The men’s final at Indian Wells 2017 will be an all-Swiss affair, as Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka will battle it out for the title on Sunday.
Both players were impressive in their respective semi-final encounters, each winning in straight sets to book their spot in the showpiece. Having won the Australian Open earlier this year, the veteran Federer will be out to add to his haul of titles for the calendar year.
Ahead of that match, there’ll be another clash of compatriots in the women’s final. Russian duo Svetlana Kuznetsova and Elena Vesnina will meet in what promises to be another fascinating match.
Here are the key viewing details for the finale at Indian Wells and a closer look at the four players battling it out for singles glory.
TV Info: ESPN (U.S.), Sky Sports (U.K.)
Roger Federer vs. Stan Wawrinka
When Federer triumphed at the Australian Open earlier this year, many wondered if it’d be a last hurrah for one of the finest players to ever pick up a racket. However, the great man is playing some sparkling tennis in the twilight of his career.
Against Jack Sock in his semi-final he was serene in the opening set, hitting the young American off the court. And while Sock found a foothold in the second, Federer showed his ruthlessness on the big points to wrap the match up in straight sets.
As these figures from tennis journalist Christopher Clarey illustrate here, a final appearance at Indian Wells has seen Federer pull alongside Novak Djokovic on a landmark number:
Christopher Clarey @christophclarey
Career Masters 1000 singles finals Djokovic 43 Federer 42* Nadal 42 Murray 21 Wawrinka 4 *Before today's semifinals in Indian Wells3/18/2017, 7:22:16 PM
Wawrinka also enjoyed a routine win on his way to the final. He took on Pablo Carreno in the last four and was far too good for the 21st seed, racing to a 6-3, 6-2 victory.
The third seed has had to scrap to make it to this stage of the competition, with Yoshihito Nishioka and Dominic Thiem pushing him to three sets. But slowly Wawrinka seems to have found his rhythm as the tournament has rumbled on.
Matches between these two are always absorbing. Per tennis journalist Michal Samulski, the head-to-head gives reason for both players to be confident heading into the final:
Michal Samulski @MichalSamulski
Federer vs Wawrinka to play final @BNPPARIBASOPEN Roger leads 19-3 (14-0 on hard), but Stan won their only ATP1000 final (Monte Carlo 2014). https://t.co/y3BbnNRCGh3/18/2017, 9:06:38 PM
Federer has been superb at this competition and is yet to drop a set on his way to the last stage. Factor in he was given a bye in the quarter-finals after Nick Kyrgios’ withdrawal, and the 35-year-old will shade a tight encounter.
Prediction: Federer in three sets
Svetlana Kuznetsova vs. Elena Vesnina
A determined straight sets win for Kuznetsova in the semi-finals against third seed Karolina Pliskova should give her confidence on the cusp of an all-Russian final.
Kuznetsova, seeded third at Indian Wells, wasn’t at her best in an attritional last-four encounter. But she scrapped her way to two tiebreaks and showed composure in both to make it to the final at this tournament for the third time in her career.
Per the WTA Twitter feed, Kuznetsova expressed her delight at making it into the final of the competition:
#SAPStatOfTheDay: @SvetlanaK27 reaches 40th career #WTA Final! #BNPPO17 https://t.co/30zi68qpwP3/18/2017, 2:52:05 PM
While she will be the narrow favourite on Sunday, Vesnina has been in blistering form on her way to the final.
The 30-year-old has produced some of the best tennis of her career at Indian Wells, beating second seed Angelique Kerber and this year’s Australian Open runner-up Venus Williams in thrilling style. After powering past Kristina Mladenovic in her semi, confidence will be pulsing through Vesnina when she steps onto the court for the final.
Mladenovic took to social media after the semi-final, paying tribute to the standards showcased by Vesnina in a confident display:
Kristina Mladenovic @KikiMladenovic
Too good from @EVesnina001. Amazing time with lots of positives & great memories! Until next year👋😘@BNPPARIBASOPEN Thanks to all the fans! https://t.co/JNNxQpAf9l3/18/2017, 8:18:34 AM
If Vesnina maintains the same kind of consistency in the final that’s taken her this far in the competition then she’ll be very difficult to beat.
However, Kuznetsova is more experienced at handling these big occasions and having finished as a runner-up in 2007 and 2008, she’ll be determined to finally clinch victory here. That’ll give her a narrow advantage in what’s set up to be a thrilling final.
Prediction: Kuzentsova in three sets