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Federer targets Wimbledon; Won't play on clay except French Open

Roger Federer has set his sights on claiming an eighth Wimbledon title this summer after the latest chapter of his remarkable 2017 ended with him winning the Miami Open.

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Federer defeats Nadal to win 3rd Miami crown

Roger Federer extended his run of dominance in 2017, clinching his third title of the season 6-3, 6-4 over Rafael Nadal at the Miami Open.

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Federer beats Wawrinka for 5th Indian Wells title

The incredible comeback continues. Roger Federer won a record-tying fifth BNP Paribas Open crown as he defeated Stan Wawrinka 6-4, 7-5 in an all-Swiss final at Indian Wells.

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Federer hopes to play '2 to 3 more years'

Roger Federer says he hopes to play for at least another two to three years and that his "mindset is for the long term" in assessing his tennis future.

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Federer and Nadal to team up in Laver Cup

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, who have faced each other in eight major finals, plan to team up as doubles partners next year during the inaugural Laver Cup.

Federer targets Wimbledon; Won't play on clay except French Open

Roger Federer has set his sights on claiming an eighth Wimbledon title this summer after the latest chapter of his remarkable 2017 ended with him winning the Miami Open.

Having won the three biggest tournaments played this season, in Melbourne, Indian Wells and Miami, Federer is looking ahead and says he will concentrate on grass and hardcourt tournaments as opposed to those on clay.

After defeating Rafael Nadal to win Miami, Federer told ESPN in a courtside interview that he would "probably won't play any" of the clay-court tournaments "except the French."

In a press conference after the match, Federer said he wanted to take a break to recover physically and mentally and to be with his family. He is 19-1 since returning from an injury layoff.

"Wimbledon has to be the biggest goal," he said. "The American hard courts I guess as well. The French Open I guess to some extent. It's just we'll see what happens, you know. No pressure there really because I won't have a preparation as such.

"But all of the grass really is important to me because I'll play Stuttgart and Halle there, too. Then of course I am looking very good for the World Tour Finals, for the year-end championships, where I've been very successful. I like the indoors as well. So for me basically the second half of the season is a big priority now. That's why I'll take a break as well.

"My knee was strange on the clay last year so maybe being away from it as much as possible is a good thing as well, even though I don't think it was because of the clay as such.

"But my physio, my fitness guy, thought that could be a good thing not to be too much on clay. I feel very comfortable, very confident it is the right decision.

"When I am healthy and feeling good, I can produce tennis like this. When I am not feeling this good there is no chance I will be in the finals competing with Rafa.

"That is why this break is coming in the clay court season, focusing everything on the French, the grass and then the hard courts after that."

Federer repeated that he is currently scheduled not to play before the French Open, but added that he would "see how all of the buildup is going to go."

But regardless of his schedule, Federer is determined to keep the refreshed mentality and attacking mindset that he has used so successfully in his comeback.

"I think that the way I'm playing right now is the right way for me moving forward as well,” said Federer. "Of course I'll always recalibrate every tournament I go to depending on the speed of the ball, the speed of the courts, who I play. I'm happy that I was able to stay on the offensive more or less throughout this swing here, Indian Wells and Miami. I think once you win a big tournament like the Australian Open, or any big tournament for that matter, you can just bank usually on some confidence, you know.

"I think I am definitely profiting from confidence, and then also from the right mindset, able to compress all my energy into one single match and not be distracted by everything else going on around me."

Date: 5 April 2017, Source: Tennis.com, ESPN and IBT

Federer defeats Nadal to win 3rd Miami crown

The legend continues to grow. Roger Federer extended his run of dominance in 2017, clinching his third title of the season 6-3, 6-4 over Rafael Nadal on Sunday at the Miami Open.

Federer added to his ATP World Tour Masters 1000 legacy, notching his 26th crown and third Sunshine Double (2005-06), having lifted the trophy in Indian Wells two weeks prior. The Swiss, who is projected to return to the Top 5 of the ATP Rankings at No. 4 on Monday, earned his 91st tour-level title in total.

On song throughout the fortnight in Miami, Federer rarely put a foot wrong in Sunday’s final, prevailing after one hour and 34 minutes. He fired 29 winners, including 19 off his forehand wing and five aces. The Swiss claimed two of nine break points, while turning aside all four faced. It was Federer’s first title at the hard-court event since defeating coach Ivan Ljubicic in 2006.

"I think it was a close match," said Federer. "Maybe if you didn't see the match and you were sitting somewhere around the world and you see the score you're thinking it was straightforward with couple breaks and that was it.

"That's not the full story. I thought he had his chances in the first and in the second. It was close. I think on the big points today I was just a little bit better. Why, I have no explanation. I just think it fell that way today.

