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Fed Up, Isner Out; Streaks and Records Continue

March 18, 2012 | 11:57 PM

The Fed Express made good time against America's latest BNP finalist, John ISNER, putting the Big Man down in under 90 minutes, 7-6 (7), 6-3. Afterwards, both men were all smiles and praise, and though it wasn't a match that will go down in the books as a classic, the fans were glad to get it done on time before further rain and cold could set in.

Service games were held without much fuss through the first 12 games, with Rog having no difficulty holding except in the 3rd game when he fell behind 15-40 and faced a 3rd break point, the only three Isner would earn. In Roger's remaining 8 service games, John would win just 5 more points, as Fed's forehands passed him cleanly at the baseline right and left. Roger made no inroad on John's serve until 5-6 in the 1st when he went up 30-0 and later earned a set point, but it turned out to be a nervous game for both players. Rog botched a couple of chances in rallies, while John's careless mistakes nearly cost him the chance to get Rog into a tie-breaker.

The tie-breaker was also a nervous affair. Twice Rog went up a break only to give it back until his third chance gave him the service at set point. That was all it took.

A come-back effort was more than John could muster. In the 3rd game he dropped his serve with more errors , and never mounted an effort to give Roger pause on his serve, taking but a single return point in the set. The fans seemed to rouse themselves only at the very end of the sets, but showed their appreciation at the conclusion for two gentlemen who had played dominantly throughout the event, save for one ugly win each (Rog over Bellucci in the 4th round and John over Simon in the quarters).

Isner will certainly be remembered for what he did here, which included out-dueling #1 Joker in a tight semis, not what he didn't do. With Sam Querrey, he also reached his third title round in a 100 event (they've won Rome once in two finals there). It was his biggest pay-day in tennis ($500,00 for singles, $60,000 for doubles), but most importantly, the win made him #10 in the rankings and moved him into the 9th spot in The Race to London, just 10 points behind Tomas Berdych.

As for Roger, while it was just another day setting a tournament RECORD (4 IW titles) and winning a $1 Million dollar check ($389,000 more than Joker won last year), his second in as many events after winning Dubai for a record 5th time), and tying Rafa's RECORD 19 wins at 1000 level events. His semi-final win over Rafa re-positions him as a legitimate contender among the top 3, at least in his mind and in some of his fans'. His 22-2 record so far this year speaks for itself (Rafa is 14-2, Joker 15-1, Murray 15-3). With neither of the top 2 players seeming to be untouchable by others, the odds have improved for Roger to wind up in finals against players he can routinely beat. Since the Open in September, Roger is 39-2.

MEN'S DOUBLES:

Rafa and Mark Lopez reached a second BNP final and took a a 2nd title, leaving John Isner with another runner-up finish: 6-2, 7-6 (3). After coming out on the losing end of one-up, one-back baseline exchanges in the first set, the IQ brothers made the second set more competitive by changing tactics to lob as well to move their back man to the net. Sam Querrey was broken a 3rd time in a row early in the 2nd (they won 2 points on his serve in his first three service games), but following a rain delay the IQ boys got their chance when Rafa-Lope played a weak game on Rafa's serve. But the tie-breaker was over before drama could build again on the court or in the skies. It is Nadal's 8th doubles title and Lopez' 6th.

WOMEN'S SINGLES RESULT: Victoria Azarenka def. Maria Sharapova 6-2, 6-3.

Vika improved her win STREAK over Maria to four in a row while extending her undefeated streak to 23 wins this year and taking a WTA best 5th title this year. Today's final was only the 4th WTA pairing since 2005 to feature #1 vs. #2 (remember Rafa and Joker played in six finals last year).

WOMEN'S DOUBLES RESULT: Huber & Raymond def. Mirza & Vesnina 6-2, 6-3

The winners added a 4th consecutive title to the RECORDS furthered here this week, and Lisa Raymond gained a 4th Indian Wells title (her first was 18 years in 1994 ago with Lindsay Davenport).

Rick Devereux

Indian Wells Finals: Wrap Up 3.18.12


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