Stan Wawrinka vs. Roger Federer
The past two major winners on the men’s side of tennis will clash in the Indian Wells final. This is a match that has to please the tournament organizers. Stan Wawrinka made it through Murray’s half of the draw with some close matches but not having to face the #1 seed. Roger Federer made it out of the quarter of death without having to face Del Potro, Djokovic, or Kyrgios. Federer’s one-sided win over Nadal and Wawrinka’s 3 set war with Thiem are the two most impressive performances of the event.
Neither man is going to surprise the other in terms of stroke production. Tactically, each might throw a few wrinkles at the other. Will Federer return aggressively against Stan or chip his backhand back? Will Stan stand in closer during rallies or be content to blast away from deeper in the court? Each man will need to take care of his service games because the other is capable of holding for long periods of time in any given match.
Earlier in the event I mentioned that this felt like an event in which Wawrinka would win due to improving form as the draw unfolded. At the Australian Open, Roger Federer won the 1st 2 sets and eventually took the 5th set. The courts at Indian Wells are a bit slower than those at the Australian Open earlier this year. That should be to Stan’s favor. I would generally pick Wawrinka, but he has generally struggled in big matches with Federer. If Roger Federer can withstand Wawrinka’s blunt force trauma approach to tennis, he can carve out enough points to win a tight match.
Roger Federer d. Stan Wawrinka 7-5, 7-6