"It was a very intense first set. It could have gone either way really and then the second set started slow from both sides. Eventually I got a few important points and played the right way like I have so many times this year, just very committed, and it paid off at the very end.

"It was more of a fight mode I was in today just trying to stay afloat. Physically, emotionally it's been a draining week, so I did very well."

Arguably the biggest storyline on the ATP World Tour this year has been the renewal of one of the most storied rivalries in the history of sport. It was front and centre once again at the Crandon Park Tennis Center, with Federer and Nadal writing a 37th captivating chapter. With the Spaniard seeking revenge after falling at both the Australian Open and BNP Paribas Open, it marked the earliest they've played each other three times in a season.

Heavy and humid conditions greeted both competitors as they sought to take the initiative early and often. Federer showed his resilience following a three-hour semi-final epic against Nick Kyrgios on Friday. Looking to carry the momentum after a 6-2, 6-3 victory over Nadal in Indian Wells, he would deny break points in three of his first four service games. Federer struck first at 4-3, flattening an inside-out forehand to push Nadal off the court and secure the opening break of the match. He would consolidate a game later to seize the 48-minute opener.

Looking to turn the tables in the second set, Nadal would overcome a break point at 3-3 30/40 with a lunging volley winner. Despite employing a more aggressive gameplan, he was unable to change the momentum, as Federer remained calm in the big moments and eventually captured the decisive break for 5-4. The fourth seed emerged victorious on his first championship point as a Nadal forehand sailed long.

Flawless against the Top 10 this season, Federer improved to a staggering 7-0 against elite competition and is now 19-1 overall. It is his best start to a season since 2006, when he went 33-1. Winning the first 30 and over final in tournament history, at 35 years and seven months, Federer became the oldest Miami champion.

"I think that I was close," said Nadal. "I think I was close enough to win the first set. It was not my day. It is true that when somebody is coming with that dynamic like him that he's winning a lot, all the things are going your way.

"So that's what happened today, because in the first set I think anything could happen. Then in the second it was close. The same thing: one break and that's it. That's all. It's easy to see that match was a close match. In my opinion, anything could happen and it went his way, so well done for him.

"Few things decided the points and the match. For me, it was much closer than what the result says and completely different than Indian Wells."

Exactly 12 years removed from their first-ever meeting in a final, won by the Basel native in five sets, he took a 10-9 lead on hard courts in their ATP Head to Head rivalry. Nadal still leads 23-14 overall, but the Spaniard has dropped their four most recent encounters, dating back to 2015.

''It's disappointing for me that I am trying during all my career,'' Nadal told the crowd with a smile during the trophy ceremony. ''Every three years I am in this position, but always with the smaller trophy.''

"We've had some epic matches over the years. I truly believe you are going to still win this tournament. You're too good not to," Federer said to Nadal.

Date: 4 April 2017, Source: ATP, AP and Reuters

Federer beats Kyrgios to set up Nadal final in Miami

Roger Federer and Nick Kyrgios may have opposite temperaments and playing styles, but they came together to put on one of the finest matches of the year on Friday at the Miami Open. Federer saved set points, Kyrgios saved match points, but it was the fourth seed who ultimately came out on top over Kyrgios in their semi-final clash 7-6 (9), 6-7 (9), 7-6 (5).

“It did feel very good, because you don't very often play three breakers in a match. It's nice to win those and winning breakers is always such a thrill,” said Federer. “It's great winning this way, especially because I remember the loss against him a few years ago, It was rough. It was the birthday of my boys. I wasn't with them and had that match, so it was nice to get this one tonight.”

The Swiss star moves on to play Rafael Nadal, a winner earlier in the day over Fabio Fognini, in Sunday's final. It will be their 37th meeting and the 23rd time they've met in a final.

The Miami final will mark the third time they've played this season. Federer has won both of their earlier meetings - the Australian Open final in January and their fourth round match at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells last month.

“I feel like there is a mountain to climb in Rafa. He hasn’t won this event before. He's definitely feeling fresher than I feel right now. But that's not a problem. I'll be ready on Sunday,” said Federer.

“It's definitely going to be very special playing Rafa here again. I'm thrilled for him that he came back as well as he did after the comeback and the struggles that he had last year. It feels like old times. We're playing each other every week now. We can't get enough of each other. Hopefully it's not our last match.”

Sunday's final will also be the fourth time Federer and Nadal have met at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament in South Florida. Nadal won their first meeting, which started their rivalry, 6-3, 6-3 in 2004. Federer beat him in the Miami final the next year, coming back from two sets down to win 2-6, 6-7, 7-6, 6-3, 6-1. In 2011, Nadal returned the favour, knocking Federer out in the Miami semi-finals, 6-3, 6-2.

