The championship match in the first Masters 1000 event of the season is an all-Swiss affair and it’s set for Sunday at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.
Stanislas Wawrinka and Roger Federer clash for the 23rd time in their careers at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden for the title, 1000 ranking points, and a $1.176 million pay cheque to the winner.
Stanislas Wawrinka vs Roger Federer
It was looking like a winner for the over 9.5 games in set one in Stan’s semi final clash with Pablo Carreno Busta on Saturday at *3-4, 15-15, until PCB got a little tight and Wawrinka won the next seven points in a row to take the set.
Wawrinka had certainly ridden his luck to reach the last four, but this was a much classier performance from the US Open champion and now he faces what for him is the ultimate test – versus Federer on a hard court.
Stan is 0-14 against Federer on all hard courts and 0-9 on outdoor hard, where he did (in the end) push his compatriot all the way in Melbourne, but he was two sets down before he began to play anything like his best tennis that day.
Only once in those nine outdoor hard court clashes has Stan taken the opening set and that was in Shanghai back in 2012 and it’s hard to see how Wawrinka can bring much confidence into this one with Federer playing so well right now.
Jack Sock was totally overawed by Federer in set one on Saturday night and while that probably won’t be the case with Wawrinka the latter is not usually the quickest of starters.
Wawrinka has only won the opening set in one of his last six finals versus top-10 ranked opponents, but he went on to win five of them, and if I were backing Stan today I’d probably take a chance on him winning set two at a price of 2.45.
In Federer’s last 13 finals played against top-10 ranked opposition he’s only been beaten by one man – Novak Djokovic – and the last top-10 opponent to defeat Federer in a final that wasn’t Djokovic was Wawrinka in the Monte-Carlo final of 2014 on clay.
The last top-10 ranked player to beat Federer in a final not named Djokovic on outdoor hard was Andy Murray in Shanghai back in 2010 and the only player to defeat Fed in an Indian Wells final so far is, of course, Djokovic.
The service hold/break stats aren’t with Wawrinka either – neither in the last year on outdoor hard or historically (or this week) at this tournament.
On outdoor hard Wawrinka has only held his serve 73.2% of the time against Federer, who has held his own serve 89.4% of the time against Wawrinka, which is about Fed’s usual mark – Wawrinka is way down on his.
Federer should also be less fatigued based on the little time he’s spent on court this week and so I’m having a hard time making any sort of case for Wawrinka in this particular match.
It’s not as if the conditions favour him either and it’s been a very rare Masters 1000 performance from Stan, who usually saves his more disciplined showings for majors and comes out and has a swing in M1000s.
Tie breaks aren’t prevalent in clashes between Federer and Wawrinka or in Indian Wells finals, with the Swiss pair having played just one in their last 15 sets against each other on all surfaces.
Since the championship match at Indian Wells became best-of-three sets in 2002 there have been only four of 15 finals here that have featured a tie break (and two of the four were in matches involving Andy Roddick and John Isner).
The value there lies in the 1.85 about ‘no tie breaks’, but given that Federer has covered a -2.5 game handicap in all six of his best-of-three set outdoor hard court matches against Wawrinka I’m going with that today at 1.78.
1 point win Federer -2.5 games to beat Wawrinka at 1.78