Monday, 20 March 2017

Vesnina and Federer claim titles

Stan Wawrinka was playing better and better as the tournament progressed, and all non Fed fans (about 14 at last count) were hoping the third seed would peak in the final of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.
No chance.  Stan stuck to the script as he has done in all but a few of the matches played against the perfect one.

Wawrinka obediently watched his master serve competently enough, but applied no real pressure, especially to the second delivery.
In fact the opening set was nothing to write home about - Federer couldn't be bothered doing much with the Wawrinka serve for the first four tries, but once he had gained a 5-4 lead he put some effort in and Stan crumbled to a 4-6 opening set loss.

Credit to Wawrinka for breaking the Federer serve immediately in set two, but Stan saw his 2-0 lead shrivel up and die with Federer upping the ante in so small measure.  Three straight games and Stan playing catch up for the rest of the set.
Roger served strongly for 6-5 and the best Stan could hope for was a tie break.  He didn't manage that, broken again in the last game of the set, and as it happened the match.

Roger Federer, in a Djokovic-like start to the year, has parcelled up both the Aus Open and the first Masters Title in Indian Wells.
With Murray and Djokovic both missing from Miami, you'd have to think that is Federer's for the taking too.
If he stays fit, a return to number one later in 2017 is not that fanciful.

The women's final was far and away the better tennis match.  Elena Vesnina was looking the winner of the first set until she lost it, and from that point always was on the comeback against Svetlana Kuznetsova.
The never say die attitude, combined with some exhilarating shot making, put this revival up with the best of 2017 so far.

Vesnina was quicker out of the blocks, leading 2-0 before Kuznetsova awoke to her problems and struck back hard.  Vesnina shot ahead again by a break and even held a set point, but Kuznetsova was calm under the pressure, taking it to a tie break and winning it, the final point a lucky net cord.

Things were dire for Vesnina as she fell behind 1-4 in set two, but instead of accepting defeat, the fourteenth seed rattled off four straight games. Serving for the set, Vesnina failed the test, but she created another opportunity by breaking Kuznetsova for the third successive time.  This chance was taken and the match was levelled at a set apiece.

When Kuznetsova broke serve in the sixth game of the decider, Vesnina once more looked defeat in the face.  And once more she lifted.  From 2-4 Elena Vesnina won the final four games of the match, claiming her third career title, this by far the biggest.
6-7 7-5 6-4 three hours of entertaining tennis.
A ranking improvement for Vesnina to 13, a career high at the age of 30.

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