“Should be really exciting because we had this epic match in 2005. The final was unbelievable. It was a turning point in my career, to be quite honest. For me to be able to focus for, I don't know how long we played, maybe four hours, smashing forehand after forehand down the line. I remember I felt like I had to learn how to fight in matches, and there I showed it to myself and my team that I could do it,” Federer said.

Nadal also knows he'll have to bring some of his best tennis to capture the title. “He's playing so good. He's playing great,” Nadal said of Federer. “When top player like him is playing that well, then it's always a big challenge for every player.”

Federer and Kyrgios have played six consecutive tie-breaks in their two ATP Head to Head meetings, with the rivalry now tied at 1-1. This is the seventh time (5-2) that Federer has played all tie-breaks in best-of-three set matches in his career. This was also the third time that Federer has won back-to-back third set tie-breaks in the same tournament (2005 Dubai, 2001 Rome).

A standing-room only crowd came out to watch two of the most exciting players on the ATP World Tour in Federer and Kyrgios do battle, and they weren’t shy about letting their feelings be known. Whether it was giving a standing ovation for a between-the-legs winner from Kyrgios or chanting Roger’s name, their enthusiasm prompted the umpire to call for quiet on multiple occasions during the match.

Kyrgios appeared frustrated early on by Federer’s brilliant hitting and displayed huge bursts of emotion on multiple occasions, but remained calm when it mattered most, saving set point at 5-6 with an ace and two more in the tie-break at 5/6 and 6/7 with some big hitting. Federer also showed off his trademark steely nerves in the tie-break, saving a set point at 7/8 and again at 8/9 with a backhand winner down the line.

However, the Aussie’s penchant for going for broke at crucial moments of the match may have cost him the opening set. He rolled the dice on a big second serve at 9/9 and missed badly, handing Federer a third set point opportunity. The Swiss star made good on his chance, wrapping up the set as Kyrgios sent a backhand into the doubles alley.

Even while Federer and Kyrgios traded routine service holds in the second and third sets, there were still plenty of flashy moments from both players, including Kyrgios charging the net off Federer's serve on a few occasions. There was even a between-the-legs winner from the Aussie in the second set.

The drama remained at maximum levels in the second-set tie-break, with a slice backhand from Federer on match point at 6/5 floating just long as Kyrgios could only stand at the net and watch. On his second match point at 8/7, Federer dumped an 88 mph second serve into the bottom of the net as the crowd groaned in unison. Kyrgios wouldn’t allow Federer another opportunity, firing an ace at 10/9 and looking to his box in celebration at leveling the match.

More comfortable service holds in the third set fittingly resulted in a sixth straight tie-break for Federer and Kyrgios, with the crowd on their feet to applaud the efforts of both players. Their previous ATP Head to Head meeting in Madrid in 2015 also produced a similar scoreline, with Kyrgios saving two match points to take a 6-7 (2), 7-6 (5), 7-6 (12) victory.

However, Kyrgios didn’t learn his lesson from the first set of the Miami brawl with Federer, gambling with a 128 mph second serve at 5/5 and ultimately hitting a double fault for his most costly shot of the night. Kyrgios’ risk proved to be Federer’s reward, with the fourth seed hitting a big first serve to wrap up the match in three hours and 10 minutes.

Date: 31 March 2017, Source: ATP

Federer battles past Bautista Agut into Miami QF

Roger Federer stayed perfect at the Miami Open on Tuesday, persevering through a back-and-forth and gritty fourth-round contest against Roberto Bautista Agut 7-6 (5), 7-6 (4). The Swiss right-hander needed nearly two hours to improve to 6-0 against the Spaniard in their ATP Head to Head series, and afterward likened his recovery to going clubbing.

"I think coming out of a brutal match and then feeling fit like a fiddle in the morning, it's like when you go clubbing," said the 35-year-old Federer. "Same thing. You know, you don't feel the same when you're older. It's a good example because everybody knows that feeling. Not that I've ever - you know?"

Federer reaches his second consecutive ATP World Tour Masters 1000 quarter-final, where he'll face 10th seed Tomas Berdych, who dismissed Frenchman Adrian Mannarino 6-3, 7-5 on Tuesday afternoon. Federer leads their ATP Head to Head series 17-6, including a straight-sets win earlier this year at the Australian Open.

Nothing came easy for Federer on Tuesday, though. The Swiss was made to labour throughout his sixth meeting with Bautista Agut, who saved eight of 10 break points and broke Federer once during their Round of 16 battle. Federer has now been broken only twice during his three Miami matches.

