It is still unclear whether after a terrific last six months whether Roger Federer will find away to win a Grand Slam again. But, without question, after winning his fifth title in his last six tournaments with a 7-6 (7) 6-3 victory over John Isner on Sunday in the final of the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells, he showed that he is capable of it.
The Swiss came into the tournament nursing a bad case of the flu and left it with his fourth Indian Wells crown, beating not only the red hot Isner – who had stunned Novak Djokovic in the semis – but also scoring only his second career outdoor hard court win over his nemesis, Rafael Nadal in the semis. This version of Federer more closely resembled the great Roger of 2004-2008: fast, smart, on top of the ball in the blink of an eye, dictating with an iron fist, defending with an iron will, and sure of his ability to come through in the end. Even though he was fighting a fever, he also chopped down three big men in Milos Raonic, Tomas Bellucci and Juan Martin del Potro. It was Federer’s first outdoor hard court Masters Series title since 2010 Cincinnati, not eons ago, but long enough for a man who now owns 73 titles overall and 19 Masters crowns.