Federer wary of Wawrinka ahead of Indian Wells final despite record

By Sacha Pisani 19 March 2017 226
Federer wary of Wawrinka ahead of Indian Wells final despite record

Roger Federer does not see his matchup with countryman Stan Wawrinka as a one-side affair as the two Swiss veterans prepare to lock horns in the final of the BNP Paribas Open.

Federer, 35, and third seed Wawrinka will meet in Sunday's championship decider at Indian Wells, with the former world number one leading 19-3 in their head-to-head record following his semi-final victory at the Australian Open.

Despite his advantage, 18-time grand-slam champion Federer - who accounted for Jack Sock 6-1 7-6 (7-4) in Saturday's semi-final - is wary of the reigning US Open winner.

"I'm not sure if it's a good matchup," said ninth-seeded Federer, who emerged triumphant at Melbourne Park in January.

"A lot of those matches came early when I was the overwhelming favourite when I was number one, and he was number 30 in the world and his game was based heavily on the clay courts.

"I sneaked in a lot of victories there in the beginning. In recent times, I thought we played a lot of close matches, and he was also able to dominate me over a set or two. So I don't see it per se as a huge advantage. I think he's cleaned up his game really nice on the faster courts.

"I think he does a really nice job of defending and then going from defence to offence. He's improved his serve. Especially as he goes deeper in the tournament, his confidence builds. That's when he's harder to stop. I have variation. I have an offensive mindset that's in my DNA. And sometimes for a player like Stan, he likes to have a bit more time and I can maybe rush him. But we'll see if that's possible on Sunday."

Wawrinka, 31, booked his spot in the final thanks to a 6-3 6-2 triumph over Pablo Carreno Busta on Saturday.

And the three-time grand-slam champion is happy with his performances as he bids to win a second ATP 1000 tournament and first since Monte Carlo in 2014.

"When I start to win matches, I start to get the confidence, the good feeling with the ball, with the way I'm playing," Wawrinka said.

"I play better and better. Normally, by the semi-final, final, I always play good matches. That doesn't mean I always win, but I know that I'm going to play some good tennis."

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Sacha Pisani