"I felt good overall. It was a different kind of match," said Federer. "It wasn't the big-serving match where you're only going to see so many looks, so when you miss chances you always feel a bit frustrated sometimes. That's where you got to keep a positive mindset and make the right plays.

"I thought Roberto did a good job of making shots, staying offensive when he could, fending off a lot of good shots that I hit. Then it was tough. The sun was coming from the side in the beginning so it's hard to chase the lines. At the end I'm very happy and pleased that I got it done in straight sets."

The World No. 6 sought to be aggressive from the get-go against Bautista Agut, attacking the net often and trying to jolt the 14th seed out of his comfort zone. Federer started by breezing through his service games, especially dominating with his first serve. The fourth seed would win 89 per cent of his first-serve points for the match.

But Federer struggled to land his first serve at 4-4, and Bautista Agut took advantage. Seeing another second serve, the 28 year old stepped into a backhand up the line and broke for a chance to serve out the set. Nerves would get the best of the Spaniard during the 10th game, though, as Federer broke to love when Bautista Agut double faulted.

Federer struck a forehand pass to escape in the first-set tie-break. To start the second set, it looked as if Federer would start to pull away. He broke in the opening game but Bautista Agut broke right back, and to a second tie-break they headed, where Federer solidified his dominance in their ATP Head to Head series, having won all 14 sets they've played, dating back to the 2014 US Open.

Federer is 16-1 this year, matching his career-best record at this point in a season.

"Is it the best I've ever played?" Federer said. "For me, it's hard to say yes to that question. Maybe on the offensive side, overall, I think I'm doing definitely a few things better than I ever have. I do feel that I have improved. The game has evolved, I had to adjust, but overall I do believe I'm probably a better player than I was 10 years ago."

Federer gets Wednesday off, and will meet Berdych on Thursday in the quarters.

"You'll always take those days off," Federer said. "They are worth gold."

Date: 29 March 2017, Source: ATP and AP

Federer blows past Del Potro into Miami fourth round

Roger Federer added another big win to his nearly invincible 2017 on Monday, fighting off Argentine Juan Martin del Potro 6-3, 6-4 to advance to the fourth round of the Miami Open.

Federer, a two-time Miami champion (2005-06), never lost his serve against the powerful right-hander, who had five break chances but couldn't convert any of them. The win improves Federer to 15-1 on the season and 46-13 for his career at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament.

Federer also extends his ATP Head to Head series lead against del Potro to 16-5. Perhaps more impressive, the Swiss star adds del Potro's name to his list of defeated opponents during his comeback season, a ledger that also includes Top 10 players Stan Wawrinka, Kei Nishikori and Rafael Nadal.

It was the pair's first meeting since 2013 and having won 15 of the previous 21 encounters, Federer was favourite - but the crowd factor gave the third round match an added edge.

"Shortly before I walked out to the court you could sense the atmosphere. That's when I told myself, just be prepared for something different, you know. It was different," Federer said.

Federer broke del Potro twice, once in each set, and that was all he needed.

"I felt like I was in control and I was able to generate more chances than he did," Federer said.

"I feel like I earned it more. I was more the aggressor. It was more on my racquet, and I like it that way," added the Swiss.

The first break put him up 5-3 in the first set, and Federer then fought off four break points in the ensuing game before closing out the set.

Another break for a 3-2 lead in the second set, not long after del Potro got his oft-problematic left wrist taped on a changeover, put Federer in full control. Serving at 4-3, Federer faced a break point - Argentine fans serenaded del Potro beforehand with "Ole! Ole! Ole!" - but escaped when a serve return sailed long.

"It's not easy playing against Roger because he has good forehand, good backhand, slice, drop shot, everything. But I think I did my best," del Potro said. "He played well in the break-point moments and I think that was the only difference in the match."

It had the feel of a final, not a third-rounder on a Monday afternoon.

The stadium court, largely empty for the first two matches of the day, was filled - with huge roars greeting both players as they entered for warmups, many fans wearing hats or shirts with Federer's "RF" logo, many others either donning Argentine football jerseys or carrying that nation's flag in support of del Potro.

"It was really a great, nice atmosphere," Federer said. "It was a lot of pleasure playing in nice weather, great opponent, great crowd. What else do you need?"

The last seven Federer-del Potro matches coming into this meeting all went the distance, with some classics - the 4 1/2-hour, three-setter at the 2012 Olympics at Wimbledon where Federer prevailed 19-17 in the third, Federer rallying from two sets down in the French Open quarterfinals that year, and del Potro winning the 2009 U.S. Open in five sets for his lone Grand Slam triumph.

Federer plays again Tuesday against 14th-seeded Roberto Bautista Agut, who needed three sets to top Sam Querrey of the U.S. Tenth-seeded Tomas Berdych was another third-round winner, beating Gilles Muller 6-3, 6-4.

