Sunday, March 19, 2017

Federer ties record; Vesnina earns biggest title

Roger Federer matched Novak Djokovic with five Indian Wells titles.
Elena Vesnina, a two-time Grand Slam champion in women's doubles,
is making a name for herself in singles. Photos by Mal Taam
   Roger Federer tied Novak Djokovic's record of five Indian Wells titles, and Elena Vesnina earned the biggest singles crown of her career.
   Federer, seeded No. 9, improved to 20-3 (15-0 on hardcourts) against Swiss countryman Stan Warwinka, seeded No. 3, with a 6-4, 7-5 victory today in the BNP Paribas Open.
   Earlier, No. 14 Vesnina outlasted No. 8 and fellow Russian Kuznetsova 7-6 (6), 5-7, 6-4 in 3 hours, 1 minute in 95-degree (35.0 Celsius) heat. It was the longest Indian Wells women's final in games (35).
   Federer continued his strong comeback after missing last year's BNP Paribas Open with a knee injury. He won the Australian Open, beating Wawrinka in five sets in the semifinals, in January for his ongoing-record 18th Grand Slam singles title.   
   “It’s been just a fairytale week once again,” said Federer, who did not lose a set in the tournament. “I’m still on the comeback. I hope my body is going to allow me to keep on playing. I was very sad when I couldn’t come here last year.
   "Just being here is a beautiful feeling. It’s one of my favorite tournaments. I came here for the first time 17 years ago. So to be here again as the champion is an amazing feeling.”
   At 35, Federer became the oldest champion in a Masters 1000 tournament, the highest level besides the Grand Slams. He surpassed Andre Agassi, who was 34 when he won Cincinnati in 2004.
   Federer, who will improve four spots to No. 6 in the world on Monday, and Vesnina each earned $1,175,505.
   Kuznetsova, 31, led 4-1 in second set and 4-2 in third. Although she won the 2004 U.S. Open and 2009 French Open, she has had issues with nerves.
   "She got tight, and I saw that," Vesnina, 30, admitted in an on-court interview after the first Indian Wells final between women in their 30s.
   In fact, all four singles finalists are at least 30. Wawrinka is 31.
   Vesnina, who lost in the first round of qualifying last year at Indian Wells, will rise two notches to a career-high No. 13.
   In women's doubles, Vesnina owns two Grand Slam titles (2013 French Open and 2014 U.S. Open with compatriot Ekaterina Makarova) and three Indian Wells crowns (2008, 2011 and 2013 with three different partners).

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