The Associated Press INDIAN WELLS, Calif. (AP) — Forget the comeback talk. Roger Federer is back.
He defeated Stan Wawrinka 6-4, 7-5 to win a record-tying fifth BNP Paribas Open title in an all-Swiss final Sunday to go with his record 18th Grand Slam title at the Australian Open in January after missing most of last year with various injuries.
“For me, the dream run continues,” he said.
Federer kept reminding everyone during the ATP Masters 1000 event that he was “on the comeback” and, wanting to see how he felt, hadn’t planned beyond the first three months of the year.
He might want to think bigger now.
“This was not part of the plan, to win Australia and Indian Wells. The goal was to be top 8 by after Wimbledon, so I’m there much, much faster,” he said. “I will make the plan for the remainder of the season, especially for the clay, after Miami, and then see also what the goals are because the goals are clearly changing after this dream start.”
Federer tied the tourney record of Novak Djokovic, who lost in the fourth round, while winning his 90th career title, keeping him third behind Jimmy Connors and Ivan Lendl on the all-time list in the Open era.
At 35 years 7 months, Federer became the oldest champion in the desert tournament’s history, surpassing Connors, who was 31 years 5 months when he won in 1981.
“It’s an absolute huge start to the year for me,” he said. “Last year, I didn’t win any titles. The change is dramatic and it feels great.”
His twin daughters cheered and jumped up and down in a box above the court when Federer put away a high forehand volley while keeping Wawrinka pinned deep behind the baseline on match point.
Seeded ninth, Federer dropped serve just once in five matches, losing the first game of the second set against No. 3 seed Wawrinka. He never lost a set in the tournament.
“The way he’s playing is just so beautiful,” Wawrinka said. “Everything looks perfect. He’s moving amazingly well. He has amazing touch. He’s doing everything you can do on the tennis court.”
Federer will move up four spots to No. 6 in the ATP world rankings on Monday.
In an all-Russian women’s final, Elena Vesnina defeated Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-7 (6-8), 7-5, 6-4.
Vesnina earned her third career singles title and will move up two spots to a career-high No. 13 in the world rankings.
Djokovic drops out of Miami
MIAMI (AP) — Six-time champion Novak Djokovic has withdrawn from the upcoming Miami Open because of a lingering right elbow injury.
In a statement Sunday, Djokovic said the injury has bothered him for months and worsened in the past week. He beat Kei Nishikori in last year’s final.
Djokovic’s most recent match was a loss to Nick Kyrgios in the fourth round of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, Calif., on Wednesday.