"He competes so well point for point, day in day out, and he plays a ton of tournaments, and he's really just match tough. I hope I can use my variation to really make him feel uncomfortable," said Federer, who leads their ATP Head to Head series 5-0 and is a perfect 12-0 in sets against the Spaniard.

Date: 27 March 2017, Source: ATP, AP and AFP

Federer set for Del Potro test at Miami Open

Roger Federer put on a serving clinic in edging American teen Frances Tiafoe at the Miami Open on Saturday. Making his first appearance in Miami since 2014, Federer reeled off 20 consecutive service points in the first set, claiming 80 per cent overall, to prevail 7-6 (2), 6-3.

The two-time champion extended his dominant run in 2017 to 14-1, kicking off his quest for a third title (2005-06) at the Tennis Center at Crandon Park. His 45 match wins in Miami is second only to six-time champion Andre Agassi (61). Less than a week after clinching the Indian Wells crown, Federer is seeking a third Sunshine Double.

“I've hit with Frances maybe twice before. I saw the power he had, the explosivity he had, how he easily can generate pace. He seemed to be fearless, good serving, taking the ball early and making the plays,” said Federer. “What I like to see is when a younger player comes out and really feels he has nothing to lose and only has stuff to gain. I hope he's going to learn a lot from a match like this just because playing on a centre court with a lot of people, under pressure, saving break points, making break points, playing breakers, that's what it's about. It should feed a player like him with a lot of energy moving forward hopefully.”

Tiafoe's mettle was tested early and often and he responded well, flashing his baseline firepower and trademark charisma. But Federer was undaunted on a windy and overcast late afternoon in South Florida. The first set proceeded to a tie-break and Federer took the immediate mini-break, striking a sharply angled backhand that pulled Tiafoe well off the court.

World No. 101 Tiafoe entertained the home fans with brilliant backhand passes, but the qualifier was broken for 4-2 in the second set and Federer streaked to the finish line from there. A Tiafoe return winner denied his first match point, but a service winner closed out the win after one hour and 13 minutes.

Keeping points short, Federer won the majority of rallies under five shots (47-35) and fired 23 winners in total, including eight aces. A 21st ATP Head to Head encounter against Juan Martin del Potro awaits in the third round after the Argentine defeated Robin Haase in Saturday's night session.

“I would love to play against Del Potro. I'm happy for him with his comeback, winning at Davis Cup. I should have played him here last year but I was sick. That was a pity. It's better to play him maybe this time around when we're both better,” said Federer.

“We've had some epic matches against each other. Semis at the French, Olympic semis, finals at the US Open. I'm sure the crowd would love to see it.”

Federer and Del Potro haven’t faced each other since the 2013 ATP World Tour Finals. The Swiss Maestro leads their ATP Head to Head rivalry 15-5, but their past seven matches have gone to a deciding set. Federer has won five of their six career meetings on outdoor hard-courts, including their past four meetings on the surface.

Date: 26 March 2017, Source: ATP and AFP

Federer reassesses goals after Indian Wells triumph

Only a brave pundit would have pencilled in Roger Federer as an early bolter atop the ATP Race to London just three months into the Swiss star’s comeback after a six-month lay-off. But after claiming the two biggest titles of the season to date, the 35 year old has already surpassed his own expectations for 2017.

Victory over compatriot Stan Wawrinka in Sunday’s BNP Paribas Open final marked his 25th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title - his fifth in the Californian desert - and comes on the back of his shock Australian Open triumph in January. It will require a welcome rethink on goals for the year ahead.

For me, the dream run continues,” Federer said. “I'm not as surprised as I was in Australia, but still this comes as a big, big surprise to me, nevertheless, to win here again and beating the players that I did and the way I did. I couldn't be more happy.

“When I came here, what I promised myself was I was going to play with the right energy. It's not always Grand Slam finals. It always starts at zero. You have to get yourself up for the first rounds.

It's an absolutely huge start to the year for me. Last year I didn't win any titles. I don't think I was in any finals except Brisbane. The change is dramatic, and it feels great.”

The Swiss will climb back to No. 6 in the ATP Rankings as he heads to the Miami Open presented by Itau. He stands to make up ground having missed the ATP Masters 1000 event last year and given two of his greatest rivals, World No. 1 Andy Murray and No. 2 Novak Djokovic, have withdrawn citing right elbow injuries.

“In November, December, when I realised things were going well, and we had a meeting about what the goals are for the season in terms of rankings, it's really secondary, but we wanted to set some goals for the season, and the goal was to be Top 8 by Wimbledon.

