By Jane Voigt
March 18, 2017 — How in the world did a small country like Switzerland produce such prodigious tennis stars? We’ll never know for sure, but tomorrow we’ll see its two finest on center court for the men’s singles final of the 2017 BNP Paribas Open.
Just minutes ago, Roger Federer (No. 9) defeated American Jack Sock (No. 18), 6-1, 7-6(4) to earn his berth. He’ll attempt to win his fifth Indian Wells title, his 25th Masters 1000, plus his 90th tour-level title.
“I think I’ve just been very focused,” Federer said, following his match. “That’s something that usually goes away when you don’t play for a while. But, I guess I have a lot of confidence from Australia, still.”
Stan Wawrinka (No. 3) defeated first-time Masters semifinalist, Pablo Carreno Busta (No. 21) , 6-3, 6-2, earlier today. Wawrinka will attempt to win his first-ever title from Indian Wells and his second Masters 1000 overall.
“It’s an amazing result to be in the final here, especially in Indian Wells, one of the best Masters events,” Wawrinka said, after his match. “To have a chance to play for a trophy tomorrow here … it’s great.”
The Swiss friends have met 22 times, during their careers. Federer has a dominant hard court edge, 14-0. However they’ve only met in one final, the Monte Carlo Masters in 2014. Wawrinka edged what was then considered the ‘better’ Swiss player.
Wawrinka emerged from the shadows of Federer’s dominance, starting in 2014 when he won The Australian Open in a shocker-defeat of Rafael Nadal. The next year he whipped up on Novak Djokovic in the French Open final. Then, last year, he defeated Djokovic once again to win The U. S. Open.
Federer arrives in the final, having saved the one break point he faced the entire tournament against Rafael Nadal. Wawrinka’s fourth round and quarterfinal matches were much-more contested, though. He defeated Yoshihito Nishioka and Dominic Thiem each in third-set tiebreaks.
Federer, at 35, could become one of the two oldest tennis champions to win an ATP Masters 1000 tomorrow. Ken Rosewall won the Cincinnati Masters in 1970, also at 35.
The all-Swiss final won’t begin before 1 p.m. tomorrow, PST. It follows the all-Russian women’s singles final between Svetlana Kuznetsova (No. 8) and Elena Vesnina (No. 14). That begins at 11 a.m., PST.