Reliving Federer's Five Indian Wells Titles
Roger Federer heads to Indian Wells once more on the doorsteps of history. The five-time BNP Paribas Open champion can break a tie with Novak Djokovic for the most titles won at the ATP Masters 1000 event.
Federer reached the final last year and had three match points, but Juan Martin del Potro saved them all and won his first Masters 1000 trophy. ATPTour.com looks back at Federer's five Indian Wells triumphs.
1. 2004: No. 1 Federer d. No. 10 Tim Henman 6-3, 6-3
Federer had won 28 of his past 30 matches, dating back to the 2003 Rolex Paris Masters, heading into the final against Tim Henman. Federer won titles in Houston, Melbourne (his second Grand Slam title) and Dubai.
The only two matches the Swiss had dropped during that stretch before his trip out west were indoors against Henman. Under controlled conditions, the Brit upset Federer in straight sets both times, in Paris and Rotterdam, and he had six reasons to believe it'd happen again in the California desert. Henman led their FedEx ATP Head2Head series 6-1.
2. 2005 Final: No. 1 Federer d. No. 2 Lleyton Hewitt 6-2, 6-4, 6-4
A repeat at the Australian Open eluded Federer in 2005, when he fell to eventual champion Marat Safin in the semi-finals. But the Swiss still hoisted three titles en route to Indian Wells, wearing Sunday smiles in Doha, Rotterdam and Dubai.
All three times Federer beat one of his current coaches, Ivan Ljubicic, during the event, and he made it four out of five tournaments to start the year by eliminating the Croatian in the fourth round of the BNP Paribas Open.
Hewitt, the 2002-03 Indian Wells champion, was riding a tsunami of confidence. The Aussie won the Sydney International, reached the Australian Open final and beat then-No. 3 Andy Roddick in three tie-break sets to make the Indian Wells title match.
From 1999-2003, Hewitt had won seven of his first nine FedEx ATP Head2Head meetings against Federer. But in 2004, the Swiss began his domination against Hewitt, and it continued in the best-of-five final. Federer didn't drop a set all tournament, and he'd win 16 of his 18 final matches against the Aussie.
Federer was beginning another magical season. He'd finish with 11 titles, including four Masters 1000s.
Watch Hot Shot: Hewitt Wins Unreal Point Against Federer In Indian Wells
3. 2006 Final: No. 1 Federer d. No. 14 James Blake 7-5, 6-3, 6-0
A BNP Paribas Open three-peat eluded Roscoe Tanner, Boris Becker, Pete Sampras, Michael Chang and Hewitt, but Federer, fresh off his second consecutive year-end No. 1 finish in the ATP Rankings, breezed into history.
He dropped only one set – against Olivier Rochus in the third round – bringing his total number of sets lost from 2004-06 in Indian Wells to a whopping two. Blake was on his way to reaching a career-high ATP Ranking of No. 4 and had beaten Nadal in the semi-finals. But the American, after taking an early lead in the first, couldn't pester Federer. Neither could anyone else on the ATP Tour 13 years ago.
Sunshine Double for second consecutive season
Four ATP Masters 1000s – Indian Wells, Miami, Canada, Madrid
12 tour-level titles, including his third Nitto ATP Finals crown
Watch Highlights: Federer Beats Blake For Three-Peat In Indian Wells
4. 2012 Final: No. 3 Federer d. No. 11 John Isner 7-6(7), 6-3
Federer hadn't been back to the BNP Paribas Open final since 2006, but he did not lack titles. The Swiss again swept Rotterdam (d. Del Potro) and Dubai (d. Murray), and although Nadal halted him from playing for his fifth Australian Open title, revenge would soon be Federer's.
He knocked out Milos Raonic, Juan Martin del Potro and Nadal to reach his fourth Indian Wells final. John Isner saved him from having to beat two of the Big Four in one tournament by upsetting Novak Djokovic, the World No. 1 and defending champion, whom beat Federer in the 2011 semi-finals.
The American had beaten Federer one month earlier on clay in Switzerland during a Davis Cup tie, but he couldn't touch him in Indian Wells. The Swiss dropped only two first-serve points and saved all three break points faced. Federer tied Nadal's then-record of 19 Masters 1000 titles, and he'd go onto win six titles overall in 2012, his most since 2007.
Watch Highlights: Federer Beats Isner For Fourth Indian Wells Title
5. 2017 Final: No. 10 Federer d. No. 3 Stan Wawrinka 6-4, 7-5
Two years ago, Federer was living his fairytale comeback season. He missed the second half of the 2016 season to rest his left knee, and all he did in Melbourne, during his first tournament in six months, was win seven matches in a row and capture his first Grand Slam in almost five years, beating Nadal in the final.
Indian Wells was another test, and the draw gods could have been accused of first-degree conspiracy against the Swiss. Federer, the ninth seed, had been drawn in the "Group of Death". In the same quarter sat Federer, Nadal, Nick Kyrgios, Alexander Zverev, Del Potro and Djokovic.
But the Swiss navigated the early rounds successfully, beating Stephane Robert and Steve Johnson to face Nadal in the fourth round. The Spaniard led their FedEx ATP Head2Head series 23-12, but Federer used the same aggressive plan – hitting through the backhand – that helped him beat Nadal in Australia, and he slid into the quarter-finals in straight sets.
Wawrinka beat Federer during their only prior Masters 1000 final at the 2014 Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters, but Stan has never been 'The Man' against Federer on hard courts, and Federer (35) became the oldest Masters 1000 champion since Andre Agassi at the 2004 Western & Southern Open.
Watch Highlights: Federer Beats Wawrinka For Fifth Title