“So I'm there much, much faster. It’s great, but you definitely have to reassess your goals and see, where do you go from here? Because this was not part of the plan, to win Australia and Indian Wells, I can tell you that.”

The last time Federer won in Miami he defeated his coach Ivan Ljubicic in the 2006 final to defend his title from the year before. He completed the Indian Wells/Miami double in both years and is well aware the difficulty in achieving the feat, let alone 11 years later.

“I think now it's really important for me to rest up, maximum,” he said. “I hope I can play as late as possible going to Miami. Then I will make the plan for the remainder of the season - especially for the clay - after Miami, and then see also what the goals are, because the goals are clearly changing after this dream start.

“I know how hard it is to win back-to-back Indian Wells and Miami titles. That's why again I sort of go to Miami knowing it's going to be really difficult.”

Date: 20 March 2017, Source: ATP

Federer beats Wawrinka for 5th Indian Wells title

The incredible comeback continues. Roger Federer won a record-tying fifth BNP Paribas Open crown on Sunday as he defeated Stan Wawrinka 6-4, 7-5 in an all-Swiss final at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.

The Swiss endured a six-month injury layoff at the end of 2016, but returned to tour-level action at the start of the season in spectacular fashion, capturing his 18th Grand Slam championship at the Australian Open with a five-set victory over Rafael Nadal.

“It’s been just a fairytale week once again,” said Federer. “I’m still on the comeback. I hope my body is going to allow me to keep on playing. I was very sad when I couldn’t come here last year. Just being here is a beautiful feeling. It’s one of my favourite tournaments. I came here for the first time 17 years ago. So to be here again as the champion is an amazing feeling.”

He has established himself as the early leader in the ATP Race To London, which determines the eight players to qualify for the ATP Finals in London in November. He is now set to rise back to No. 6 in the ATP Rankings, having started his comeback this year at No. 17.

Victory in Indian Wells marks Federer’s 90th tour-level crown and his 25th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title. At 35 years old, he is the oldest Masters 1000 champion since a 34-year-old Andre Agassi won the 2004 Cincinnati title. Federer has played seven finals in the desert, previously lifting the trophy in 2004-‘06 and 2012, while also finishing runner-up in 2014-15.

Federer’s backhand has been the talking point of the 2017 BNP Paribas Open, and he set the tone in the final with a rifled winner off that wing in the first game, one of 10 winners he would hit in the opening set. The right-hander has also dominated on serve, coming into the final having faced only one break point throughout the tournament, and he allowed Wawrinka just four points in the first set.

Federer made his move on Wawrinka’s serve in the 10th game of the opener, drawing a forehand error from his countryman at 30/30 to earn a set point, which he converted as Wawrinka overhit another forehand.

History was stacked in Federer’s favour against Wawrinka, with the Basel native coming into the final leading his countryman 19-3 in their ATP Head to Head series and a notable 14-0 mark on hard courts. But Wawrinka put that firmly out of his mind as he came out firing at the start of the second set, breaking Federer for the first time in the tournament before surviving a nervy service game - saving two break points - to engineer a 2-0 lead. It was the first time Federer had been broken in 42 service games.

Wawrinka’s lead was short lived though. Federer struck back to claim the next three games and broke Wawrinka in the 12th game to claim victory, sealing it in 80 minutes as he punched away a forehand volley winner.

“He was playing really fast. He was staying on the line, trying to play fast from both sides. It was tough for me to really get into the points,” Wawrinka said. “He always had an answer. I had a few little opportunities that I could have maybe done better, but it wasn't enough.”

As Federer waved up to his wife, Mirka, and family, Wawrinka was left to ponder his third defeat in four Masters 1000 finals. The 31-year-old Swiss won his lone Masters 1000 crown three years ago in Monte Carlo and recorded runner-up finishes in 2008 Rome (l. to Djokovic) and 2013 Madrid (l. to Nadal).

It is the second time this year Wawrinka has fallen to Federer, having suffered a heartbreaking five-set loss in the Australian Open semi-finals in January. Wawrinka had battled through to his 26th tour-level final with back-to-back third-set tie-break wins over Yoshihito Nishioka, who served for the match twice, and Dominic Thiem, before dominating Pablo Carreno Busta in the semi-finals.

On court, an emotional Wawrinka said, “I’m sorry. I’m just tired after 10 days, so, sorry,” before jokingly remarking on Federer laughing at him from the sidelines. “I would like to congratulate Roger. I lost a tough one against you, but when you played the final in Australia, I was still your biggest fan. Anybody who knows tennis loves to watch you, so it's always good to see you back at that level, hopefully for many years.”

