By Romi Cvitkovic
March 13, 2013 — What should have been a mostly routine win by Roger Federer over countryman Stan Wawrinka at the 4th round of the BNP Paribas Open, turned into a rollercoaster of a match as Federer lost his cool, double-faulted on set point and much more.
The first set held three breaks of serve and that should have been omen enough of things to come in the match. But Federer finally held in hist fifth service game at 15 to take the first set, 6-3.
After grabbing a break in the second set and with Federer serving at 5-4, the Tennis Channel commentators already resorted to patting Wawrinka on the back, and nearly calling it a match. That was until Wawrinka woke up and decided to really play some tennis. In the blink of an eye, Wawrinka broke Federer with a running backhand passing winner, followed by THREE backhand errors by Federer. Federer didn’t help his situation as he was forced to dish out a few second serves. 5-5.
On his own serve, Wawrinka quickly went up 40-0 before a few sloppy errors brought it to deuce. Wawrinka eventually held serve with a beautiful approach shot forehand winner just out of Federer’s reach. 6-5 for Wawrinka.
We then quickly found ourselves in a second set tiebreak — a place that has become familiar territory between the two players as of late. Wawrinka continued playing lights-out tennis eventually establishing set points with this beautiful baseline rally. Just watching the video, you start to wonder “Which one is Federer and which one is Wawrinka?” The touch, backhands and shot selection!
Who would have guessed that the almighty Roger Federer WOULD HAVE DOUBLE-FAULTED ON SET POINT! But he did, and with it Wawrinka snatched the second set.
Tensions were high on both ends going into the third set, and at 1-all with Federer serving at 0-30, Federer became uncharacteristically feisty. He wanted to challenge his own serve, but because he had already hit his second shot, the chair umpire refused the challenge. Federer then proceeded to argue with the umpire, even calling ATP supervisor Lars up to dispute the decision. Lars agreed with the original call and Federer was left to serve down 0-40. A graphic on Tennis Channel later showed that there was a 1.955 second delay between when the serve hit the court versus when Federer challenged.
In the following point, you can see a noticeably agitated Federer run around a short shot and leash out a massive forehand, leaving the full court exposed and primed for a beautifully-timed Wawrinka backhand winner.
But as is known to happen in tennis and with one of it’s best players, Federer broke right back, and the two stayed neck-and-neck until 4-all. At 30-40 on Federer’s serve, Wawrinka had a chance to break and serve for the match but Federer blasted a forehand painting the sideline that pulled Wawrinka wide and forced an error. With a beautiful forehand smash, Federer held at 5-4.
With Wawrinka serving at 5-6, Federer quickly went up 0-30 as Wawrinka’s back-to-back rallies went either wide or long. At 15-40, Wawrinka netted a forehand and Federer claimed his 13th win 0ver his good friend, 6-3, 6-7(4), 7-5.