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Roger Federer’s March to the Top Begins at Indian Hills This Week 111

Posted on March 07, 2012 by JA Allen

Roger Federer won his first championship at Indian Wells in 2004.

No doubt the anti-Federer-contingent cannot be happy with the recent results of the tennis star who will not die or fade away—even after turning 30.

Just when they think the Swiss fountain of youth has congealed into lumpy cheese fondue, Federer revives his game and comes back free-flowing as he did during his dominating best.

Such was the case recently in Dubai. The hard, fast courts in the United Arab Emirates desert suited Federer just fine as he rebounded from predicted obscurity to reclaim his fifth title in Dubai 7-5, 6-4—much to the shock and dismay of Andy Murray and the Scot’s camp.

Murray had pulled his own coup d’etat by upsetting the No. 1 seed and reigning world champion Novak Djokovic in the semifinals. Murray, however, was not able to arrest the development of the Federer forehand on the hard courts of Dubai, losing in straight sets in the final.

No other man has won five tennis titles in Dubai. The courts there suit Federer’s game—which may explain why Nadal has been absent from the Dubai desert since 2008.

Once the world No. 2 figured out that he had to ration his playing time, Dubai was sacrificed because the hard courts, especially the faster hard courts, took too much out of Nadal’s vulnerable knees.

Just as well for Federer’s fans. Playing Nadal often becomes a non-productive exercise for the 16-grand slam champion.  Before each major, Federer’s backers sink to their knees praying to play Djokovic or Murray before Nadal. Much of it has to do with the “confidence level” Federer spoke of after his recent victories over top ten opponents.

After winning 33 of his last 35 matches, Federer will enter the contest at Indian Wells with renewed confidence and vigor. Since losing his semifinal battle with Novak Djokovic at the US Open, the world No. 3 has captured titles at the World Tour Finals in London, overcoming Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the final.

Prior to Dubai, Federer claimed the title in Rotterdam over Juan Martin del Potro. Now the Swiss has captured this outdoor title in Dubai defeating world No. 4 Andy Murray.

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Tennis March Madness: The Top 9 Who Won Back-To-Back Titles at Indian Wells & Miami 66

Posted on March 04, 2012 by JA Allen

Roger Federer won the Key Biscayne/Miami title in 2005

March Madness has its own special setting for tennis. Prior to the start of the dusty clay-court season in April, the tour swings through the States landing first in the California desert at a venue called Indian Wells before proceeding to Miami and the Sony Ericsson Open.

Both tournaments field players for a Masters 1000 for the men and a premiere mandatory event for the ladies with 96 participants in the field. Play extends over 10 days, which is unusual for a Masters Series tournament.

The BNP Paribas Open held at Indian Wells will begin March 8, 2012, concluding on March 18.  The Sony Ericsson Open will follow, starting on March 21, 2012, and ending on April 1.

For the men, multiple winners of each tournament remain relatively rare when you consider the number of participants each year.

But the true piece de resistance of the March Madness swing through Indian Wells and Miami is winning both titles, back-to-back in the same year. Surviving to win one of these tournaments is a testament to a player’s endurance, but to win both in the same season is one of the most difficult doubles of the tennis tour.

Only nine players, both men and women, have accomplished this rare feat to date. Only one man and one woman claimed the double more than once—Roger Federer and Steffi Graf.

Indian Wells

Eight men have won Indian Wells more than once.

Boris Becker (1987-1988), Jim Courier (1991, 1993), Michael Chang (1992, 1996-1997), Pete Sampras (1994-1995), Lleyton Hewitt (2002-2003), Roger Federer (2004-2006), Rafael Nadal (2007, 2009) and Novak Djokovic (2008, 2011) all captured the trophy at Indian Wells more than one time.

Only Federer and Chang can claim three titles—so far.

Seven ladies including Martina Navratilova (1990-1991), Mary Jo Fernandez (1993, 1995), Steffi Graf (1994,1996), Lindsay Davenport (1997, 2000), Serena Williams (1999, 2001), Daniela Hantuchova (2002, 2007), and Kim Clijsters (2003, 2005) have won the championship at Indian Wells.

