Get prepared for a spectacular final in Indian Wells, Calif., as Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic are set to add another chapter to their rivalry in the BNP Paribas Open final on Sunday. Both men appear to be in top form, which should make for a thrilling encounter.
Djokovic booked his place in the final after a three-set win over American John Isner (7-5, 6-7, 6-1), but it was a hard-fought match.
The Serbian superstar clawed his way back from a 4-5, 0-40 hole to take the first set in brilliant fashion, and then outlasted Isner—who called for the trainers on multiple occasions—to set up a date with the Swiss maestro.
Federer, on the other hand, had a much easier semifinal matchup against Alexandr Dolgopolov. He blew by Dolgopolov with what he called “one of the best serving performances of his life,” according to BBC Sport (seven aces and connected on 72 percent of his first serves), to end the game in just over an hour.
The Swiss legend is looking to win his fifth title at Indian Wells and his second of the year, after winning in Dubai just two weeks ago.
Federer beat Djokovic en route to that Dubai title, and he will have to go through that familiar obstacle once again.
The good news for Federer is that his health no longer seems to be a problem—at least from what he told the Associated Press, via Fox Sports:
I'm just playing more freely overall and with more confidence because I can get to more balls without thinking. I can wake up in the morning without feeling sore. I can go to bed not feeling like I hope I feel better tomorrow. I don't have these thoughts going through my mind and I'm not worried every single minute of the day.
A healthy and rejuvenated Federer means that we’re in for a treat as these two greats take the court with a trophy on the line.
Prediction: Federer wins in three sets
Federer looks like the Federer we’ve grown accustomed to—as opposed to the slow and injured tennis player we saw at various points last year.
With his track record of success at Indian Wells (4-0 in finals there) and against Djokovic (17-15 against him head-to-head), his experience and hot service game will carry him to a difficult win over Djokovic.