FED­ERER

Beats Wawrinka for fifth In­dian Wells ti­tle

New Straits Times - - Sport -

IN­DIAN WELLS

ROGER Fed­erer claimed a record-equalling fifth ATP In­dian Wells Masters ti­tle on Sun­day, con­tin­u­ing his ca­reer resur­gence with a 6-4, 7-5 vic­tory over Stan Wawrinka.

Fed­erer, side­lined some six months af­ter knee surgery last year, re­turned to win his 18th Grand Slam ti­tle at the Aus­tralian Open in Jan­uary.

With Sun­day’s tri­umph in the all-Swiss fi­nal, Fed­erer joined No­vak Djokovic as the only men to win five In­dian Wells ti­tles, adding to those he won in 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2012.

At 35, Fed­erer is the old­est ATP player to win one of the elite Masters ti­tles, sup­plant­ing An­dre Agassi who was 34 when he won in Cincin­nati in 2004.

“It’s been just a fairy­tale week once again,” said Fed­erer, who missed In­dian Wells last year be­cause of in­jury.

“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. It’s an ab­so­lute, 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 maybe Bris­bane last year. The change is dra­matic, and it feels great.”

The speedy progress means 10th-ranked Fed­erer will have to re­assess his 2017 goals. Prior to the Aus­tralian Open his aim was to get his rank­ing to as high as eighth by the time Wim­ble­don was over.

“The goals are clearly chang­ing af­ter this dream start,” Fed­erer said.

“I’ve lost some tough ones against you, but when you played the fi­nal in Aus­tralia, I was your big­gest fan,” a choked up Wawrinka told Fed­erer at the tro­phy cer­e­mony.

“So congratulations on your come­back and congratulations on to­day.”

Al­though he owns three Grand Slam ti­tles, Wawrinka was play­ing in just his fourth Masters fi­nal and has won just one of the pres­tige events — beat­ing Fed­erer in the fi­nal at Monte Carlo in 2014. “It’s a tough loss,” he said. Af­ter fear­ing that knee trou­ble in the wake of the Aus­tralian Open would slow his sea­son, Wawrinka was pleased to play at a high level.

“Af­ter Aus­tralia, I wasn’t in a good po­si­tion,” he said.

“I was re­ally, re­ally strug­gling with my knee. I wasn’t sure to be back here in that level that quick.

“But I still lost the fi­nal,” he said.

“So it wasn’t easy.” AFP

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