed U.S. Open champion calling himself Federer's "biggest fan", the popular champion was left to soak up a standing ovation.

Federer now joins Djokovic as a five-time winner at the event and becomes the oldest champion in the tournament's history, surpassing Jimmy Connors who was 31 when he triumphed in 1984.

"I was very sad when I couldn’t come here last year so just being here is a beautiful feeling," Federer said during the trophy presentation.

"It's been just a fairytale week. I'm still on the comeback. I hope my body is going to allow me to keep on playing.

"I came here for the first time 17 years ago so to be here again as the champion is an amazing feeling. And I can’t tell you enough what it means to me."

Next Story
LATEST STORIES
Football: Junior teams 'need more investment'

It is important to invest in junior teams so that they act as feeders to the senior team, the Harambee Starlets coach has said.

Government failed Kenyans on CHAN

Lack of good and ready facilities is one of the biggest reason for missing such a huge sporting event.

Berlin Marathon: World record holder Dennis Kimetto boasts that he is only person who could lower the world record

Kenya's gold medalist Eliud Kipchoge misses Dennis Kimetto's record by 35 seconds: Kimetto revels in unbroken world record as Eldoret comes alive

Our mediocrity cost us CHAN 2018 hosting rights

There is never a dull moment in Kenya’s sporting scene and this month has not been an exception, only worse because that is how things sport in Kenya are. For a better part of the month, Harambee Starlets have been playing in the COSAFA tourney, and for a moment, Kenyans who have been keen on the progress of the young ladies thought that they will bring home the trophy.

Athletics: Forgotten Koech happy to win Mombasa marathon

Brave Cosmas Koech overcame strong opposition to win the 35th edition of Safaricom Mombasa International 42km men race yesterday in Mombasa.

Rejected Kenya vow to continue stadia project

Kenya, stripped this weekend of the right to stage the 2018 African Nations Championship (CHAN), have vowed to continue with a stadium construction project.

More Stories
Rafael Nadal wins his sixteenth Grand Slam

Rafael Nadal raced to a third US Open title and 16th Grand Slam crown on Sunday with a 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 rout of South African giant Kevin Anderson.

Delight as Serena Williams 'welcomes baby girl'

Tennis superstar Serena Williams gave birth to a baby girl on Friday, US media reported, prompting an outpouring of delight from fellow professionals, celebrities and fans of the sporting icon.

Kerber bows to Japanese teenager

Japan's Naomi Osaka downed defending champion Angelique Kerber before facing a more time-consuming task tracking down her family movements.