After a struggle in the first set, the living legend known as Roger Federer put down American John Isner soundly in the second and deciding set at the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells in California on Sunday. The victory, 7-6 (7), 6-3, is the Swiss master’s record fourth championship at the tournament, and earned him a cool million dollars in prize money.
Since the 2011 U.S. Open Federer has produced at a startling clip, posting a record of 39-2, with his two defeats coming at the hands of Isner in February and longtime rival Rafael Nadal in the semis of the Aussie Open.
The seasoned vet said playing more this year was the plan, and he’s a bit surprised at how well things have gone thus far. His play at the end of the tournament was reminiscent of days of dominance from the previous decade.
“I was able to come through and so convincingly at the end is amazing. I’ve really played amazing these last three matches in particular. I couldn’t be more happy. They were really great wins,” said Federer.
The victory pushed Federer past fellow legends Michael Chang and Jimmy Connors for the most titles at Indian Wells; Chang and Connors each won three tournaments.
“What surprises me is that I’ve actually won this again after all this time, and particularly this year where I was struggling and hurting a lot at the beginning of the year,” said Federer.
For Isner, the defeat is both memorable and a big step forward for his career, as the results guarantee the American will enter the top 10 in the world rankings for the first time.
“I’m going to remember this one for a long time, so getting into the top 10 is nice,” he said. “The hard thing now is staying inside of the top 10. That’s what I’ve got to work on.”
Isner’s serve has proven to be a real weapon, but it wasn’t enough against an all-time champ like Federer.
“I served pretty well,” said Isner. “I don’t think I lost the match because I didn’t serve as well. [Federer] was on top of me and his forehand was way too good.”
That’s not the first–and probably won’t be the last–time an opponent has that to say about the great Roger Federer.