None of the ladies have managed to win the tournament more than twice.

Key Biscayne/Miami

Locale for the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami

Only six men have won the championship in Miami more than once, although Andre Agassi managed six titles during his long, illustrious career.

Ivan Lendl (1986, 1989), Andre Agassi (1990, 1995-1996, 2001-2003), Sampras (1993-1994, 2000), Federer (2005-2006), Andy Roddick (2004, 2010), and Djokovic (2007, 2011) have all brought home multiple titles.

By the same token, eight women have won the championship in Miami more than once with  Graf and Serena Williams bringing home the most titles with five each.

Graf (1987-1988, 1994-1996), Monica Seles (1990-1991), Arantxa Sanchez (1992-1993), Martina Hingis (1997, 2000), Venus Williams (1998-1999, 2001), Serena Williams (2002-2004, 2007-2008), Clijsters (2005, 2010) and Victoria Azarenka (2009, 2011) represent the some of the best of the best in the women’s game.

But only nine players in the history of these tournaments have won both respective championships in the same year.  They follow.

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Men’s Tennis Power Rankings: Ivan Ljubicic And Andy Roddick Vie For Indian Wells Masters Title 1

Posted on March 24, 2010 by Marianne Bevis
BNP Paribas Open

Indian Wells promised to be one of best tournaments of the year so far. And sure enough, the first Masters of the season, and the biggest tennis event outside the Grand Slams, delivered in spades.

All the top names were present and correct except for the injured world No. 5 Juan Martin Del Potro. The biggest draws in men’s tennis, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, were both back from injury or illness, and the draw promised to repeat some great former matches: Nadal versus Nikolay Davydenko, Federer versus Andy Murray, and ultimately Nadal versus Federer.

But very quickly, the picture changed as seeds fell like nine-pins. The likes of Marin Cilic, David Ferrer, Gilles Simon, Gael Monfils, Radek Stepanek, and several more, went in their first matches.

In the next round, it was Federer, Davydenko, Fernando Verdasco, and Juan Carlos Ferrero.

Murray and Novak Djokovic looked less than convincing in their progress to the quarters and fourth round respectively, and so it turned into a tournament where many of the old guard could show their credentials.

Joining a pumped up Nadal and a powerful Robin Soderling in the quarterfinals was a resurgent set of long-established names such as Ivan Ljubicic, Juan Monaco, and Tommy Robredo.

It made for fascinating tennis, capped by a final between two men with a combined total of 22 years on the professional tour, neither with a win at Indian Wells.

Their outstanding performances deservedly take them to the top of our Power Rankings.

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Surprises Litter A Week Of Great Tennis At Indian Wells 2

Posted on March 20, 2010 by Marianne Bevis
BNP Paribas Open

Thrills and spills, big wins and surprise losses, seeds falling and new faces shining. Indian Wells has lived up to its billing as one of the biggest and best tennis events in the tennis calendar.

The venue is stunning, the crowds are huge, and the tournament began with a near-full complement of players—give or take the Williams sisters’ usual boycott and Juan Martin Del Potro’s injury.

It even attracted the very best of both current and past players in the tastiest exhibition night in living memory. As if Andre Agassi and Rafael Nadal facing Pete Sampras and Roger Federer wasn’t enough, the Hit for Haiti scheduled Steffi Graf and Lindsay Davenport against Martina Navratilova and Justine Henin. Tennis courts don’t come more laden with star quality.

Even the Indian Wells draw looked set to deliver up everyone’s favorite matches during the last few days.

There was the tantalising prospect of Nikolay Davydenko outhitting Nadal for the fourth consecutive time in as many months.

There was a chance that Andy Murray could seek revenge over Federer for his Australian Open defeat.

Best of all, there was the prospect—should the cards fall right—of two mouth-watering finals: Nadal against Federer and Kim Clijsters again Henin.

However, while some of the anticipated fireworks turned into damp squibs, there were also bangers and sparklers aplenty to keep everyone on the edges of their seats.
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