But the final loss still marks a great accomplishment for Wawrinka. Years ago, you would have been hard-pressed to find someone who would have thought the 6-foot right-hander would meet Federer in a Masters 1000 final. As recently as 2012, Wawrinka's ATP Ranking still sat outside the Top 20. That same year, Federer hauled home three Masters 1000 titles.

“I think to play a final against him in a Masters 1000 is something amazing for me. I wouldn't have dreamed that a few years ago and now it's the second we have played,” said Wawrinka, referring to their 2014 Monte Carlo Rolex Masters final. “I won the first one. I lost today. For sure I'm disappointed, but it's still a great week for me.

“He's still a tough player to play for me, for my game, because he's playing quick. He makes you feel uncomfortable and he mixes it up a lot. It's always challenging.

“He's just amazing. The way he's playing is just so beautiful, it's just so nice. Everything looks perfect. He's moving amazingly well. He has amazing touch. He's doing everything you can do on the tennis court,” Wawrinka said.

Date: 20 March 2017, Source: ATP and Indian Wells

Federer and Wawrinka in all-Swiss final at Indian Wells

Roger Federer will face Stan Wawrinka in an all-Swiss final at the BNP Paribas Open after defeating Jack Sock 6-1, 7-6 (4) in Saturday’s second semi-final in Indian Wells.

The 35-year-old Federer is through to his seventh final at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden and is looking to win the title for the fifth time, adding to his victories in 2004 (d. Henman), 2005 (d. Hewitt), 2006 (d. Blake) and 2012 (d. Isner).

Federer will bid to win his 25th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crown and 90th tour-level title overall. He takes a 19-3 ATP Head to Head rivalry lead over Wawrinka into the final and has won their past three meetings, including a five-set battle in the Australian Open semi-finals in January.

"I think I definitely played great in the first set," said Federer. "I came out and really saw the ball well. I think Jack didn't have his best first set, but I found a way to take advantage of that quickly, hardly made any mistakes and was able to press.

"The second set was more like what I expected the first set to be, to be quite honest, before the match. It was hard to break and return well off Jack's heavy serve.

"I had to rely a lot on my second serve. I'm happy it was there, because I didn't serve particularly well in that second set. Things got a bit more complicated, but it was definitely a good feeling to get through in two sets and to be back in another finals here.

"I think I've just been very focused during this tournament. That's something that usually goes away when don't play for a while. But I guess I have a lot of confidence from Australia, still."

Federer’s backhand was telling as he raced past long-time rival Rafael Nadal in the fourth round earlier in the week, and Federer dominated from the baseline again against Sock, rolling back the years to claim victory in 74 minutes.

A rifling backhand winner from Federer did lasting damage in the fourth game, as Sock then netted a smash and double faulted to lose serve to love and trail 1-3. A potent forehand winner from Federer gave the Basel native a double break lead at 5-1 as he cruised to a one-set lead.

A bathroom break for Sock at the end of the first set settled the American, and he fended off a break point in the seventh game to stay close on serve with Federer, ultimately forcing a tie-break. Sock sparked hope for his fans as he hit a backhand winner for a 3-1 lead. But Federer immediately pegged him back and went on to win six of the next seven points to triumph for the third time in three ATP Head to Head meetings with Sock.

"The first one got away from me pretty quick," said Sock. "I think he's been doing that to players pretty consistently this year, the Rafa match and some other ones he's played."

Federer has yet to lose serve during the tournament, saving the only break point he has faced against Nadal. He was granted a walkover through the quarter-finals, when Nick Kyrgios withdrew on Friday due to illness, and had spent just 3 hours and 33 minutes on court coming into the semi-finals, compared to Sock’s 8 hours and 32 minutes.

Sock saved four match points in a third-round victory over Grigor Dimitrov and was two points from defeat in a tense fourth-round round battle with Malek Jaziri. He advanced to his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 semi-final by claiming his first Top 5 win over Kei Nishikori in another three-set contest on Friday.

The 35-year-old Federer has returned to the tour in remarkable fashion in 2017, having missed the second half of last season due to injury. He beat Wawrinka and Nadal in back-to-back five-set contests to win his 18th Grand Slam championship at the Australian Open and has stormed through to the final in Indian Wells without dropping a set. The only blemish on his 2017 record was a second-round loss to World No. 116 Evgeny Donskoy in the Dubai second round two weeks ago.

Wawrinka was even more dominant in the other semi, demolishing Spanish 21st seed Pablo Carreno Busta 6-3, 6-2. Federer said Wawrinka would present a different type of challenge than Sock.

"Stan does a really nice job of defending and then creating, going from defense to offense. He's improved his serve. Especially as he goes deeper in the tournament, his confidence builds. That's when he's harder to stop," Federer said.

