The semifinal at the Indian Wells between Borna Coric and Roger Federer was reminiscent of the 2009 Wimbledon final between Roger Federer and Andy Roddick, where Andy was dictating and in control for the most part, of the five-setter, but lost 16-14 in the fifth to a tight, nervous, fumbling, and error-prone Federer.
Roger Federer can change his playing style.
Roger’s impeccable serving helped him win the 2009 Wimbledon final against Andy Roddick who fired only 27 aces to Federer’s 50. At the Indian Wells, however, Roger’s ability to switch his game from ultra-aggressive to defensive and contain his usual shot-making style helped him survive 5-7, 6-4, 6-4. The courts at the Indian Wells reward retrievers and grinders and those who can run side-to-side forever to track down the unreachable. Practically all up and coming youngsters have adopted Djokovic’s model of grinding the opponent into capitulation from the baseline and, because of the surfeit of slow courts on the Tour, it has worked wonders over the last ten years. Roger Federer, as the very last of the Mohicans, refuses to succumb to Djokovic’s winning-formula of prolonging points from the baseline. Borna Coric, on the other hand, is cast in the same mold as Djokovic and is not only good at tracking balls at the baseline but also hitting them with good-enough length. Borna had come ready to run and return balls, and Federer was just not prepared for an 11 am-grind.
Is Roger Federer the ultimate problem solver?
Roger Federer is an experienced problem solver and has won five titles on the slow courts of the Indian Wells. Federer found the solution to a zoned in Borna Coric and stopped feeding him the usual side-to-side practice balls to hit, with angles, on the run. Borna, like most players of his generation, has grown up practicing that form of grinding tennis and can only be taken out by exceptionally executed plays, and Federer was far from exceptional in the match. Federer took the angles and the side-to-side movement away from Borna Coric, which not only made Coric lose his rhythm but also the match.
The final is between Roger Federer and Juan Martin Del Potro.
With his semifinal win over Borna Coric, Roger Federer has set up an encounter with the ever dangerous Juan Martin Del Potro in the finals. Federer leads 18-6 in their head-to-head and has won two of the last three times they met. In 2012, Roger Federer also won their only meeting at the Indian Wells. However, Juan Martin has had a long a road back after his wrist surgery and is hungry to establish himself in the upper echelon of the ATP again. Does Del Potro have what it takes to beat Roger? We believe he is one of those few who can take down Roger Federer. However, for Juan Martin Del Potro to prevail Roger would have to play as sluggishly as he played in the first three games of the first and the first game of the third set and Juan Martin would have to perform his very best.
Conclusion: Roger Federer over Juan Martin Del Potro in 3