"I have variation. I have an offensive mindset that's in my DNA. Sometimes for a player like Stan, he likes to have a bit more time and I can maybe rush him. But we'll see if that's possible tomorrow. He’s very steady off the baseline and can play from really deep in the court. I’ve got to play aggressive and play like I’ve been doing all week and hope it’s enough."

Date: 18 March 2017, Source: ATP and Reuters

Federer stuns Nadal in straight sets at Indian Wells

Channeling the same game plan that reaped the ultimate reward in the Australian Open final in January, Roger Federer has put on a stunning display of aggression to defeat fifth seed Rafael Nadal in the fourth round of the BNP Paribas Open. The four-time champion prevailed 6-2, 6-3 to set a quarter-final showdown with Australian Nick Kyrgios, after the Australian’s earlier upset of defending champion Novak Djokovic.

Federer’s victory marked the first time he had defeated Nadal three times in a row in 36 ATP Head to Head meetings, following his five-set triumph in Melbourne in January and a three-set win in the 2015 Basel final.

The last time Nadal tasted victory was in the 2014 Australian Open semi-finals. This was the first time the pair had squared off before the quarter-finals since their first meeting in the 2004 Miami Open third round.

“It's a nice feeling to win the last three, I can tell you that,” Federer said. "But most importantly, I won Australia. That was big for me. On the comeback, I look back at that and think that was one of the coolest things I ever experienced in my career.

“Basel was special, too, for many reasons, because I used to be a ballboy there. After the Australian hype, to play here in America right away, all of them are very special.

“All the matches that we have played are unique in many ways for both of us, winning or losing. So I take it. Obviously I can't celebrate too long this time around. I have to get back to work in a couple of days.”

Nadal had worked himself into a winning position when he led a break for 3-1 in the fifth set in the Australian Open decider before losing the final five games of the match. In the Californian desert on Wednesday, however, he was never given a sniff of hope.

“In Australia, it was a very close match. I had good chances to win,” Nadal said. “Today, not. Today he played better than me. These kind of matches, when you're not playing your match, it is impossible to win.

“When Roger has the advantage, his serve is so good, he has a lot of confidence with his serve, he’s able to play much more relaxed.”

Next up, a revenge mission against the 21-year-old 15th seed, Kyrgios. The only time prior the pair has met, it was the Australian who emerged victorious in the round of 32 at the ATP World Tour Madrid Masters in 2015.

“I'm very impressed him taking out Novak, back-to-back weeks, on Novak's best surface,” Federer said. “I hope it's going to lead to something great for Nick, that he realises if he puts his head down and focuses that he can bring it, day in and day out, week in and week out.

“When it matters the most against the best and in finals, he's there. Of course I'd like to get him back.”

A four-time champion in Indian Wells, Federer came out of the blocks in a hurry against Nadal. The Swiss ninth seed secured the opener 6-2, consistently finding his mark coming over the backhand to keep the three-time champion on the back foot.

Federer brought up a break point in the opening game and converted when Nadal shanked a forehand into the stands for 1-0. He faced just his first break point of the tournament in the subsequent game but steadied to hold for 2-0 and would not face another for the remainder of the match.

The Swiss delivered impressively off the backhand wing. His fifth backhand winner of the first set was followed by an explosive wrong-footing forehand winner to bring up a break point on the Spaniard’s serve at 3-1.

He secured the double break off a spectacular backhand return winner for 4-1 after 23 minutes. He would close out the opening set in style as he threaded back-to-back forehand winners to bring up two set points and sealed it on his first with a serve-volley winner after 34 minutes.

“I think the backhand has gotten better because I have been able to put in so many hours with the new racquet now,” Federer said of his more aggressive approach off the backhand. “Really, since this year I feel super comfortable with the racquet, and I think I have also gained confidence stepping into it.

“I think all my coaches throughout my career have told me to go more for the backhand, but I used to shank more. So maybe deep down I didn't always believe that I had it in the most important moments. But I think that's changing little by little, which I'm very happy about.”

Determined to make a statement he would not go quietly, Nadal started the second set with authority, holding to love with a forehand winner and an ace out wide for 1-0. Federer’s aggression continued to gnaw at Nadal, however.

His confidence surged further when he broke early for 2-1 and now redlining, the pressure from the 36-year-old Swiss was relentless. He held to love for 4-2 off an ace out wide and drew the error from a looping backhand.

Nadal was rarely in control of a point throughout and when serving to stay in the match, a forehand clipped the net and failed to trickle over handing Federer two match points. He took it on his first with a crisp backhand return winner into the corner, capping a complete performance in which his backhand, return of serve and net approaches were on song.

Date: 16 March 2017, Source: ATP